The last major of the season the AAI Masters Championships took place in Santry on Sunday and as has been the norm this season Donegal athletes were once again very much to the fore winning twelve golds five silver and one bronze medal. The most successful of our athletes with two titles each were Noreen Bonner, Finn Valley who won the 800m and 1,500m titles in her age group,  Martin Money, Inishowen who won both the 110m hurdles and Weight for Distance and Eimear Doherty Tír Chonaill who won both the 100m Hurdles and Long Jump. Other Donegal title winners were Aidan Gillespie, Rosses who won the Long jump, Damian Crawford, Lifford Strabane who won the Javelin, Catriona Devine who won a very exciting 800m, Geraldine Stewart, Tír Chonaill who won the women’s shot, Catherine Mc Devitt, Letterkenny who won the 200m and took silver in 100m, Martin Cunningham, Tír Chonaill who was a very impressive winner of the 1,500m, Shane Toolan Tír Chonaill who was third in  both the 100m and the 200m, Robert Anderson Tír Chonaill who was second in both the Weight for Distance and the Hammer, Brian O’ Domhnaill, Finn Valley who was second in the 5,000m walk, and Martin O’ Donnell Olympian who was second in the 100m and third in the 200m.


On next weekend the Irish Schools Interprovincial Tailteann Games take place in Santry. These Games were established by a Killybegs native Jack Sweeney who was a Maths teacher in CUS Leeson Street, known as the father of Irish Coaching. The first Colleges Tailteann Games were held in Croke Park in September 1963 and I had the privilege of being selected to compete in the 1,500m for these Games. Saturday next sees the 57th staging of the event. At present the event is restricted to Intermediate (U/17) athletes and seventeen Donegal athletes will wear the Ulster Schools singlet. The top two in each event will be selected to represent Ireland at the schools International later this month. The Donegal athletes selected are Hannah Murray, Blaine Lynch, Oisin Thompson, Michael Mc Gonagle, Fionn Mc Loughlin, Eimear Mc Carroll, Finn Valley, Lucy Mc Glynn, Eoin Boyle, Fintan Dewhirst, Daire Mc Devitt, Alex Anderson, Tír Chonaill, Harriet Mc Crossan, Ella Costello, Adrienne Gallen Cora Burns Lifford Strabane and Elvis Okoe, Letterkenny.  We wish them all good fortune and we hope that they can all achieve their personal goals.


The British Schools Championships were held in Loughborough College London and two Donegal Javelin throwers Ellie Mc Curdy, Lifford Strabane and Blaine Lynch, Finn Valley took part Ellie threw a personal best and finished second in her competition and Blaine who will be young enough for the event next year also threw a personal best and finished in the top six. It was great experience for both athletes.


On a personal note I was saddened at the weekend by the death of RTE presenter Donncha O Dúlaing who died at the age of 88 on Sunday only one week after the death of his beloved wife Vera. In January 1982 I was approached by the Irish Wheelchair Association to coach Donncha for a Marathon three week fund- raising walk from Bantry in Cork to Ballycastle. We left Bantry House on a Monday morning in May and shared many stories and blisters over the next three weeks as we walked from town to town. At the end through the generosity of the Irish people we managed to raise £250, 000 for the Charity. Following on the death of Pat Hooper Brian Corcoran and Svein Arne Hansen this is the fourth close friend to go his eternal reward in the past twelve months. May they all rest in peace.



Next: BRENDAN BOYCE launches Finn Valley AC jubilee schools programme

Follow Us on Twitter