|Private Ward Helps Valley Win Gold|
Dalgan Park in Navan was the venue last weekend for National Novice and Juvenile Evenaged cross-country championships. Valley's team were confident of ending the juvenile cross-country season on a high note as they started, and their novice men's team confident of taking the All Ireland Novice Title back to Finn Valley something that no Ulster club has ever achieved before. Indeed all teams performed to their expectations and Valley returned home with a total of 50 championship medals.
Valley's Novice men was lead gallantly by Joe Byrne who had a very impressive run taking his first ever individual all Ireland title. Joe who is a student at Swansea University also lead Finn Valley home to win the team title making Finn Valley go down in history as the first club in Ulster to ever win the All Ireland Novice club title. Joe was well supported by Simon Ward who all are delighted to see coming back into form. Joe was also part of the Donegal team which finished 3rd.
Simon who had a brilliant juvenile career and now a private in the Army at Finner Camp had the best run of his senior career fighting for 2nd spot and just lost out in the last 1500m of the race to finish in a strong 4th position. Simon was also part of the Donegal Team which finished 3rd.
In 6th spot was John Creane. John who is a primary school teacher in Dover was delighted with this performance as only a few weeks ago he had to drop out of Inter-counties championships and was very disappointed, however today's race erases all disappointments and made the long journey well worth while. Valley look forward to seeing him again competing in the Intermediate cross-country championships as the club will now be putting up a serious challenge to also win this title.
Conal McBride who hails from Buncrana and at present is a P.E teacher in Carrickmacross finished 88th spot making up Valley's final score. Conal ran as a youth with the club some years ago and has just returned to the competitive scene. Despite having a below par run today will not mind as his name goes down in the history as part of the 1st ever Ulster club to take the team title.
Also running for Novice team was Bernard McCabe 96th, Lee Lindsay 98th and Drew Doherty 110th. Team Valley won on 99 points from Rathfarnham 104 and Clonliffe 107. Congratulations to all involved.
Valley's Brenda Mc Ginty Takes 2nd Place in All-Ireland
Valley's juveniles have been to the fore this season and after the first round of the juvenile championships were ranked 2nd club nationally. Valley's juveniles returned home with a total of 39 championship medals, four individual placings, one team title and two third team placings.
The U12 Girls race was lead by Niamh Doherty taking her team home to third place. Niamh was well supported by Catherine Gallagher, Jodie Stewart, Clara Dunnion, Aoife Whelan, and Fionnuala Lindsay whose older brother competed in the Novice race. Ulster team won bronze medals with Niamh and Jodie making the scoring Ulster team and along with Catherine Gallagher and Clara Dunnion also scored on the Donegal team which won silver medals.
U12 Boys was lead once again by the Convoy lad Pauric McLaughlin who finished 7th overall and brought his team home to bronze medals as well as winning himself an individual medal. Gavin Carlin son of Sean who is training for track and field championships was Valley's second scorer with Lorcan McMenamin , and new kid on the block Dermott Brennan of Fintown, Gerry Boyle of Loughanure and Philip Brown making up the scoring Valley team. Pauric, Gavin, Dermott and Lorcan were all scorers on the Donegal team which took gold medals. Also competing very well was Patrick Geary, Karl Bradley, Christopher O Leary and Christopher McBride.
Breda McGinty of Dooish was the star of the show for Valley in these championships competing in the girls under 14. Breda now a student at St Columba's College Stranorlar, was discovered through the primary schools sports while competing with Dooish NS has progressed steadily . Brenda has taken all individual titles in Donegal and Ulster Even and Unevenaged groups and one of her outstanding races this year was in the Ulster championships when she battled with Ailish McColgan daughter of Liz and Peter McColgan to take the Ulster title. However today's race was Breda's best performance ever finishing 2nd overall and just 5 seconds behind the winner. Valley's team finished 5th overall and just eight points off winning medals. Breda was well supported by team mates Maeve Culhane, Jackie Gibson, Shauna Guthrie, Fionnuala Bruton and Bronagh Doherty. This is a team has good prospects and can go on to dominate cross-country later.
U14 Boys had another remarkable performance. These lads have won all team titles in their age group down the years and are a pleasure to watch and today's performance was no exception with Finn Valley taking club title, Donegal county title and Ulster the province. Diarmuid Fullerton of Buncrana lead the Valley team home to victory in 5th spot also winning himself an individual medal, with Ian Ward whose brother Simon was second on the historic Finn Valley Novice team made it a family celebration finishing 6th , Ryan McDaid of Buncrana 22nd , Shane Bonner of Drumkeen 49th and the ever improving son of Mark Connolly Aidan making up the final scorer. Diarmuid, Ian and Ryan all scored on the winning Ulster team and along with Shane Bonner also scored on the Donegal winning team. Also Kevin Gallagher had a good run in this age group.
U15 boys competed well and Alan Cavanagh was Valley's lead scorer with Stephan Connolly, Mark McGowan, Maurice Boyle and Enda Doherty all performing well.
Finn Valley wish to thank all coaches, parents and supporters who travelled. A great days competition by all and now the attention turns to Indoor championships.
Mark Connolly was delighted with his performance at the weekend when he finished second just 5 seconds behind Damien McGinty in the Ballyclare Cross-country run. Good to see Mark returning to competitive form.
News from Abroad
Just to let you all know that two of our members competed well in the Club la Santa quarter half marathon. Eunice O Brien finished in 1.10.00 and John O Brien 2hrs. Well done boys.
This weekend the Turkey Trot will take place in Letterkenny and a number of Finn Valley athletes will be competing.
On December the 21st a 4 mile cross-country race will take place at Gransha Hospital in Derry. All Finn Valley's senior and veteran athletes are asked to take part. Teams of 5 to score.
Club will be holding a dinner on Saturday evening for all club committee members, workers and parents. Please give your name into reception now as it is important to have numbers of those who are interested in attending.
Finn Valley will be holding their annual Stephen's day race. This is a fun day's running and all out there are invited to take part.
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Finn Valley Athletics Club - Millbrae - Stranorlar - Co.Donegal Ph: 074 32053 Fax: 074 64111