Bailey and Davison Star in Bangor as McCullagh International Comes to a Close

The curtain came down on the 2024 McCullagh International tonight with Evan Bailey and Grace Davison starring in Bangor, both setting Irish Junior Records on the final night of competition.

Evan Bailey continued his charge on the Irish Record books, breaking the 50 Butterfly Junior Record twice on Sunday. During the heats, Bailey went 24.60 to beat a six-year-old time of 24.71; the New Ross swimmer was back on the blocks this evening to drop the record further to 24.49. In the same race, Brogan Hyde (Stirling) went 24.34 to win gold, with bronze going to Hyde’s teammate, Salvador Gordo (25.23).

Grace Davison was another highlight of the final evening in Bangor. The Ards swimmer, on her way to bronze, broke her own 100m Freestyle Junior Record of 56.62 in 56.13 in an electric race against Danielle Hill (Larne) and Victoria Catterson (National Centre Dublin). Hill was first to stop the clock, claiming gold in 55.44; close to her senior record of 54.87. While the silver medal was claimed by Catterson in 55.93.

The gruelling 1500 Freestyle got the final evening of the 2024 McCullagh International underway with Rebekah Friel of Trojan coming home first (17:29.83). Mary Lily Doyle (Kingdom) was next to touch the wall to take silver in 17:36.47 with bronze going to Holly McInerney (17:36.47) of Templeogue. Sorcha NiRiain finished second in her age group to achieve the criteria to be considered for the European Open Water Junior Championships.

There was a clean sweep for National Centre Limerick in the Men’s 400 Freestyle as Finn McGeever topped the podium, going under the four-minute mark  in 3:57.11. A mere .08 of a second separated silver and bronze; Cormac Rynn (4:02.16) pipped Denis O’Brien (4:02.24) to second place and silver. O’Brien’s time was under the European Junior consideration time of 4:03.36.

National Centre (Limerick) swimmer John Shortt continued his dominance in the backstroke events, completing a hat trick of gold medals with a win in the 100m Final. This time Shortt went a personal best 55.22 to win his third gold. The silver medal wasn’t going far as Brydan Byrne (Bangor) went 57.56, while bronze was claimed by Dolphin swimmer Charlie Cassidy (58.05).

As we reached the halfway point of the final night in Bangor, the fast racing showed no signs of slowing down as Ellen Walshe (Templeogue) cruised to the 400m Individual Medley gold medal in 4:41.99, her third fastest time ever in the event. Another Dublin swimmer joined Walshe on the podium, as Trojan’s Rebekah Friel clocked 5:05.98, third and bronze went to Hannah O’Connor (5:09.58) of Limerick.

Jack Cassin added a second gold medal to his tally as the National Centre (Limerick) swimmer went 2:05.01 to win gold in the 200m Individual Medley. National Centre (Ulster) teammates Matthew Hand and Adam Colgan battled it out for silver, Hand (2:10.21) touching ahead of Colgan (2:10.68).

Alana Burns-Atkin of Banbridge was first to touch the wall in the 200m Butterfly Final in 2:16.21, Burns-Atkin concluded a good meet, which saw her hit a consideration time for the European Juniors earlier in the week. New Ross’ Eva Bayley went 2:27.70 to win silver, bronze going to Georgina Walker (Banbridge) in 2:29.07.

The women’s 50m Breaststroke brought the 2024 McCullagh to a close as Isabel Kidney of Sundays Well was first home in 32.64, Olwyn Cooke (Limerick) added a second silver to her week, clocking 32.97, with bronze going to Megan Jones (Portmarnock) in 33.11.

During this afternoon’s time trials, Adam Bradley (Bangor), swimming in his home pool, posted 1:04.36 in the 100m Breaststroke to go under the consideration time of 1:04.59 for the European Aquatics Junior Championships.

Earlier today Ards were crowned national relay champions in the Women’s 4x100m Medley, Grace Davison, Keira Aiken, Zophia Quigley, and Megan Diamond clocked a combined 4:26.53, Ards adding to their 4x100m and 4x200m Freestyle golds earlier in the meet. Sundays Well came home in second (4:27.95) with bronze going to Banbridge in 4:36.47.

Larne’s Conor Ferguson, Morgan Berryman, David Leggett, and Thomas Leggett came home in 3:50.56 to win the 4x100m Medley Relay national gold. Cork club Dolphin claimed silver in a time of 3:55.32 and bronze went to Lisburn (3:59.62).

The first age group medal of the evening went to in-form Trojan swimmer Baltazar Allende in boy’s 400m Freestyle Final in 4:15.55. Allende was back on the blocks later in the evening to claim another gold medal, this time going 2:16.73 on his way to gold in the 200m Individual Medley. Shortly after, another Trojan swimmer was top of the podium, this time it was Georgia May Agnew, claiming gold in 1:02.46 in the 100m Freestyle. Tallaght swimmer Radu Pamfil was first home in the Boy’s 100m Backstroke in 1:07.49. The girl’s 400m Medley gold went to New Ross’ Laura Csarodai-Nagy in 5:24.55. Fiona Weng (Tallaght) was first home in the 200m Butterfly in a time of 2:40.78.

Following the conclusion of the 2024 McCullagh International, Head of Performance Pathways and Operations, Andrew Reid said: “The McCullagh International Meet allowed our junior athletes to shine and challenge for places on our European Junior Pool and Open Water teams. We are delighted that ten pool swimmers and seven open water swimmers achieved the criteria to be considered for selection.  If selected, these athletes will be aiming to improve on their performances in July in Lithuania and Austria respectively. Congratulations to them and their home programme coaches, and we are looking forward to working with them during their preparations.”

Next for Irish swimmers will be the Irish Open Championships and Olympic Trials at the Sport Ireland National Aquatic Centre from May 22nd to 26th. This will be a final opportunity for Irish swimmers to add their names to the list of those who will be considered for the Paris 2024 Olympic Games. Currently, three swimmers, Daniel Wiffen, Ellen Walshe and Mona McSharry have achieved the Olympic Qualification Time, while both the Women’s and Men’s 4x100m Medley Relays are within qualification places.

2024 European Aquatics Junior Swimming Championships in Vilnius, Lithuania, July 2nd – 7th 

(The junior summer benchmark meet for athletes of this age banding)

Grace Davison (50m, 100m Freestyle, 200m IM) Ards ASC, John Shortt (200m Backstroke) National Centre Limerick, Niamh Connery (100m Breaststroke, 200 Breaststroke) Shark SC (Galway), Ava Jones (100m Breaststroke) Portmarnock SC, Alana Burns Atkin (100m Butterfly) Banbridge SC, Reuben Alty (100m Freestyle, 200 Freestyle) Larne SC, Matthew Hamilton (50m Freestyle) Lisburn, Brydan Byrne (200m Backstroke) Bangor, Sean Donnellan (200m Butterfly) Glenalbyn, Adam Bradley (100m Breaststroke) Bangor, Denis O’Brien (400m Freestyle) National Centre Limerick


2024 European Aquatics Junior Open Water Swimming Championships in Vienna, Austria, July 12th – 14th

(The junior summer benchmark meet for athletes of this age banding)

Ronan Fahey Trojan SC, Tadgh O’Brien Dolphin SC, Daragh Horgan National Centre Limerick, Ella Carroll National Centre Limerick, Abby Cunningham Kilkenny SC, Denis O’Brien National Centre Limerick, Sorcha Ni Riain Limerick