There were some rewarding moments for local athletes at Sunday’s National Senior Track & Field Championships in Dublin’s Santry Stadium with Jason Smyth taking the Men’s 100m title, Connor Bradley claiming his second successive Men’s 5,000m silver and Naomi Morgan claiming bronze in the Women’s 100m Hurdles.
Paralympian star Smyth, now running in Derry City Track Club colours, got home just in front of Ballymena & Antrim sprinter, Jonathon Browning, in a tight finish, his winning 10.71 seconds clocking marginally clear of the Antrim man’s 10.75 seconds.
In the heats, Browning had posted a faster qualifying time than the Eglinton man but, when it mattered, the big time experience of the local man saw him home for the championship gold.
Wet and windy conditions clearly affected times with Smyth understandably frustrated not to post a faster time.
After doing all the 5,000m spade work, City of Derry Spartan, Connor Bradley, was pipped on the run to the line by Glaslough Harrier Connor Duffy, whose 14 minutes and 32.85 seconds gave him the tightest of victories, ahead of Bradley’s 14 minutes and 33.35 seconds with the bronze medallist, Leevale’s Colm Sheahan, also right there on 14 minutes and 33.69 seconds.
The local man has had a mixed season to date and, while a National senior medal is not to be sneezed at, he would have preferred a different colour after narrowly losing last year to DSD’s Kevin Batt, also in a sprint finish, 14 minutes and 21.79 seconds to Batt’s 14 mins and 20.97 secs.
Interestingly, Duffy was 9th last year on 14m 43.65s. Bradley, however, may just have got his mojo back and, with much yet to come in the season, he may well see Sunday as a fresh start.
Naomi Morgan has turned her attention to multi-events this season but was delighted to claim bronze in the Women’s 100m Hurdles final.
She, too, was involved in a tight finish, the silver medallist Katie Taylor clocking 15.04s to the Spartan’s 15.15s, electronic timing sorting out the colour of the respective medals.
Several other locals were in action with Catherine Whoriskey impressing in the Women’s 5,000m, where she finished 5th behind the winning 16m 07.56s of Irish international marathon and European cross-country star Deirdre Byrne, of Sli Cualain, who was a clear front-running champion.
A week after retaining her provincial 5,000m title in Belfast in 17m 34s, the Spartan ran a steady race to finish strongly in an impressive 17m 06.79s.
Staying with the 5,000m distance, DCTC’s Conan McCaughey clocked 14m 55.89s for 13th spot in the men’s race and 17 year old Spartan Fintan Stewart posted a 3m 57.95s qualifying time in his 1,500m heat on Saturday before not surprisingly running out of gas in Sunday’s final won by the vastly experienced Dublin athlete, John Travers.
Angeline McShane was one of the other local athletes in action and, on her National T&F debut, she narrowly failed to get out of the women’s 800m heats on Saturday.
In the men’s 10,000m, where the top three all ran sub 30 minutes, Waterside Half Marathon champion Mick Clohisey took bronze on 29m 50.42s, whlie Dermot McElhinney did very well for an M45 with a massive new PB for the distance of 33m 29s. That secured the Spartan 9th place and put a huge smile on his face.
Meanwhile, Jackie McMonagle scored an F45 1,500m and 3,000m double at Saturday’s NI Masters T&F championships at the Mary Peters Track where several other local Masters, including F50 Danea Herron, M40’s Tim Shields and Michael Murphy and M75 Frank Stewart, all made their respective podiums.