25 October 2018


Athletics Northern Ireland will host the Northern Ireland & Ulster Even Age Group Cross Country Championships and the Bobby Rea Cross Country at CAFRE Greenmount Campus, Antrim, this weekend (Saturday 27th October 2018).

Action kicks off at 11:15am with the Under 10 1,000m race and culminate at 3pm with the Senior and Masters Men's 8,000m event. In total, over one thousand athletes will take to the start line in what should be an excellent day of competition at the former IAAF Antrim International XC venue.

After the first round of the Athletics NI XC League 2018/19 at the Comber XC last week, North Belfast Harriers and North Down AC are the early leaders in their respective male and female tables.

Both teams will be well represented in the Bobby Rea XC races, with John Black, a podium finisher at last week's league opener leading the line for North Belfast Harriers and Sarah Grant, runner up in the ladies' race in Comber, part of a sizeable North Down AC contingent.

In the men's 8,000m, NI & Ulster Intermediate XC Champion Craig McMeechan will play a prominent part in proceedings. The young Northern Ireland and Ireland international excels over the country and will contest top honours alongside the aforementioned John Black, Willowfield Harriers Neill Weir and Foyle Valley AC's Chris McGuinness.

Neill and Chris will also have strong backing in terms of squad depth for the team prize, with their respective club fielding big numbers. Victoria Park & Connswater AC and North Down AC will also feature in the team competition.

Shalene McMurray (Newcastle AC), winner of last weeks Comber XC, will start as favourite in the Ladies 6,000m race. The Newcastle AC athlete, who won both the NI & Ulster Senior and Intermediate XC titles in 2017, will face some tough opposition. This includes Rebecca Henderson and Sinead Sweeney, two members of the QUB AC NI & Ulster Road Relay Championships winning team.

Rebekah Nixon (Dromore AC), Catherine Diver (Beechmount Harriers) and Fermanagh's Edel Monaghan (Dublin City Harriers) will also challenge for podium places.

On the day entry is available for senior and master's races on race day at Race HQ within CAFRE Campus Hall from 1pm.

The preceding junior races will build things nicely, with an abundance of up and coming talent due to compete.

The Under 10 athletes will get their first experience of Championship competition, while from Under 12 upwards, the competitors will not only battle it out for medals, but also for places at the All Ireland XC; the top twelve in each race will gain automatic selection for the event.

In the Under 12 category, Clara Casey (City of Derry AC), Anna Hogg (Lagan Valley AC) and Zara Donnelly from the Flahavans XC Squad will be amongst those chasing honours. In the boy's race, Luke McCausland (City of Lisburn AC), Coalan McFadden (Cranford AC) and Daniel McLornan (Flahavans XC Squad) should be in the mix for a podium place.

East Down AC trio Lauren Madine, Kirsti Foster and Lucy Foster will compete in the Under 14 category alongside Katie McCleery (City of Lisburn AC), while in the boy's event, City of Derry AC duo Oisin Duffy and Finn O'Neill will challenge at the front.

Under 15 Champion in 2017, Cara Laverty (City of Derry AC), will race in the Under 16 girls race and will have Sarah Bradley (Finn Valley AC), Hannah Cochrane (Lagan Valley AC) and Amy Greene (Rosses AC) for company. Sean M McGinley (Olympian YC) and Dylan McBride (Willowfield Harriers) should contest the boys race. Oisin Toye (Finn Valley AC) will also place well.

In the Under 18 event, Rebecca Wallace (Lagan Valley AC) should play a part at the front alongside Katie Agnew (Ballymena & Antrim AC), Bethany Nixon (Dromore AC) Karen Gallagher (Finn Valley AC) and Jessica Scott (North Down AC). The boy's race will see St Malachy's AC men Conall McClean and Adam Ferris battle it out with North Down AC's Alex Boyd and Omagh Harriers Matthew Smith, amongst others.

Full details, including timetable and course map, are available HERE.