Busy weekend for Ballina AC athletes

While Hugh Armstrong was busy winning a silver medal in the All-Ireland youths’ mountain running championships in scenic Glendalough, the senior athletes of Ballina AC were also busy at a variety of races around the country. The evergreen Michael Courell made his annual trip to Kilnaboy, Co Clare for a tough 10 mile road race where he finished the race in 1:17:57. Running under eight minute mile pace all the way is no mean achievement for the course. Both Bernard Barrett and William Heverin made the trip to Dublin for the Great Ireland Run in the Phoenix Park. Both should be very happy with their times of 38:56 and 44:46 respectively. Both will use these times to set lower time targets for the remainder of the season.

Yet another Ballina AC contingent made the trip to Connemara and there was representation in all three marathon races run on the day – the 13.1 mile half marathon, the 26.2 mile full marathon, and the 39.3 mile ultra marathon. Ballina AC’s first athlete home in the half marathon was Gerry Gallagher in a personal best time of 1:33:57. Ann Egan was next home in 1:44:54. Michelle and Robbie Reynolds completed the Ballina group in the race with times of 1:47:45 and 1:48:03 respectively. Niall Cawley was rewarded with a personal best time of 3:21:32 over the marathon course. Finn O’Mara competed in the ultra marathon – 39.3 miles and finished in 6:45:18.

Ballina Athletic Club athletes travelled to Magherafelt, Derry, and Nenagh, Tipperary, recently for the All Ireland Indoor Athletic Championships and acquitted themselves very well. Simon Gillespie took the National title in the u16 boys 1500m walk. Emily Burns was is fine jumping form and won a silver medal in the u18 long jump. Eoin Hallinan was in fine jumping form also winning a bronze medal in the u12 long jump. Bradley Nealon put in a great performance to take bronze in the u12 60m sprint. Hugh Armstrong finished in second place in the Irish Mountain Running Association youth trials. This was a fantastic result for Armstrong who was taking part in his first mountain running competition. Armstrong is now in line for selection on the Irish team for the International Youths challenge in Slovenia in late June.

Mayo AC athletes take part in national 10k championship

The 2011 AAI National 10k championships race took place in Dublin last Sunday. It was incorporated in the Great Ireland Run. Mayo AC had 22 athletes on the start lines. Despite the energy sapping heat, and a tough uphill second half, there were some magnificent performances. AAI has not yet confirmed individual or team results, but Mayo women can look forward to success in both individual and team sections, with Colette Tuohy, and Angela O'Connor in individual categories and the women's senior, o40 and o50 teams being in with a great chance of medals. The leading four women finishers Catherine Conway, Mary Gleeson, Colette Tuohy and Angela O'Connor ran very strong races in the tough conditions. TJ McHugh led the men home in a great time and their teams too have an outside chance of medals. Meanwhile, back in the cooler hills and valleys of Galway, Mayo AC's Brendan Gill put in a brilliant performance to finish second in the Connemara Marathon in 2.47. Also in Connemara Marathon, Ann Fahey recorded a respectable 3.56.

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