Ballymena & Antrim athletes excel in All-Ireland finals

The Ballymena & Antrim Athletic Club under-15 relay team at the All-Ireland finals.

The Ballymena & Antrim Athletic Club under-15 relay team at the All-Ireland finals.

Athletes from Ballymena & Antrim Athletic Club continued their promising start to the season at the recent All-ireland indoor finals.

The competition was held in the impressive Athlone Institute of Technology Arena.

Ballymena & Antrim Athletic Club's under-16 relay team (centre) at the Irish championships in Athlone.

Ballymena & Antrim Athletic Club's under-16 relay team (centre) at the Irish championships in Athlone.

BAAC cemented their place in the very top echelons of the athletics world as they brought home two golds, a silver and a bronze on the first weekend and a gold and two bronzes on the second weekend (relay races).

Both Shane Martin in the U18’s and Katie Ritchie in the U16’s brought back gold in the pole vault.

Lauren Roy ran superbly coming back with a silver medal in the 60m and a very creditable fourth place in the 200m, while Lydia Mills brought home bronze in the U19 long jump.

BAAC took down six boys relay teams with some athletes having to compete up a year as well as in their own event.

The U14’s - featuring two P7 pupils - ran brilliantly and ended up second in their heat but just missed out on qualification for the final by one second.

The U15(4x200m) team is once again a young team for this age group but they started the new season where they left off the old one by turning in a top display to bring home a bronze medal.

It was almost silver as Ronan Campbell, running the anchor leg, almost overhauled the second placed team in the closing moments of the race after some outstanding running by Caleb Moore, James Wright and Jonathan Cochrane.

In for the U-16 (4x200m) heats were Peter Wright, Jonathan Cochrane, Joshua Courtney and Reece McMurray and they duly cruised the team into the finals.

For the final, the coaches introduced fresher legs with Ronan Campbell and Luke Pollock taking the place of Courtney and Cochrane.

Campbell got the team off to a good start and then Peter Wright and Pollock continued the charge to the last changeover where Reece McMurray took the baton. By the last bend Reece was sitting in second position and as the BAAC supporters screamed him on he calmly went past the Doneen competitor and took the win.

Last up were the U18(4x200m) squad and having drafted in pole vaulter Shane Martin the team also had Adam Neilly, Christopher Doherty and Michael McAuley in its ranks.

Doherty brought the baton home in third place just 0.13 seconds behind Lifford AC to grab the club’s third medal of the day.