Derry City Track Club athletes showed no signs of any end of season fatigue as they grabbed another clutch of personal bests at the final track fixture of the year in Belfast. The Derry club’s young stars stole the limelight with fine performances at the Lagan Valley Firmus Super Six Meeting held on the Mary Peters Track.

Matt Doherty impressed at Mary Peters
Matt Doherty impressed at Mary Peters

Teenager Matt Doherty took advantage of the mild conditions to chop over two seconds from his 800m personal best with a 1:56.77 timing for fourth place in the top race of the night. The Bogside youth was in touch from the gun and settled nicely into the pack behind the pacemaker for the opening lap.

He moved wide on the backstraight and challenged for the victory throughout the final furlong. His time was reward was a new personal best and took the 18-year-old to fourth in the NI rankings for his age group. Also impressive was another Derry U20 Shane McGowan who finished a close second in 1:55.30.

“It was obvious that Matt had learned a lot from our recent trip to Manchester,” said DCTC coach Malcolm McCausland. “ Matt did everything right tonight but was simply beaten by better athletes at this moment in time. He has improved enormously this year and he’ll go away now and prepare for the indoor season which starts in January.”

Another teenager Brandon Connolly also caught the eye with a massive personal best in the U17 race. The 16-year-old took over 13 seconds from his previous mark with a 2:09.06 timing. Connolly put in a strong homestraight to clinch the bronze medal spot and will now be looking to target the steeplechase in schools’ competitions next year.

Although 12-year-old Ben Mellon only sliced a few tenths of a second off his 800m best with a 2:44.91 mark, the improvement in his performance was enormous. He was another one who obviously learned from his Manchester experience and attacked the race from the gun.

He held down fourth place in the U13 race for most of the trip but ran out of steam over the last 200m. That did not mean he did not fight all the way to the line and there is no doubt he will be a different athlete with a winter’s work under his belt.

Others to impress on the night were Shaun Deery who ran a sensational last 100m to finish third in the 800m B race and Conor McIlveen who gained an IPC World Championships standard of 2:17.78 in the same race. Andrew Bolster also showed signs of better things to come with a solid run over the 800m distance.

Double Gold for DCTC’s McIlveen

Thursday – August 20, 2015

Derry City Track Club athlete Conor McIlveen impressed with a double gold performance at the 2015 CPISRA World Games in Nottingham. The 25-year-old recorded new personal bests over both 200m and 400m to lift the T38 titles at both distances.

It wasthe first appearance of the 25-year-old Derry City Track Club on the international stage at a Cerebral Palsy event and followed his victories in both events at the Irish championships last month.

Conor McIlveen breaks the tape to take gold in Nottingham

McIlveen opened with a win in the 400m recording 58.22 seconds, the first time he had been under 59 seconds for the distance. He followed that up with another new best of 26.98 seconds in the 200m to leave the opposition trailing in the distance.

“I had a great ten days in Nottingham at the Cerebral Palsy World Games,” said McIlveen. “I met some amazing people who I will never forget. I’m so proud to have competed for Ireland and run at the highest standard that I possibly could against some great runners and athletes.

“I’d like to thank everyone for their assistance and kind words but I would like to thank especially my parents, Susan and Martin Mcilveen, for their support, listening to my running stories and crabbèd moods and no matter what i wanted to do they stood by me and encouraged me 100%.

“The same for my big brother Mark for not just pushing me towards sports but making me a better person overall. I’d like to thanks all my coaches who has got me to where I am including Declan Doherty, Billy Orr and of course Malcolm McCausland who has helped me become the runner I am today,” concluded McIlveen.

The All-State employee makes an early return to the track tonight (Thursday) when he competes over 800m at the Super Six Meeting in Belfast. With the British championships coming up in September, there is no time to be lost for the Derry’s latest golden boy.

Tonight is the penultimate fixture of the season with only 200m and 800m events on the programme at the Mary Peters Track. Matt Doherty will be looking to improve on his best over the 800m distance where Aaron Carlyle and Andrew Bolster make late seasonal debuts.

Shaun Deery also gets back into competition after a mid season break and Ben Mellon will be looking to improve on his best in the U13 age group. New recruit Brandon Connolly should bring a touch of class to the U15 800m following a new personal mark for the metric mile in Manchester last week.

Lily Toorish leaves the opposition trailing in her wake at the Jog in the Bog
Lily Toorish leaves the opposition trailing in her wake at the Jog in the Bog

Meanwhile 12-year-old Lily Toorish made a quite an impact on the local road running community when she took second place in the women’s section at the Jog in the Bog 5K. The Derry City Track Club starlet had been competing in Manchester just two days earlier but showed no sign of fatigue as she flew to a 20:50 clocking behind winner Martina McMullan.

Derry City Track Club will also be contesting Saturday’s President’s Trophy at the Mary Peters Track which for most will be the final competition of a long but very successful summer season.