Home News Outstanding Performances from Northern Ireland Schools’ Athletes

Outstanding Performances from Northern Ireland Schools’ Athletes


from Athletics Northern Ireland The N. Ireland Schools’ athletics team had some outstanding results at the UK School Games in Bath at the weekend. 3 gold and 2 silver medals were won with a number of athletes reaching finals and many achieving personal best performances.
Curtis Woods began the ‘gold rush’ with a superb run in the 400m. He took the lead as he came around the bend and powered to a decisive win setting a new N. Ireland Junior record in a time of 48.07 secs. He was followed unto the track by Joanna Mills in a very high powered 300m race. Joanna went off fast, in her usual fashion, and entered the straight with a slender lead, and she capably held off the UK ranked number 1 and reached the finish a clear 4/10ths clear, to win in a new N Ireland Under 17 record of 39.25 secs. Later in the day Ciara Mageean dominated the 1500m leading from gun to tape. She ran a superb tactical race maintaining a fast pace throughout and, with 300 metres to go, gradually pulled away from her nearest challengers and increased her lead all the way to the end of the race finishing 2 seconds ahead of the next competitor Her time of 4 mins 21.2 secs was not only a new Under 17 N Ireland record but also a new Under 20 record.

The standard for our team was set in the first race of the day at 10.00 am by Christine McMahon in the 300m Hurdles. Christine ran a brilliant race, but the full race could not be seen by anyone because of rain and dense mist. Indeed the hurdlers could not see 2 hurdles ahead. She led over the last hurdle but was pipped for the gold medal by the UK ranked number one.

At the same time Gabby McNally was competing in the Hammer, in the most difficult of conditions with surface water on the circle. Unfortunately her opening throw of close to 50m, which was by far the best of the competition, was just outside the sector. In the end she had to settle for 2nd place with a throw of 45.96m just 26 cm behind the winner and well down on her personal best of over 49m.

Joanne Mills, a very late replacement for the injured Eimear Black in the 3000m ran a very gutsy race with a superb home straight effort to finish in 4th place in a time of 10mins 17.6 secs. The 4 x 300m relay team were equally competitive also finishing in 4th place, and unfortunately just outside of the medals. The team, in running order, of Christine McMahon, Rachel Harvey, Natasha Paxton and Joanna Mills gave of their best and but for the fact that Joanna had not fully recovered to her best after her outstanding 300m individual race we might well have got a medal.

Also worthy of mention was the performance of the Men’s 4 x 100m relay team of Gerard Maguire, Ciaran Dolan, Karl Bradley and Curtis Woods. They ran a very good semi finishing overall as 5th fastest in 43.51 secs. Unfortunately they could not repeat that time in the final and finished in 6th place.

We had a total of 12 top 8 finishes which outside those mentioned above contained 4 others with personal bests. These were achieved by Lucy Dougan, in Pole Vault with a new Under 15 N. Ireland record of 2.80 m, Conor Spence in Pole Vault, 2.95m , Steven Colwell in 100m hurdles in 14.66 secs and Aimee McNeilly in the guest 100m, 12.99 secs.

The athletes were outstanding ambassadors for their families, their schools, for N. Ireland and for all of those who have had an input in their athletic development. They were superbly led by team captains, Natasha Paxton, Glenola Collegiate and Ciaran Dolan, St. Michael’s Enniskillen.

The Team Staff were Rosie Campbell, Karen Kirk, Jackie McKernan, Isobel McNulty, David McDowell, Rory Friel, Alan Kirk, with Graham Moffett as overall manager.

R. G. Moffett