Suzie Cave went to Prague to represent Great Britain in The World Masters Modern Pentathlon Championships. She won bronze in the individual event and team gold in the relay.
Phil Cairnduff went to Liverpool for the British Transplant games. Phil entered 6 events and medaled in all 6 events.
Shileen O’Kane travelled to Italy to compete for team Ireland in the World Masters Mountain Running Championships. Shileen came away with a team silver medal.
At the Northern Ireland Road Relay Championships in Victoria Park our Female Masters team Julie Murphy , Shileen O’Kane and Suzanne Higgins picked up bronze medals.
At the Masters Cross Country trials at the Dub playing fields, Suzanne Higgins V35, Kate Montgomery V60 and Francie Boal V65 got selected for the Northern Ireland teams in there age groups and will be wearing their International Vests in Glasgow at the British and Irish Masters Cross Country Championships on November 12th.
Key Highlights Report – Lagan Valley AC Junior Endurance Squad – 2015/2016
The Ulster Even Age Group Championships on Saturday 24 October 2015 at UUJ kicked off the new season in earnest for the Endurance Squad. Led by rising track star, Libby M, the U14 girls raced to an easy victory in the Team Category. Their counterparts in the shape of the U14 Boys Team came home in a very respectable 2nd place, led home by top individual Ollie M in 9th. Not to be outdone, the U16 Girls picked up Bronze Team Medals courtesy of Molly D and Harriet D, Rhiannon C and Darcy S. Running out of their age group in the U16 Boys race, Tim S and Callum McC ran strong races to finish 9th and 21st respectively.
Events at Jordanstown were only a precursor to what would happen 2 weeks later at the Ulster Uneven XC Championships in Stranorlar (Co. Donegal). Here, the U13 Boys had 2 finishers in the top 10, thanks to Ollie M 4th and Paul C 9th which contributed to the team finishing just outside the medals in 4th place. The U15 Girls Team event was dominated by the Lagan Valley girls with 4 in the top 20, led home by Molly D 2nd, Anna H 6th, Libby M 10th and Naoise G 18th. Their feat was matched by an equally impressive U15 Boys Team who had 23 points to spare over Omagh Harriers in securing another Ulster Team title on the day, all thanks to Tim St 5th, Cormac O’R 6th, Callum McC 13th and Peter C 23rd.
Proceedings then moved to Santry on 22nd November for the Irish Even Age Group XC Championships. Against the crème de la crème, the U14 Boys Team battled well to come 5th and finished top Ulster Team on the day. The U14 Girls continued to impress by picking up Bronze Medals with a narrow 3 point margin and once again consolidated their position as the top Ulster Team in this age category.
The XC bandwagon then rolled south to Dungarvan (Co. Waterford) for the Irish Uneven Age Group XC Championships. The U13 Boys kicked-off proceedings with solid individual performances from Paul C 25th and Ollie M 26th and in doing so helped the Team to 7th place overall; both boys also scored for Ulster to secure the Provincial title. The U15 Boys were eager to improve on their 2nd place finish in the previous year’s U14 team race and they didn’t disappoint. Tim S, with a fantastic individual 3rdplace finish led the team to brilliant Gold with 15 points to spare over Clonliffe Harriers. Arguably, the performance of the day, however, came from Cormac (Lazarus) O’R who rose from his sick bed to finish as 2nd placer for the team in 30th. Also worth a mention, the Lagan Valley Boys contributed 4 scorers to the Antrim Team that came 3rd in the Inter-County Championship. Earlier in the day, the U15 Girls also produced a fine team performance to finish as Silver Medallists, sandwiched in between a strong Metro/St Brigid’s AC and Mullingar Harriers; top scorer for the girls was Molly D with a gutsy 14th place.
After what had been a hectic period of racing, the Squad then took some well earned mid-season rest only to regroup for the Annual Lagan Valley AC Charity Race on Sunday 3rd January. A big thank you to our chief organiser and President John T Glover. This most social of social gatherings certainly helped to blow away the festive excess and refocused minds for the 2nd half of the season.
Next up on the XC calendar was the Antrim International XC meet on Saturday 16 January. Top performance was by Molly D with a strong 2nd place finish just behind Omagh Harriers Niamh H; Molly was well supported by Anna H 9th, Harriet D 16th, Sophie S 20th, Anna Y 22nd and Khara E 23rd. Peter C and Callum McC battled hard in the boys equivalent and were rewarded with very respectable 24th and 32nd place finishes. The top finishers in the U13 Boys were Paul C 5th and Ryan M 8th while Rachel S was first home for the Club in the Girls U13 race with 14th spot.
Many of the squad then swapped their sky blue vests for their school colours as Ulster Schools XC dates followed hot on the heels of Antrim. It was heartening to see so many progress through District qualifying to reach the Finals and once again the Junior Squad performed with distinction. And so it was that Anna H returned to Mallusk playing fields on 10th February to defend her unbeaten run in Ulster Schools XC, and in a repeat of their 2015 encounter, Anna once again just managed to hold off a determined Amelia K to pick up the Minor Girls Title. That achievement was matched by a fit again Matt S in the Minor Boys event as he went one place better than 2015 when he spread-eagled the field over the testing ground. In all, the Junior Squad had an impressive 12 finishers inside the top 10 across the various school age categories – no mean feat and one which had surely caught the eye of the Selectors for the London Mini Marathon!
After our exploits in Mallusk, everyone then turned their attention to Armagh for the 5k International Road Race Meet on 18th February; one of the best nights racing on the local running scene. Here the Club had one individual winner in the form of Matt S in the boys 02/03 Race. Other podium finishers on the night included a 2nd and 3rd place finish for Anna H and Libby M in the Girls 02/03 event. That night also saw Tim S and Cormac O’R take on more seasoned athletes in the Open 3k and they ran solid races coming home in 9.29 and 9.45 respectively.
By now the races were coming thick and fast and on the 8th March Sligo Racecourse saw a number of our junior athletes tackle the Irish Schools XC Championships. Best on the day were Anna H and Matt S, who both finished their Minor age group races like the proverbial ‘steam train’ only for each of them to finish an agonising 4th and just out of the podium places; a gallant effort nevertheless against Ireland’s best!
Meanwhile, on 19 March in Falkirk, Molly D had the honour of representing Ireland at the Schools International XC Match and performed well against a top class field.
Sunday 10th April heralded the return of the Titanic Mile (support race for the Titanic 10k) – another Club favourite. Cormac O’R (5.13) and Molly D (5.49) returned to defend their titles in blustery conditions and they duly obliged, but not without being pushed all the way by their respective team mates Callum McC and Anna H. This event also saw the emergence of some Lagan Valley Mini Talent in the shape of Conor D (6.15) and Enya O’N (6.23) – definitely two for the future!
A few of the Squad then took to the streets of south Belfast for the Annual Queens 5k (incorporating a new 3k event). Our juniors really put it up to some more seasoned runners and Tim S (9.42) and Cormac O’R (9.46) were rewarded with overall 1st and 3rd place finishes; further down the field there were also good runs from Donal B (11.14) and Anna H (11.35). Elsewhere in the 5k event there were two huge PBs for Peter C (17.16) and Callum McC (17.44).
Next up, a number of the Junior Squad (Alex B, Tim S, Paul C and Rachel S) were rewarded for their earlier XC endeavours by gaining selection to run for Northern Ireland at the Virgin London Mini Marathon on Sunday 24th April. New recruit Alex B was the fastest home with a speedy 16.23 for the 3 mile course; also in the mix that day was a young Eimear McB in the Girls U13 3-mile race (19.25) who would go on to join Lagan Valley AC later that Summer.
After this, attention quickly turned to the eagerly awaited track season and there was some early season form on display by the juniors at the Belfast International Meet on 7 May, where the highlight was possibly the 2.24 800m from Libby M; a time that pushed her to the top end of her NI age group rankings.
Soon after this many of the Squad found themselves lining up in their respective Districts as they battled it out for a coveted place in the Ulster Schools Track and Field Finals and I am glad to report that many of the Squad made it through qualifying. On the day we had 4 medallists, courtesy of a superb 1-2 in the Minor Girls 800m with Libby M 1st in 2.24 and Anna H 2nd in 2.27; Matt S 2nd in Minor Boys 800m with 2.12; and probably one of the stand-out performances was Cormac O’R’s impressive 2.02 in the Inter Boys 800m (and he has next year in the race!).
On 5th June in Tullamore, the above 4 qualifiers were joined in the Irish Schools Finals by Alex B, Tim S and Callum McC (Junior Mile). Our only medallist was Matt S with brilliant silver in the Minor Boys 800m (2.10); Cormac was 5th in his 800m with another new PB of 2.00.63; and our 2 Minor Girls, Anna H and Libby M had a great tussle for 4th and 5th in their 800m with both recording 2.23 (incidentally the first 6 home in this race were all inside the meet record). Alex, Tim and Callum gained some valuable experience in what turned out to be a very tactical Junior Mile with Alex top finisher in 4th with 4.44. Tim and Alex were again rewarded for their efforts with selection for the Ulster Team to run at the Tailteann Games on 25th June in Santry. Here, Tim was 5th in the 3k with a creditable 9.35 and Alex 7th in a fast run 1500m with 4.19.
This really just left the Ulster Age Group Track Championships on 11th and 19th of June to wrap things up after a long hard season for most of the Squad. Again this produced another impressive medal haul with our 800m runners picking up 3 bronze medals thanks to Matt S 2.13 – U15 Boys, Libby M 2.24 – U15 Girls and a return to form for Rhiannon C 2.30 – U17 Girls; meanwhile Alex B picked up gold in the U16 Boys 3k with 9.39 and Tim S took bronze with 9.44. On 19th June the 1500m runners added another 4 championship medals to the tally with Alex doing the double by winning the U16 Boys race with a time of 4.18 and Tim S again taking bronze in 4.23; Matt S went one better with silver in his 1500m race with 4.37; and Libby M ran a new PB to pick up U15 bronze with a time of 5.02.
This left one final track event worthy of a mention and that was Cormac O’R selection to run for NI Schools at the UK School Games in Loughborough on 2 September. Despite having missed part of the summer with injury Cormac ran exceptionally well to finish 6th in a time of 2.00.79, just a fraction outside his PB.
So, in summary, it has been a season of tremendous success for the Junior Endurance Squad, be it over country, the roads or track and we at the Club are all immensely proud of their achievements. The junior arm of the Club continues to grow in depth year on year and it is with much optimism that we all look forward to renewing rivalries in 2016/2017.
Thanks again to all involved with the Junior Endurance Squad, the future certainly is bright, the future is ‘SKY BLUE’
Enya O.N qualified for the All Ireland Cross Country finals in Dublin 2015
LVAC Minis have also had individuals compete in the Ulster Cross Country Championships in 2015 and so far in 2016 the Youth Development League, the Firmus Super 6 series and the Titanic 1 mile.