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Lifford athletes sparkle at Ulster Championships

Athletics Lifford 0291

COMMITMENT, dedication and talent – three of the attributes of the successful athlete!

The present generation of Lifford AC juvenile athletes proved that they have these attributes in abundance when taking home another twelve medals from the final day’s action of the Ulster Juvenile Track and Field Championships held in a hot and humid Antrim Forum last Saturday.

The club’s policy of nurturing and developing  its young athletes from an early age has reaped reward gradually over the past number of years with the club now firmly re-establishing itself as one of the top juvenile clubs in Ulster.

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Saturday was the turn of the U16 and U17 crop of athletes to enter the cauldron of competition at Ulster level this summer and they didn’t disappoint – maintaining the high standards set by those competing in other age-groups in Belfast and Cavan over the past few weeks.

A total of three gold, six silver and three bronze medals was a fantastic return for the team of nine Lifford AC athletes in action at the Antrim venue.

Brendan O’Donnell, fresh from his selection for the Ulster Schools team which competes this weekend at the Tailteann Games Interprovincial at Santry Stadium in Dublin, dominated proceedings in the boys U16 hammer by taking his fourth Ulster title in this event with yet another enormous throw, this time sending the hammer out to 57.87m.

O’Donnell followed this up later in the day by taking silver in the discus with a throw of 36.69m and a silver in the shot putt (10.40m).

The St Eunan’s College student has been showing exceptional form of late, culminating in his recent victory in the hammer and silver in the discus at the Irish Schools Track and Field Championships  in Tullamore.

While savouring the sweet taste of Irish Schools success , O’Donnell’s focus is now solely on the Tailteann Games this weekend, the reward being a place on the Irish Schools team which competes in the Schools International against England, Scotland and Wales in Cardiff next month.

Alan McGinley, recently crowned Ulster U16 boys 800m champion, was in action in the boys U16 250m hurdles where he ran a brilliant race to take victory in a time of 35.32 seconds from club-mate, Brandon Connolly (36.23 seconds) in second. McGinley, a silver medallist in this event at last year’s National Juvenile Track and Field Championships led from gun to tape despite the close attention of Connolly throughout.

Connolly, nursing a slight calf strain, had earlier in the day taken silver in the boys U16 100m hurdles in a very fast time of 15.89 seconds behind Oliver Wakefield of North Down AC.

On this form, both McGinley and Connolly can be confident of putting themselves in the frame for honours at next month’s national championships.

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