First ever Irish Milers meet at Lourdes track
Last Saturday saw the first ever Irish Milers Club Track & Field Meeting take place at a packed Lourdes Stadium in Drogheda.
This travelling roadshow of athletics is somewhat akin to motorsport's Grand Prix coming to town and there was a real buzz in the air, with some fast times expected from the quality field entered for each of the featured events.
Andrew Kelly got the day off to a good start and certainly brought a smile to his coach's face with his fourth-place finish in the 100m in 11:35, in a race that was won by Keith Pike from Clonliffe Harriers in a fast 10:83.
A short while later Kelly had the home crowd cheering him on as he powered his way round the bend and then held good form to finish second in the 200m in a lively 23:09.
In the one-lap event, the 400m, such was the standard on offer that the Men's A race saw the first two finishers dip under 50 seconds, which is quality running.
The Men's 800m has a €200 bonus on offer for a sub 1:49 time, but it didn't have to be paid out as Kieran Kelly from Raheny AC won in 1:51:45, with Brian Abakpereh, a visiting athlete from Italy, runner-up in 1:52:27.
In the 800m C race Kieran McGrath came so close to dipping under the two-minute mark when running well to place fourth in 2:00:75, followed by young Cormac Canning, who had a great run to finish eighth in 2:01:46.
The 800m D race saw Paddy Kelly deliver a strong run to place fourth in 2:06:46, with Hugh Callan running a season's best to finish fifth in 2:08:35 and Sean Toner running well to come ninth in 2:12:32.
D&D's Mary Leech delivered the goods when it counted by running a new PB time of 4:44:64 when finishing fourth in the Women's 1500m against some quality opposition, in a race that was won by Fiona Kehoe from Kilmore AC in 4:24:90.
The Men's 3,000m was a top-class affair, with Hiko Tonoso from DSD AC winning the sprint for the line in a noteworthy 8:09:62 and Conor Bradley from Spartan's AC just two tenths of a second behind in 8:09:84.
The featured events were preceded by the Novice Paced Mile races, where Christopher Duffy ran 6:53:97, Cillian Gogarty 6:58:52 and Gerard Maher 8:00:70.
Meanwhile, some of Drogheda & District's Junior athletes were in action at the All-Ireland Juvenile Championships in Tullamore over the weekend.
Tom Cummins ran well in the Boys U-18 400m when finishing seventh in a useful 54:48 in a race that was won by Galway AC's Robert McDonnell in an incredible 50:98.
In the Boys U-19 3,000m, Tadhg Everitt Thompson finished 10th in a tactical race in 9:37:28.
Tadhg Donnelly, running in the Boys U-18 1500m, finished seventh in 4:20:75 after a long season which has seen him win provincial and national medals and gain a lot of valuable experience.
Closer to home, at Sunday's Dunleer AC 4 Mile Road Race, which was held on a sweltering hot day, Shane Larkin was D&D's first finisher in eighth place overall and third in his category in 22:23 - good running given the conditions and the hilly nature of the course.
Pat O'Grady was next in 10th spot in 22:39 which earned him a category winner's prize, while Nuala Reilly duly won her category with her run of 30:44.
Gerry Carroll continues to improve with age and he showed many of his younger rivals a clean pair of heels when finishing second in his M70 category in 34:32.
Also running well was Barbara Byrne - 103rd in 30:43 - Michelle Egan who was 138th in 33:30 and Elva Maree who came 150th in 34:01.