ATHLETICS: Aaron Sexton and Conall Kirk follow in family footsteps on path to gold

Aaron Sexton.
Aaron Sexton.

Aaron Sexton and Conall Kirk clinched titles at the Northern Ireland and Ulster Senior Track and Field Championships - some three decades after their fathers had won the same events.

Sexton, fresh from his Irish Schools double, took the 100m prize at the Mary Peters Track in a blanket finish with Jason Smyth, who led for most of the distance.

Both had the same time of 10.69 into a 2.1m headwind. Aaron’s father Roger had won the same race in the 1980s.

Kirk led all the way to take the 800m in a best of 1 minute 50. His father, Mark, had also been a gold winner.

Kelly Neely won the women’s 800m, with Emma Mitchell stepping down in distance to take the 1500m.

Neil Johnston won the men’s race.

The 5000m class proved entertaining - with Conor Bradley just winning the men’s title from Conor Duffy and Jessica Craig leading Laura Graham in the ladies.

Davicia Patterson, like Sexton a probable for the World Juniors in Finland, moved away from her normal 400m to win the 200m in 24.75 after running a best of 24.62 in her semi-final.

Hayley Murray retained the hammer with 57.96, Ellen McCartney took the pole vault, with Adam McMullan close to his best with 7.79 for long jump gold. Gareth Crawford had another best of 64.31 when placing second to Jack Magee in the javelin.

Julie Murphy proved commanding to win the 7th Steelweld Stunnerz n Runnerz 5 miles Road Race, promoted by Sperrin Harriers at Magherafelt.

There were almost 300 entries for the women-only race as Lagan Valley’s Murphy defeated Elaine Connor from Derry Track Club before the Acorns pair of Leanne Sands and Lisa Simpson, plus Greencastle’s Olivia Mullan.

Stephen Scullion moved to number two on the all-time Northern Ireland 10,000m list - behind Dermot Donnelly - when he ran 28:36 in Portland, Oregon.