At a very windy NWTC 5K yesterday Spartans again were a dominant force as they claimed the first 4 positions. Odhran McKane who has just returned to action following a break after an exhausting triathlon season underlined his talent as he had a runaway victory in 17.12. Mark Mullan returned to action after a lengthy layoff to claim 2nd in 17.38. Another young gun Luke McCarron claimed a podium finish running 17.49 in the process showing a glimpse of his talent. New recruit Conor McDowell made it a 1-4 as he posted 18.42 for a impressive outing. Emmett Deery finished 6th just outside 19mins as the Spartans stamped home some more authority on an already successful weekend. Well done to all!
MORE SUCCESS FOR SPARTANS THIS WEEKEND
On Saturday 7th November Spartan Conor Bradley traveled to Milton Keynes for a XC race of high quality ahead of the national XC in Santry in a fortnight. Bradley performed well and was said to be happy with his 14th place finish just behind Kevin Maunsell 12th Brian Maher 13th and ahead of Brandon Hardreaves 14th Darragh Rennicks 25th and Ciaran Doherty in 29th. A big well done to him!
Meanwhile Spartan Cathal Logue was in action in Spain winning a 4k race in Madrid to keep the Spartan Flag going in Spain. Logue ran 13.04 to win the Race of the Children- la carrera de los ninos. Well done Cathal.
CARA’s GOLD PUTS SHINE ON LOCAL PERFORMANCES AT BALLYBOFEY
Ballybofey staged the NI &Ulster Uneven Age Group championships and the Provincial Novice championships on Sunday and in difficult conditions there was some big local performances on view. City of Derry’s Cara Laverty was an U13 Girls gold medallist, adding to her recent U12 win, with another very impressive front running display. The Thornhill student is a rare talent and will be in Dublin in just over a week’s time to shoot for All Ireland U12 championship honours, her performance will be eagerly awaited.
At U17 Boys level there was another big run from Fintan Stewart, runner up to Beechmount Harriers winner Christy Conlon in a race where the top four finishers were separated by a mere seven seconds.
Oisin Colhoun, recent winner of the local Flavahan’s Primary Schools League race at Thornhill ran well for a Boys U11 bronze medal, another tight finish here with just three seconds covering the three medallists.Well done to the young Spartans trio!
County team medals were won by Caoimhe Walsh in the Girls U17, team silver, and team bronze at Girls U11 by Jessica Bradley, Eva Ferguson, Sarah casey, Sophia Byrne, Veronica O’Neill and Dara McCahill.
In the Novice championships Foyle Valley came home with team bronze in both the Male and Female championship races and Derry City track Club’s Amy McDaid was a good silver medallist in the Women’s individual race. Her clubmate Hannah McGowan finished fifth!
Martin Gallagher in fifth led the Foyle Valley Novice Men with support from Roy McGilloway 7th, Matthew McLaughlin 12th and Jonathan Canning 20th as St Malachys and Finn Valley took the top team awards. Gemma Mahon’s seventh place finish spurred the Valley women to bronze, pipping Acorns AC by one point. Deirdre Shields 11th, Orla Moran 18th and Rachel Doherty 24th completed the local women’s scoring quartet. Finn Valley and Inishowen AC claimed gold and silver.
SPARTANS RECLAIM McCONNELL SHIELD IN BALLYCLARE
It was a busy and rewarding weekend for local clubs with quality Cross Country action from Under Age to Masters in Ballyclare and Ballybofey and podium places for athletes from City of Derry Spartans, Foyle Valley and Derry City Track club.
The McConnell Shield meeting in Ballyclare on Saturday saw the Foyle Valley and Spartans men’s squads go head to head in the feature 5 miler with the Spartans emerging comfortable winners in the four to score team race, as they posted their second successive win of the new season after their Bobby Rea Memorial win a few weeks earlier in Jordanstown.
In a huge field recent Dessies Run winner Paddy Hamilton of Slieve Gullion Harriers took the individual win ahead of Declan Reed after a fierce battle, but the Spartan had excellent support from Aaron Doherty 5th, Allan Bogle 9th and teenager Michael Melarkey 23rd as the red vests packed superbly to bring home the coveted McConnell Shield they last won in 2013.
Scott Rankin as ever led the Foyle Valley challenge in 7th, Chris McGuinness was 12th, Pius McInyre 14th and a resurgent Keith Shields 18th to give the purple vests the runners up spot with North Belfast Harriers and Newcastle AC completing the top four teams.
This was the third race of the popular NI XC League and Derry clubs have won all three team contests to date, Foyle Valley taking the Comber Cup honours in early October. The Valley boys however continue to top the League table, their consistent efforts so far giving them a cushion over Newcastle who lost a little ground with their fourth place finish on Saturday.The red vests added to their points tally but have made it clear the League is not a priority for them this season and they will dip in and out as their season targets dictate.
in the Women’s race Catherine Whoriskey made her seasonal XC debut with an impressive fifth place finish and led a below strength Spartans squad to a fourth place finish behind Newcastle, Ballymena Runners and North Down, with League pacesetters Foyle Valley also minus a few bodies, pipped by Ballydrain to take sixth spot. With the updated League positions yet to be publicised it looks like Foyle Valley are joined at the top now by Ballydrain and North Down.
Good efforts from the Valley’s Martina McMullan 18th and Sarah Lindsay 26th and for the Spartans Catherine Whoriskey was backed up by Hannah Shields 23rd, Janeen Leese 32nd and Ciara Fraser 55th. Roisin Lynch warmed up for this weekend’s Masters International in Dublin with an emphatic F65 win and Catherine Moran was the leading F55.
In the Male Masters Peter Lilburn and Springwell’s Gerry O’Doherty had another battle for the M60 supremacy with the county Derry man eking out a narrow five second victory and Gerry Lynch cruised to an unchallenged M70 victory in some style, beating all but the aforementioned duo in the combined M60, M65 and M70 3 Miler, run alongside the Women’s race- looking good for Dublin this weekend!
Any photos used are credited to our own runners, Ryan@NiRunning, Mark Ramsey, Chistine and David O’Brien!