Derry Track Club athletes continued to make an impact at national level with a haul of three gold, four silver and one bronze medal at the Irish National Masters’ Track & Field Championships in Tullamore.
Deirdre Haigney marked a successful comeback to the track with a sparkling victory in the F40 400m (66.22) after picking up a silver medal in the 200m (29.35) earlier in the afternoon.
The Omagh dentist had been a talented Junior but found her athletics had to take a back seat to her career and four children.
Now back with a fresh zeal, Deirdre looks set to make a big impact in Masters’ athletics with next year’s Europeans in Denmark possibly being among her targets for 2017.
Robert Bigger went about his work in his usual business-like fashion. His sit and kick tactics paid dividends in the M55 800m with a comfortable victory in 2:29.19.
Later he applied the same modus operandi in the 1500m but came up just short with a second place in 4:48.80.
Cathal McLaughlin made it three gold medals for DTC with another cold-blooded execution of the opposition in the M45 1500m (4:27.20). The Terminator stalked his prey for three laps before switching into assassin mode and moving to the front of the field.
A challenge from Philip Tweedie on the homestraight was quickly dealt with as Cathal made it four consecutive victories in the race.
Richie Kelly made a memorable debut in the championships at a youthful 75 years of age. The former sports journalist turned writer opened his account taking the silver medal in the 100m (19.00) by a mere hundredth of a second.
Not prepared to rest on his laurels, Richie was back in action later in the afternoon competing in the 400m . Another runner-up spot was a fitting reward for a man who should be an inspiration to everyone.
Marina Campbell showed she is getting back to her best after the birth of her first child with an impressive third place in the F35 3000m (10:52.67).
The Kilfennan woman was always in the leading group and a personal best augurs well for the winter season ahead.
David Mellon was also impressive on his debut in national Masters’ athletics. Going from rank novice to taking a medal at the NI Masters’ and then competing at this level in less than two years is a credit to David’s commitment and discipline. He will go on from here.
With the late withdrawal of a key member of the 4 x 400m, Robert Bigger had to step into the breach with a fine opening leg to keep DTC in touch.
Running against opposition 20 years younger than him, Robert handed over just two seconds behind city rivals Spartans.
That soon changed as the doyen of DTC’s one-lappers Tim Shiels screeched around the track in 53.4 seconds to drag the squad up to second spot.
Cathal McLaughlin kept DTC still in the hunt for medals with another solid leg before a gallant Gary McGee was rundown by defending champions An Ríocht for the bronze medals.
Nevertheless local bragging rights were easily maintained as the DTC squad came home almost five seconds ahead of their neighbours despite giving away almost 40 years in total over the squad.