The junior swimmers from Sliabh Beagh raced to glory making it two division titles in two years winning the Forest Feast Aqua Sprint series Division three title in Dungannon, Co. Tyrone last
Friday night after a sublime three way battle with Alliance & Leander from Belfast.
With Sliabh Beagh going in as strong favourites during the league series meet, which were dual meets during the March to May period the final presented a much greater challenge with three
teams competing, which made scoring much more intriguing and nail-biting.

With mixed relays having such a massive impact on the overall scoring, Sliabh Beagh got off to the perfect start with the U10 Mixed Medley Relay team of Cora McArdle, Evin Casey, Sophie McMullen
& Lucas Coyle getting their hand on the wall to get 1st place & top points, while the Group B team of Rian Lynch, Lexi Ronaghan, Jacob McCabe & Hannah McKenna had a photo-finish ending with Alliance, finishing 2nd . In Group C, Zach Mulligan, Sophia Vergnano, Aoife Mullan and Chullain Rankin got the finish & top points, while in Group D Owen Fitzpatrick, Egan Hearty, Clodagh McCabe & Eabha McMullen had an epic tussle with Leander, just getting pipped by Leander in an exhilarating final relay finish. As everyone caught their breath after the relays, the scores had Sliabh Beagh on 36 points, Alliance on 28 points & Leander on 20 points.

With the first individual event, the 25m Backstroke was up first, with Sliabh Beagh looking to build on their slender Mixed Medley relays start. The individual events scores where per race adding up to 21; a score of 8 meant that each two team swimmers in each race increased their points total per event and having two competing swimmers in age-group finishing as high as possible was the key
focus for swimmers in each race. As the Backstroke kicked off, the Group A’s did their bit with Cora McArdle and Sophie McMullen finishing 1st and 3rd gaining 10 points while Evin Casey and Lucas
Coyle placed 1st and 6th adding another 7 points. In Group B, Hannah McKenna and Lexi Ronaghan finished 1st and 3rd with 10 points, while Rian Lynch and Jacob McCabe combined their 2 nd and 3rd places for 9 points. In Groups C, Sophia Vergnano and Aoife Mullan placed 2nd and 3rd for 9 points with James Corrigan and Chullian Rankin finishing 1st and 5th for 7 points. In Group D, Clodagh McCabe and Eabha McMullen positioned 3rd and 5th for 6 points with Owen Fitzpatrick and Egan Hearty 3rd and 4th for 7points. Scores gained from the Backstroke where Sliabh Beagh 66 points, Alliance and Leander both on 51 points, taking the overall points tally for Sliabh Beagh 102 points, Alliance 79 points and Leander 71 points.

The 25m Breaststroke was just as exciting as the Backstroke, with the Sliabh Beagh Group A swimmers of Cora McArdle and Sienna Ronaghan finishing 2nd and 5th while Evin Casey and Killian
McKenna placed 1st and 6th, gaining 7 points each in this age-group. In Group B, Hannah McKenna and Lexi Ronaghan placed 1st and 3rd for 10points with Jacob McCabe and Hugh Connolly finishing
2nd and 5th gaining 7 points. In Group C, Sophia Vergnano and Grace May Davies finished 1st and 5th for 8 points while Chullain Rankin and Zach Mulligan placed 3rd and 4th for 7 points. In Group D, the stakes were very high with some very competitive fast finishes. Eabha McMullen and Clodagh McCabe gained 7points for 3rd and 4th places finishes, while Owen Fitzpatrick and Egan Hearty
placed 3rd and 5th for 6 points. The points taken for Breaststroke where Sliabh Beagh 59, Alliance 55 and Leander 54 bringing the overall scores to Sliabh Beagh 161, Alliance 134 and Leander 125.
The third individual event was the 25m Butterfly which proved to be a decisive event for Sliabh Beagh, culminating their equal best scoring event, tallying 66 points to Alliance’s 48 and Leander’s
54. With top points and 1st place finishes being achieved by Cora McArdle, Evin Casey, Hannah McKenna and Jacob McCabe; the supporting cast of Sophie McMullen, Killian McKenna, Lexi
Ronaghan, Rian Lynch, Sophia Vergnano, Aoife Mullan, Zach Mulligan, Chullian Rankin, Clodagh McCabe, Eabha McMullen, Owen Fitzpatrick and Egan Hearty all contributed critical points to the overall scores. After the Butterfly Sliabh Beagh extended their lead to 227points, Alliance 182 points and Leander 179 points with the battle for second place really heating up between the two Belfast teams!

The 25m Freestyle was the last individual event and much like the Butterfly proved to be a significant event with Sliabh Beagh gaining 66 points, Alliance with 56 points and Leander 46 points.
With 1st place finishes hard earned throughout the meet, team depth and racing skills proved crucial to the Sliabh Beagh performances. So far we had achieved 1st place finishes in the Freestyle by Cora McArdle in Group A and Owen Fitzpatrick in Group D. In the Freestyle, the depth of Sliabh Beagh’s best placed and second placed swimmers contributed critically to the event scoring with Sophie McMullen, Evin Casey, Lucas Coyle, Hannah McKenna, Lexi Ronaghan, Hugh Connolly, Jacob McCabe, Sophia Vergnano, Aoife Mullan, James Corrigan, Zach Mulligan, Eabha McMullen, Clodagh McCabe and Egan Hearty all ensuring Sliabh Beagh kept well ahead going into the last event of the night, the Mixed Freestyle relays. After the Freestyle, the total scores read Sliabh Beagh 293 points, Alliance 238 points and Leander 225 points. With the Mixed Freestyle relays concluding the Division 3 Final, Sliabh Beagh had an amazing finish to the meet winning three out of four events with the Group A team of Cora McArdle, Sophie
McMullen, Evin Casey and Lucas Coyle; and the Group B team of Jacob McCabe, Hugh Connolly, Lexi Ronaghan and Hannah McKenna taking top points. In Group C, Zach Mulligan, Chullain
Rankin, Sophia Vergnano and Aoife Mulan fought hard with their place finish while in Group D, Owen Fitzpatrick, Egan Hearty, Clodagh McCabe and Eabha McMullen ensured an electrifying
finish to the meet sealing the top points in Group D. With the Mixed Relay points reading Sliabh Beagh 36, Alliance 28 and Leander 20, the overall scoring in the end had Sliabh Beagh 329 points,
Alliance 266 points and Leander 245 points, with the top finishing team celebrating the result and performances with gracious cheers and sporting respect to the others competing on the night.
With all the competing teams receiving their final podium medals, Sliabh Beagh’s Team Captain’s Clodagh McCabe and Owen Fitzpatrick received the Division 3 trophy from the Aqua Series sponsor representing Forest Feast and Swim Ulster representatives on the night, the Sliabh Beagh team enjoyed some quality time together as a team celebrating their achievement in the Final.
The Sliabh Beagh Team on the night included – Sienna Ronaghan, Katie Farrell, Cora McCardle, Thomas Deery, Lucas Coyle, Killian McKenna, Evin Casey, Ciara Gillanders, Saoirse Breen, Lexi
Ronaghan, Hannah McKenna, Nathan McQuillan, Jacob McCabe, Rian Lynch, Hugh Connolly, Gracie May Davies, Aoife Mullan, Ellen Casey, Sophia Vergnano, James Corrigan, Eli Mohan, Zach
Mulligan, Chullain Rankin, Clodagh Connolly, Lily Deery, Eabha McMullen, Clodagh McCabe, Colm Duffy, Daihi Lynch, Egan Hearty & Owen Fitzpatrick.
With Sliabh Beagh now being promoted to Division Two for 2025, the team’s focus will now restart with the planning and preparation to be competitive at the higher level.

Behind the team performances, sincere thanks must be given to the support team of, coaches, club officials as well as the parents who have bought into the club’s ambitions to embrace the standards set by the coaching team, to be competitive and really enjoy these extra special occasions.