Newcastle juniors kept busy

Newcastle juniors kept busy

5 June 2024

NEWCASTLE AC juniors embarked far from home at the weekend as they took part in prestigious events right across the island and beyond.

Ethan McMullan found himself on a plane alongside the full Ireland Mountain Running squad on his way to France for the European Mountain Running Championships. 

Ethan had qualified for both the U-20 uphill race as well as the classic race which was a huge ask of this young man to perform at his very best, 

against the best in not only Ireland but in Europe in two different styles of races within 48 hours. 

Needless to say, Ethan had a phenomenal weekend in France in the Ireland singlet as after a blistering finish on Friday morning in 32nd place in the uphill only race, he was back out on the mountain on Sunday morning and claimed 34th in the classic. 

With Ethan being only fresh to this U-20 category, he will embrace this challenge next year and aim to qualify for the Irish squad again. 

With more experience, knowledge and the same relentless level of dedication he has always demonstrated, it looks likely that this will not be the last time he runs in green.


Schools All Ireland

The sole club representative in Tullamore, County Offaly, was Eve McNamara, who recently secured second place in the Ulster Schools’ minor girls 75m hurdles. 

A student at Shimna Integrated College, Newcastle, Eve has helped raise the profile of athletics in the school with her talent across the multi-events platform and also cross country in both school and club events. 

On Saturday afternoon she lined up alongside the best that schools from all over Ireland had to offer and in a very competitive and equally as strong field, Eve crossed the line in sixth place in a time of 12.56 with only 1.2 seconds splitting first and last place. 

This was a remarkable achievement for Eve’s first experience of the Schools’ All-Ireland Championship. 

Going forward into Ulster Clubs, Eve will be sure to bring along all the lessons she has picked up along the way and perform equally, if not even better over the coming months.


Ulster Track and Field

In Donegal, members set off early on Sunday morning to take three young men to the Finn Valley Complex for the U-12 and U-13 Ulster Track and Field Championships. 

Again the sun came out to greet participants and the blue track glowed.

There were fantastic performances across various disciplines from the lads and kept the presence of yellow and red vests in the mix.

Rossa McAleenan kicked off the day with a personal best in U-12 Turbo Javelin for eighth place, increasing his throw by over one metre for 14.56 and he changed disciplines later in the day to jump 3.36m for 12th in the long jump.

Connaire Óg McVeigh threw a whopping 10.79m with the 400g Javelin for tenth and ran a solid race in the 600m to finish tenth also. 

Harry McVeigh found himself in the 60m final after four very competitive heats, he secured seventh place overall and then brought his A-Game later in the afternoon to the 600m to finish second and found himself 

on the podium matching his current personal best of 1.49 and qualifying for All-Irelands in July. 


Hill and Dale

The junior mountain runners continue to show their resilience and trust in the fact that they will not fall down rabbit holes and the ground will always come up to meet them as the Hill and Dale series continues each Thursday evening. 

As it stands after race seven, Karim Jaidane is currently leading the way in the junior male category, though Patrick Mc

Daid and Euan McIntosh have equally made their mark with super runs at Milestone on Thursday evening, taking first and second junior male with only 40 seconds separating them both. 

With three more events left, there will be plenty of opportunities to gain some valuable places in the race to the end of the series. 


Castlewellan parkrun

Closer to home the regular stalwarts of Castlewellan parkrun have embraced the warmer weather and the multitude of personal bests are being noted each week. 

Charlotte Kerr has had back to back to back personal bests, knocking over two minutes off her time to bring it to 36.19. 

This five year-old continues to excel and push herself. 

Luke McDonald has slashed over 70 seconds off his personal best for 26.45 and Alana Flynn has come back off the injury bench on fire and has bagged herself a new personal best of 26.41. 

Michael Lynch also enjoyed back to back personal bests, initially knocking 90 seconds off his personal best one week and the next week extending that further to 20.43. 

The following week he also brought along his little cousin for a whistle stop tour of the parkrun route as he pushed her along in the buggy from start to finish at a blister pace. 

Well done to all those in the club who come out to support the local parkruns. 

Regular faces such as Sophie and Emily Kerr, Ronan and Aoife Grant, Eilis Donnelly and Sebatastian McCaughey are often found at 9.30am lakeside for the event.

A special mention to Natalie Cotton who earlier in May secured second female at Castlewellan and has also continued to volunteer a number of times in various roles.