Deirdre Mongan wins bronze at IPC Athletics European Championships

 Deirdre Mongan (originally from Milltown, Co. Galway now living in Newcastle, Co. Down), F53 class, Paralympics Ireland Athletics pictured competing at the 2016 IPC Athletic European Championships in Grosseto, Italy.
Martin McGoran

The IPC Athletics European Championships in Grosseto, Italy could not have started better with Deirdre Mongan winning Ireland’s first medal in the opening session on Saturday. Mongan, Galway-born but living in Newcastle, Co. Down, took bronze in the F53/54 Shot Putt final.

The 38-year-old was last to throw in the competition which saw Russia take gold and Greece the silver. Her first round effort of 4.10m was good enough to secure her place on presentation podium.

Speaking afterwards, the Irish Para-Athletics team's National Throws Coach, Dave Sweeney, stated: "That's exactly the boost the Irish team needed starting these championships."

Derry Track Club’s Conor McIlveen, making his debut at this level, was content with his sixth in T38 1500m in 4:45.89. Ballymena Runners club man James Hamilton, who was competing for Britain in the championships, took 12th in the T20 1500m (4:20.65) on Saturday but suffered the misfortune of being tripped in yesterday’s heats of the 800m ruling out all possibility of qualifying for the final.

Irish athletes were also competing in Geneva where Ballymena & Antrim’s Christine McMahon (Photo) lowered her best in the 400m Hurdles to 56.42 to qualify for the European Championships early next month. It also moves her tantalising close to the Olympic standard of 56.20 seconds.

David Gillick’s comeback suffered a setback with a modest 48.37, over a second slower than his race in Belfast last month. Irish number one Brian Gregan was not much quicker with a 47.70 timing although Shercock’s Craig Lynch must be happy with a 47.31 second mark in winning his heat. Jason Harvey’s disappointing run of form continued with a 54.15 clocking in the 400m Hurdles – well outside his seasonal best of 51.68.

Paralympic champion Jason Smyth led off for Ireland’s men’s in 4 x 100m helping them to a 39.98 clocking in finishing second behind Finland (39.55) in the B race. Britain won the A race in 38.61 with four other countries recording faster times than the Irish quartet.

On the roads North Belfast Harrier Cathy McCourt was the runaway winner of the Stunnerz in Runnerz 5 Miles in Magherafelt covering the distance in 31:03. Springwell Running Club’s Gemma McDonald (Turley) took second in 31:28 with Lagan Valley’s Suzanne Higgins claiming third in 32:25.

Around 800 turned up for the Enniskillen 10K with Dromore’s Stephen O’Gorman taking the top prize in a modest 35:29. Stephen Cassidy was seven seconds back in the runner-up spot with Chris McGuirk third in 35:39.

Leading lady was Patricia O’Hagan who crossed the finish line in 40:29, just under a minute ahead of last year’s winner Donna Evans (41:20). Tara Malone took third in 41:52.

Ulster women dominated yesterday’s Irish Runner 5 Miles in the Phoenix Park with North Belfast Harrier Gladys Ganiel taking the honours by 21 seconds from Cavan’s 46-year-old former London Marathon winner Catriona McKiernan in 28:36.

Donegal woman Fiona Stack (30:37) was fourth, two places ahead Ganiel’s club colleague Roisin Hughes (31:37) while Acorns AC’s Natalie Hall took seventh in 31:57. Kenya’s Peter Somba won the men’s race in 23:58, one second ahead of Rio-bound marathoner Mick Clohisey.

Earlier Mark McKinstry (26:11) and Amy Bulman (31:52) were first man and woman home in Friday night’s Active Antrim 5 Miles Multi-Terrain Race.


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