Doha- 25th October 2015

                                                               LOCALS SHINE IN DOHA
Another rewarding weekend for local athletes with Jason Smyth retaining his 100 metres title at the IPC World Championships in Doha and local clubs also producing a series of excellent performances at Saturday’s Bobby Rea XC meeting in Jordanstown with significant Juvenile and Senior efforts, particularly Cara Laverty’s Girls U14 individual win and her City of Derry Spartans senior men’s squad lifting the Bobby Rea team trophy.The Eglinton Express was a comfortable short sprint winner in Doha with a tasty 10.63s 100 metres victory and looks good to go into 2016 as still the man to beat in Paralympian completion. He has of course run faster this summer but with a recent injury and surgery history he will be pleased to have done the business in Doha and can now think about preparing for next year and the Olympics in Rio.Meanwhile in Jordanstown on Saturday local runners impressed at the NI&Ulster Juvenile XC championships and the Bobby Rea races.
Cara Laverty  was a superb winner of the Girls U14 championship race and led her Spartans squad of Aela Stewart, Grace Flynn Paige and Aishling Walsh to club silver behind Lagan Valley and ahead of City of Lisburn. A terrific performance in a very competitive age group and they now go on to the All Irelands in Dublin next month.The red vests Boys U10 squad also claimed team silver, led home by 8th placed Eunan Bonner with good support from Cillian O’Neill, Louis Cole, Caoimhan Hargan,  Diarmuid Quinn, Eoghan Reynolds and Cameron Smith. A good showing for this young squad who were delighted with their Provincial medals in their first real taste of competitive action!Oisin Colhoun was a close up 4th in the Boys U12 race for City of Derry and lily Toorish of Derry City Track Club did well for 6th in the Girls U14 race. Fintan Stewart once again showed his class with an excellent third place in a classy Boys U18 race and will be Dublin bound next month and Mary Cait Byrne, Caoimhe Walsh and Eimer Stewart contributed to the Derry medals in the Inter County Girls U16 competition.

At the other end of the age spectrum Peter Lilburn once again chased home Springwell’s in form Gerry O’Doherty in the Male Masters 60+ race as the top three M60 finishers from the previous weekend’s Masters Open XC, O’Doherty, Lilburn and Jim Newberry of NBH, continued their ongoing battle for dominance.

Young Spartans on the Move in NI & Ulster Championships and Success in Bobby Rae for Seniors- 24th October 2015

Great efforts at Jordanstown in the NI&Ulster Even Age Group XC championships by our talented Juvenile runners!


Girls U 14 individual gold for Cara Laverty and U18 Boys individual bronze for Fintan Stewart.

Congrats also to Girls U14 team, Silver Medallists; Cara Laverty, Aisling Walsh,  Grace Flynn Page, Aela Stewart, Katie Devlin, Connie O’Brien, Mollie McGinley, Emily Neill and Eimear Hegarty.

Chliodhna (U12) and Eabha (U10) jordanstown 2015

Smiling Sparta Sisters Chliodhna (U12) and Eabha (U10) Mc Elhinney in Jordanstown

Boys U10 team , Silver Medallists!!!!

One of our U12 boys Oisin Colhoun,came 4th overall, same lad who won schools XC at Thornhill last week.

oisin colhoun u12 4th jordanstown 2015

Our senior mens squad made a big statement by winning the Bobby Rea XC team race in Jordanstown .


                                                         SLEVIN LEADS SPARTANS TO TEAM SUCCESS
Gary Slevin made a surprise return to cross country on Saturday to lead a feisty Spartans mens squad to an unexpected win in the featured Bobby Rea senior race. Slevin has concentrated on the road for some time now but showed his ability with a gutsy run for 10th place and led clubmates Chris McPeake 13th and Noel Logan 17th, to team victory ahead of Newcastle AC and local rivals Foyle Valley who had Scott Rankin on the individual podium with a third place finish.The Bobby Rea race has an unusual three to score format and with a four to score format in ANI Winter League races, the Spartans also took maximum League points from Saturday as Dermot McElhinney finished 20th to secure the League team win, ahead of Foyle Valley who reversed places with Newcastle. Adrian McGowan 19th,  Martin Gallagher33rd and Roy McGilloway 35th, combined with Rankin to push the Valley in front and retain their lead in this early stage of the League campaign.
Other local runners at the sharp end were DCTC’s Connor Doherty 21st and Kyle Doherty 22nd in a back up role for the Spartans.
The Foyle Valley women kept up their challenge for League honours with top 20 places from leading duo Martina McMullan and Sarah Lindsay, backed up by Gemma McGinty and Deirdre Shields. They were third team in the Bobby Rea standings but jumped to second behind North Down in the League format.

Great packing by the squad……Gary Slevin 10th, Chris McPeake 13th, and Noel Logan 17th combined well in the 3 to score team success; Spartans 40 points, Newcastle 47, Foyle Valley 55 (Scott Rankin 3rd overall), Acorns 79.

Its 4 to score in the XC League format and we duly recorded our first win with Dermot McElhinney 20th as we finished comfortably ahead of Valley, Newcastle and Acorns in the League format.

Kyle Doherty 22nd, Peter Melarkey 46th, James Crampsey 63rd and Rob Stewart 91st in the big field, completed our squad!

Peter Lilburn had a good one in the Masters race, runner up to Springwell’s Gerry O’Doherty and ahead of NBH’s Jim Newberry as the three M60′s fought out a good battle.

 bobby rae winning team 2015

Well done to everyone!

Masters in Belfast and Dublin-18th October 2015

A good show North and South for our Masters runners in Belfast and Dublin. A beautiful weekend for racing at both venues!!


Confirmed in NI squads for International XC in Santry on Sat 14th November are:
M45 Dermot McElhinney

M60 Peter Lilburn

M70 Gerry Lynch

F45 Jackie McMonagle

F50 Hannah Shields

F55 Una Gavin

Claire Connor is named Reserve in F50 squad.


In Ireland squad definite is:

F65 Roisin Lynch and Arnie’s 6th place age group finish should see him get the nod in M35 category.

Declan Reed is also expected to get the selector’s approval for the Irish M40 squad.

Other locals, Chris McGuinness is on the NI M35 squad and Cathal McLaughlin has been named in the M45 squad.


Well Done to all and good luck in Dublin next month.

Cross Country and Primary Schools Running- 15th October 2015

 BIG XC WEEKEND FOR LOCAL MASTERS AND PRIMARY SCHOOL RUNNERSCross country action at both ends of the age spectrum will see local Primary Schools runners at Thornhill College today for the opening round of the Flavahans Primary Schools XC League while tomorrow and Sunday, in Belfast and Dublin,Masters athletes will seek places on the NI and the Ireland squads for next months Masters International XC scheduled for Santry.

The three race Primary Schools meeting in Thornhill starts at 12 noon with separate races for Boys and Girls and also an Open race for those not selected on their respective Schools squads. Another big turnout is expected for this very popular annual three round  League and the 205–16 contingent will be seeking to continue the high standards set in previous years, as talented young local runners blazed a successful trail right to the NI finals.

The weekend days bring Masters athletics to the fore with the NI trial races tomorrow at the Queens University Malone grounds and the Irish trials on Sunday in the Santry grounds. Local Masters have a proud record at the trials and indeed have contributed significantly to the success of both squads down the years. Runners from City of Derry Spartans, Derry City Track Club and Foyle Valley will be in action over the weekend and selection across the board is expected.

Foyle Valley’s in form Chris McGuinness could go well in the M35 age group, Keith Shields could make his competitive return and Martina McMullan may be a contender in the F45 age category. DCTC’s  Cathal McLaughlin and Malcolm McCausland could challenge in the M45 and M60 groups, as could the Spartans Dermot McElhinney and Peter Lilburn.  Jackie McMonagle and Hannah Shields will fancy their chances in their age categories and Roisin Lynch should be favoured in the F65 group in the Dublin trial.
Several others will line up or anticipate pre selection, Declan Reed and Pauric McKinney may get the green light for the Irish M40 and M50 squads, but one man missing due to a knee problem will be Christy McMonagle in the M70′s. Gerry Lynch is expected to make his annual competitive re appearance, as a first time M70 and will be hopeful of doing well in Belfast tomorrow.

Comber XC- 10th October

                                                         TOP RANKIN FOR SCOTT AND FOYLE VALLEY AT COMBER XC

Foyle Valley runners flew the local flag successfully over the weekend with Scott Rankin third overall , leading the Valley boys to a terrific Comber Cup cross country team victory on the opening day of the new season at the county Down venue on Saturday last.

A very competitive 8K race on the testing Comber course saw North Belfast’s Mark McKinstry take the individual honours, six seconds clear of Willowfield’s Brian Campbell with Rankin third a further four seconds adrift. Backed up by fifth placed Chris McGuinness, Adrian McGowan 12th, Matt McLaughlin 29th, Martin Gallagher 31st and Setphen Connor 33rd, the purple vests were too good for the North Belfast, Newcastle and North Down squads who chased them home.

Martina McMullan 13th overall in the combined Women / Male Masters 60+ race, had a good run, second F45 behind Debbie Matchett of the promoting club Ballydrain Harriers, and led home Gemma McGinty 25th and the returning Sarah Lindsay 26th at the sharp end for Foyle Valley.

Cross country action continues this week with locally , the first of the Flavahan’s Primary Schools League races, in the Thornhill College grounds on Friday and on Saturday its the NI Masters selection race in Belfast and on Sunday Dublin is the venue for places in the Irish squads for next month’s International cross country . Interestingly Sunday’s Santry venue will also host the Masters International come November 14th and lets hope that significant numbers of local Masters from 35+ to 70+ will there.
A busy weekend indeed for many local runners as cross country action becomes an integral part of the athletics calendar for the next four months or so.