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Monday, 27 January 2014

DERRY CITY TRACK CLUB ATHLETES TAKE HAUL OF MEDALS AT MASTERS



DERRY CITY TC EXCELS AT NATIONAL MASTER INDOOR CHAMPS

DCTC's Medallists (missing Robert Bigger)
The northwest’s newest athletics club, Derry City Track Club, made an immediate impact on the national stage when it picked up a haul of medals at the Irish Masters’ Indoor Track and Field Championships in Athlone.  DCTC members came home with no less than four gold, two silver and two bronze medals after a hectic afternoon of competition in the new indoor arena at Athlone Institute of Technology.
Shiels Stoops to Conquer.
Timothy Shiels kicked off the competition in the best possible fashion for the new club with a thrilling victory. Sitting third at the bell of the M35 800m, the Omagh-based pastor looked to have a fight on his hands to hold on to the bronze medal place.  The position remained unchanged as the leading four entered the final bend with just a 100m to run but a sensational final straight sprint saw the DCTC man snatch victory by just two-hundredths of a second from Moroccan-born Mounir Bouziane.  

Shiels’ time of 2:01.89 was a personal best by some three seconds and augurs well for a solid outdoor campaign this summer.

“I can’t believe this, I’m very emotional,” said a tearful Shiels on receiving official confirmation that the photo finish showed he had won. “Fourteen years ago I was living rough and seemed to have no future.  Now I’m champion of Ireland!”

The victory completed a fairy-tale rags to riches story for the 38-year-old Derry man.  Fourteen years ago he was begging for money on the streets of Dublin to fund his drug addiction.  He was destitute and sleeping rough.  He lived from one drug fix to the next.  Now his addiction is to his running and he plans competing in this summer’s European Masters’ Athletics Championships in Istanbul.
Frank flies Over the Bar

It was also a long road back for former Ulster Hugh Jump champion Frank Stewart who only decided a few months ago that he was going to make a comeback at 76 years of age!  His immediate family and friends must have thought that he was having some sort of mental aberration but Frank confounded them all by taking victories in both the High Jump and Long Jump.  That bridged a 41-year gap for the ex-Oak Leaf athlete, back to 1973 when he had his last competition in Strabane.

The Rosemount man was particularly impressed with the state of art Athlone arena. “We had nothing like this in my day,” said the lively septuagenarian. “We had no coaches or nothing.  I had to draw up my own schedules and devise my own training.  Then we had to land into sandpits and on one occasion I had to jump into turned over sods of earth.”

Derry City chairman Cathal McLaughlin led by example and turned in an impressive performance to retain his 1500m title in the M45 age group.  The company director followed the early pace before launching an attack just before the bell which carried him to a comfortable win in 4:20.25.  McLaughlin’s next outing will be in London at the end of February when he represents Northern Ireland masters in an inter-area match.

Silver medals were lifted by Robert Bigger in the M55 800m while Mal McCausland took time out from his coaching duties to finish second in the M60 1500m.  Gary McGee also impressed with a fine bronze medal performance in the M45 800m and Adrian Boyle was unfortunate to just miss out on a podium place in the M35 1500m despite running a personal best 4:16.

The meeting ended on a high note with the DCTC 4 x 200m relay squad taking third spot in the final event although that placing may be upgraded to first when appeals are resolved against disqualifications of the first two teams.

RESULTS
National Masters Track & Field Championships, Athlone. (NorthWest results)
Men - 60m: (M35) 2 Martin O’Donnell (Olympian Youth) 7.81; 200m: (M35) 2 Brendan Boyce (Letterkenny) 24.67; 400m: (M35) Boyce  54.74; 800m: (M35) 1 Timothy Shiels (Derry City TC) 2:01.89, (M40) 3 Philip Donaghy (City of Derry) 2.11.64; (M45) 1 Kieran Carlin (Finn Valley) 2.07.78, 3 G.McGee (Derry City TC) 2:12.17; (M55) 2 Robert Bigger (Derry City TC) 2:16.11; 1500m: (M35) 4 Adrian Boyle (Derry City TC) 4:16; (M45) 1 Cathal McLaughlin (Derry City TC) 4:20.25, 2. Carlin 4:23.52; (M60) 2 Mal McCausland (Derry City TC) 5:16.07; 4x200m relay: 1 Derry City TC 1.41.49 (subject to confirmation); High Jump: (M75) 1 Frank Stewart (Derry City TC) 1:05m; Long Jump: (M1) 3 Gary Gallagher (Lifford); (M3) 2 Brian Breslin (Lifford) 4:45m; (M9) 1 Frank Stewart 2:72m.
Women - 60m Hurdles:  (M40) 1 Isabella Breslin (Lifford) 11.6H; High Jump: (M40) 1 Breslin 1:25m; Shot Putt:(M40) 1 Breslin 8:35.

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