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Weekend Preview- NI & Ulster team ready for UK Inter-Counties Cross Country Championships

09 March 2018

Weekend Preview- NI & Ulster team ready for UK Inter-Counties Cross Country Championships

A team of eight Northern Ireland & Ulster athletes will travel to Loughborough this weekend for the UK Inter-Counties XC Championships at Prestwold Hall (Saturday 10th March 2018).

Athletics Northern Ireland have been invited to enter athletes into this event to compete against the counties and districts of England, Scotland and Wales. 

The event also incorporates the final round of the British Athletics Cross Challenge; the Antrim International XC was part of the same prestigious Series.

Springwell Running Club’s Neil Johnston (Mark Kirk) will compete in the Senior Men’s race, with Katie Moore (North Down AC / Francis Marsh), and Under 23 competitor and recently crowned NI & Ulster Senior XC Champion, Rebekah Nixon (Dromore AC / Luke Osborne), competing in the Senior Ladies event.

NI & Ulster Intermediate XC Champion Craig McMeechan (North Down AC / Francis Marsh) will lead the Junior Men’s team, with Peter Gracey (Beechmount Harriers / Mark Kirk) and Tony McCambridge (St Malachy’s AC / Joe McAlister) also in the line-up.

In the Under 17 race, David Carey (Inishowen AC / Ronan Whoriskey) will compete in the men’s event, while NI & Ulster Intermediate XC Champion Rebecca Wallace (Lagan Valley AC / Eamonn Christie) will feature in the ladies race.

Elsewhere this weekend…

The Irish Life Health AAI National Masters Indoor Track & Field Championships:

A large number of local athletes are expected to travel to Athlone for the Irish Life Health AAI National Masters Indoor Track & Field Championships, which take place in the AIT Arena (Saturday 10th March 2018).

City of Lisburn AC star Kelly Neely will lead the local contingent in their hunt for medals and if the former World Masters Champion’s current form is anything to go by, she should return with gold.

Kelly impressed most recently at the AAI National Senior Indoor Championships, were she claimed silver over 1500m, clocking 4:20.63.  The well-respected athlete and coach also recorded 4:16.25 over the same distance at the AIT Grand Prix three weeks ago.

Competing alongside Kelly will be a host of familiar faces on the master’s circuit, including Cathal McLaughlin (Derry Track Club), Brian O’Domhnaill (Finn Valley AC), Patrick Forbes (Mid Ulster AC), Joy McAleer (City of Lisburn AC), Glen Scullion (Mid Ulster AC), Shane King (Clones AC) and Denise Toner (Clones AC).

A full entry list and timetable are available HERE.

European Throwing Cup (Portugal):

Finn Valley AC’s John Kelly (John Kelly Snr) will be part of the Ireland team who travel to Leiria in Portugal for this weekend’s European Throwing Cup Championships (Friday 10th – Saturday 11th March 2018).

A full team list is available HERE.

Irish Universities Athletics Association (IUAA) Cross Country Championships:

The re-scheduled Irish Universities Athletics Association (IUAA) XC Championships will also take place this weekend in Santry, Dublin (Saturday 10th March 2018).

Northern Ireland and Ulster will be well represented, with athletes competing for a host of universities and colleges – both Queen’s University and the University of Ulster are expected to field strong teams.

More details on the event can be found HERE.

Northern Ireland Mountain Running Association (NIMRA) season kicks off:

This weekend will also see the first race of the Northern Ireland Mountain Running Association (NIMRA) season, with the Glenariffe Mountain Race expected to attract nearly 200 competitors.

The course measures approximately 5.9 miles in distance, with 370 metres of ascent - the majority of these 370 metres are packed into one steep climb measuring just under one mile – it’s gruelling!

The field will be littered with Northern Ireland internationals, with Seamus Lynch (Newcastle AC), William McKee (Mourne Runners), Ryan Stewart (Shettleston Harriers), Allan Bogle (City of Derry AC) and Zak Hanna (Newcastle AC) likely to contest the men’s prize. 

In the ladies race, Shileen O’Kane (Lagan Valley AC), Esther Dickson (Newry AC), Gillian Wasson (Ballymena Runners) and Sarah Graham (Mourne Runners) will be amongst those chasing top honours.