Spartans Team Race Double in Gransha
17 December 2019
The cold, windy and sometimes wet conditions at Saturday's North West Cross Country in Gransha saw Springwell Running Club's Neil Johnston and North Down AC's Rachel Gibson deliver emphatic individual wins in the featured Open 6K race as promoting club City of Derry Spartans were equally emphatic male and female team race winners bagging the Bobby Farren Senior and Brendan Duddy Senior Perpetual Cups respectively.
Rachel Gibson, who is currently teaching in the city's Thornhill College, was always in command and finished 42 seconds clear of club-mate Katie Moore with Armagh AC's Natalie Hall a further 21 seconds in arrears in third place. Despite that impressive start it was the local Spartans quartet of Angeline McShane 4th, Cara Laverty 5th, Amy Jackson 6th and Jackie McMonagle 9th , who raced to an easy team victory ahead of North Belfast Harriers, North Down and Armagh AC.
Neil Johnston was always prominent in a leading five-strong group, with defending champion North Belfast Harrier's Mark McKinstry, Craig McMeechan of North Down AC and local duo Declan Reed and Allan Bogle. Bogle and then Reed dropped off the pace as Johnston and McKinstry upped the tempo before Johnston made the winning move on the final lap to grind out a 21 second win from McKinstry who just held off the fast finishing McMeechan.
The Spartans packed well in the 6 to score team race, with Reed 4th, Bogle 5th, Sean Melarkey 11th, Emmett McGinty 12th, Noel Logan 17th and 15 year old Daniel Devenney scoring on his first senior team 28th, to seal the deal comfortably clear of Foyle Valley, led home by Marty Gallagher in 7th, and followed by North Down AC, Willowfield Harriers and Springwell Running Club.
Written by Gerry Lynch
Elsewhere this weekend…
Junior athletes from across Northern Ireland and Ulster took part in the All Ireland Juvenile Uneven Age Group Championships at Cow Park, Dunboyne.
In the U11 competition, Shercock AC’s Erelle O’Sullivan took home the bronze medal in the girl’s event, while Rosses AC’s Leighton Green came 4th in the boy’s race. Ulster claimed 3rd place in the Girls Regional competition with a total of 177 points.
In the U13 event Willowfield Harriers’ Emer McKee claimed a brilliant 2nd place in the girl’s race, while the Willowfield Harriers team claimed 2nd place in the Club competition with a total of 153 points. Antrim finished 2nd in the County competition with 220 points, while Ulster finished 2nd with 70 points. Cranford AC’s Caolan McFadden coming 4th in the boy’s race, followed by Fionn McNamara (Annalee AC) in 5th place. Enniskillen Running Club claimed 2nd place in the Boys Club Competition, with a total of 160 points, while the Ulster team took home 3rd place in the Regional Competition with a total of 86 points.
Willowfield Harriers’ Kirsti Foster won the U15 Girls event, with sister, Lucy Foster close behind in 4th place. Ulster took home the Regional prize with a total of 54 points, followed by Munster with 72 points. The Foster sisters also added a significant number to the Club and County points, with Willowfield Harriers finishing in 3rd place with 163 points and County Down also finishing in 3rd place with 168 points. In the U15 Boys race, City of Lisburn Ac’s Jack McCausland finished in a triumphant 2nd place.
In the U17 events, North Belfast Harriers’ Matthew Lavery finished 4th with Sean McGinley (Olympian Youth & AC) finished in 5th place. The Ulster team took home the Regional honours with a total of 48 points, while St Malachy’s AC claimed 1st place in the Club competition with 86 points. Rosses AC’s Amy Greene claimed 2nd place in the U17 Girls, followed by Catherine Martin (Loughview AC) the NI & Ulster Champion, who finished in 5th place. Ulster took 2nd place in the Regional competition with a total of 64 points.
In the U19 Boys, St Malachys AC’s Conal McClean claimed 2nd place, just behind Sligo AC’s Michael Morgan. In the U19 Girls, Finn Valley AC took 3rd place in the club competition, while Willowfield Harriers’ Hannah Gilliland was the first NI & Ulster athlete across the line in 10th place, followed by Cassie Lagan (Finn Valley AC) in 11th place.
Full results can be found here: https://www.athleticsireland.ie/competition/results