ATHLETICS: Derry clubs shine at NI Team Trophy

DOUBLE GLORY . . . Fintan Stewart of City of Derry Spartans (Photo by Piaras O'M�dheach/Sportsfile)
DOUBLE GLORY . . . Fintan Stewart of City of Derry Spartans (Photo by Piaras O'M�dheach/Sportsfile)

It was a good weekend for local athletics with success at the NI Team Trophy and NI/Ulster Relay Championships at the Mary Peters track on Saturday, setting the scene perfectly for this Sunday’s Waterside Half Marathon, the blue riband event of the North West road running scene.

The City of Derry senior mens’ squad comfortably claimed the NI Team Trophy in Belfast on Saturday, a terrific all round performance seeing off all comers as the runners, throwers and jumpers in the red vests came out tops in this significant end of season Track & Field team competition.

The female Spartans squad took the runners up award behind a strong Lagan Valley team but were heartened by some encouraging performances from their mix of youth and experience and will bank this performance with their good National League showing in June and July when they just failed to make the Premier Division Finals.

The NI & Ulster Relay Championships were staged in conjunction with the Team Trophy action and both the Spartans and local rivals, Derry Track Club, came home with championship medals. The Spartans 4x400m womens quartet took gold with an impressive display and their male counterparts won silver in the 4x100m and bronze in the 4x400m championship race.

Smyth victory

Derry Track Club put out a strong squad to win the Mens 4x400m championship and Jason Smyth warmed up for the upcoming Paralympics in Rio with a 10.76s clocking to win the Team Trophy 100m.

Major points scorers in the Team Trophy for the Spartans include mens’ Hammer and Shot Putt winner Andrew Doyle, Fintan Stewart, who did an 800m and 1500m double, sprinter Jack McCloskey, ‘all rounders’ Peter Fryer and Daniel Reid, and Arnie Doherty, who went sub-nine minutes in the 3000m.

For the women, Emma McCay, Angeline McShane, Hannah McGowan, Claire Dougherty, Maggie Donnelly and Hannah Surman piled up the points but on the day the female Spartans had to give best to a very strong Lagan Valley outfit.