Louth's women promoted to top tier
The County Louth senior athletics teams enjoyed a very successful day in Tullamore recently when they did battle in the final of the National League.
Both men's and women's teams were competing in Division 1 of this All-Ireland competition and both matched their previous best performances.
In 2016 the women had finished sixth and the men seventh, but there was a clear improvement by both teams this year. The women led the way by finishing second of the eight teams, matching their achievement of 2013, while the men came sixth.
By finishing second, just one point ahead of the County Kerry team, the Wee County women's team earned promotion to the Premier Division for next year.
Heptathlete Amy McTeggart (Boyne) contributed very strongly to the women's success, winning the high jump and finishing second in the 400m and third in the triple jump.
The other individual victory went to Shauna McMahon (Blackrock) in the shot, while another heptathlete, Geraldine Finegan (North East Runners) scored good points by finishing second in the javelin and third in the pole vault. Emma Cheshire (Dunleer) was second in the long jump and Niamh Belton (St Gerard's) third in the 200m.
The Women's 4x100m team of Cheshire, Belton, Kelly Breen (Blackrock) and Bláthnaid Donnelly (Drogheda & District) also finished in third place, pipping their counterparts from Kerry by less than one hundredth of a second, which proved decisive in deciding the second of the two promotion places.
The contribution of the remaining four athletes on the team was also of vital importance, as Nicola Welsh (Dunleer), Erin McHugh (Drogheda & District), Seoda Matthews (Dunleer) and Emma Conway (Dundealgan) all played their part on a great day for athletics in County Louth.
The star for the men's team was Conor McMahon (Ardee & District), who was joint first in the high jump. Oisín Ó Gibne (Boyne) finished second in the 800m, as did Darren Weldon (Ardee & District) in the hammer. Ruarcán Ó Gibne (Boyne) came home third in the 3,000m steeplechase and the other third-place finisher for Louth was Lee McGuiness (Drogheda & District) in the 200m.
Slí Cualann from County Wicklow finished with the same points total but lost out to Louth in the battle for sixth place under the league's tie-breaking rules.
Hence the points earned by Gabriel Bell (St Peter's), Sam O'Neill (Drogheda & District), Pat Cheshire (Dunleer), Tom McGrane (St Peter's), Jonathan Rice (Dundealgan), Stephen Kelly (Drogheda & District) and Andrew Kelly (Drogheda & District) were every bit as important.