Lecky and OFlaherty Strike Gold at NI & Ulster Senior Championships
10 June 2019
World Junior high jump silver medallist Sommer Lecky started her outdoor season in style at the weekend when she battled the endlessly changing weather conditions to dominate her event with an emphatic victory of 1.83m.
The 18 year old was competing in the well supported NI & Ulster Senior Championships at the Mary Peters Track on Saturday 8th June 2019, where athletes faced a frustrating mixture of sunshine and showers.
Sommer’s 1.83m clearance makes her 4th in the current European U20 standings and a firm medal contender for the European Junior Championships in Sweden in mid-July. North Down AC sprint star Aaron Sexton who did not compete at the weekend is also a strong podium prospect in the 200m.
Coach Niall Wilkinson reflected the mood of a smiling Sommer by commenting that her performance was a great opener to the season. He said that despite her youth her experience at both World Junior and Commonwealth Games level will assist her hugely or the challenges in Sweden.
Olympian Kerry O'Flaherty (Newcastle & District AC) added another title to her collection with victory in the 5,000m in 16.50.67. Kerry led the race from the beginning, with Jessica Craig (North Down AC) and Mia McCalmont (Tir Chonaill AC) sitting comfortably behind, until the last lap, when Ballymena Runner’s Kerry Bamber accelerated from 5th place to take 3rd. Jessica retained 2nd place in a time of 17:13.49, with Kerry Bamber finishing just behind in 17:35.53.
Irish International Conall Kirk (Annadale Striders) was also in a class of his own when he was untroubled in securing a rare 800m & 1,500m double. In the longer event he just did enough to hold off North Down AC's Craig McMeechan, finishing in a time of 4 mins 00.23secs while Craig finished in 4.01.21. He then adopted a more aggressive approach for the 800m, leading the race to secure gold in 1.51.92m, just ahead of Willowfield Harrier’s Andrew Wright in 1.52.56.
"I just decided to take the 800m out from the start and ran 55 secs for the first lap as planned. I got a PB recently over 1,500m and will race over that distance a few times this season. "
The biggest surprise of the day came in the Men’s 5,000m where Commonwealth Games steeplechaser Adam Kirk- Smith (Derry Track Club) was overtaken in the last lap by Neil Johnston (Springwell Running Club) who took 1st place in a time of 14:50.67. Conor Duffy (Glaslough Harriers) took 2nd in a time of 14:53.80, with Adam Kirk-Smith finishing in 3rd place in a time of 14:56.94.
There was a double sprint victory for Finn Valley AC's Janine Boyle in the 100m (12.28 secs) and the 200m (25.69 secs). City of Lisburn AC’s Katie Monteith won Silver in the Women’s 100m in 12.31, with Caitlin Maguire (North Belfast Harriers) in 3rd in 12.46. In the Women’s 200m, Aimee Stitt (North Down AC) came 2nd in 26.76, also taking the U19 title, and Grainne Clerkin (Clones AC) came 3rd in 27.32, also taking the U18 title.
In the Men's 100m Ballymena and Antrim AC's Dean Adams bridged an 8 year gap to take his second win in 10.84 secs ahead of team mate Michael McCauley, who finished in 10.96. In 3rd was North Down AC’s Louis Albrow, who finished in 11.17, to also take the U18 title. McAuley went on to take the 200m title in 22.14 secs, with Louis Albrow taking 2nd in 22.82 and the U18 title and Aaron McCord (Orangegrove AC) in 3rd in 23.42.
It was also a double gold for Commonwealth Games athlete, Jack Agnew (Torque Racing Club) in the Wheelchair 100m and 1500m. Jack finished the 100m in 15.79 and the 1500m in 3.43.12, with Andrew Greer (Torque Racing Club) taking two silvers, in 17.05 and 4:21.56, respectively.
As usual the Men's 400m was a classy event with Andrew Mellon making up for last year's bronze. The Crusaders AC man won in 47.94 secs ahead of Cathal Crosbie (Ennis Track Club) in 48.22 secs and Jack Manning (Kilkenny City Harriers) in 49.08 secs. The Ladies 400m North Down AC’s Rachel McCann took 1st place in 57.22, with Laura Frey (Lagan Valley AC) in 2nd in 58.32 and Daniella Jansen (Finn Valley AC) took 3rd place in 59.20 and the U18 title.
Carmen AC’s Jack Moore took home two gold medals in the U19 Boys 3000m and the 1500m, finishing in 9:06.53 and 4:05.93 respectively.
Cheltenham & County Harriers' Mollie Courtney took another hurdles title in the Women 100m Hurdles in 14.03 secs, with Sarah Connolly (North Down Ac) in 2nd in 14.43 secs. Holly Mulholland (City of Lisburn AC) took the U18 Girls title in 14.56 and Eimear Kelly (City of Derry Spartans) was 2nd in 14.63.
Hayley Murray (Rugby & Northhampton Ac) threw consistently in the hammer to win gold in 54.98m which is just short of her season's best. Amy Kimber (North Down AC) won the Senior Women’s Discus with a throw of 31.92, and she won Silver in the Senior Javelin with a throw of 21.97, which also earned her the U19 title.
Lifford Strabane’s Damian Crawford won the Men’s competition with a throw of 31.60. Damian also went on to collect the Gold in the Men’s Shot with a throw of 10.60m and silver in the Men’s, U19 & U20 Javelin competition, with a throw of 47.46, just behind the competition winner, Jack MacNeill (Ballymena & Antrim AC) who threw 48.27m to take the Senior & U20 titles.
The full results are available on the website HERE.