Big weekend of Championship Athletics ahead

City of Derry Spartan, Conor Bradley will be in action this weekend. (Russell Pritchard / Presseye)
City of Derry Spartan, Conor Bradley will be in action this weekend. (Russell Pritchard / Presseye)

Another big weekend of Championship Track & Field action beckons with the NI Masters deciders set for Belfast’s Mary Peters Track tomorrow and the two day National Seniors scheduled for Santry Stadium in Dublin.

Both will attract significant local interest and with several medal winners from last Sunday’s NI & Ulster in action again, prospects for podium places and big performances are healthy.

Cara Laverty.

Cara Laverty.

Connor Bradley defeated his training partner Danny Mooney for the provincial 1,500 metres gold last weekend and will move up to the 5,000 metres in Dublin this weekend. His inconsistent form so far this season has frustrated the Spartan but he is hopefully of a big run in what should be a talented field.

His club mate Catherine Whoriskey in contrast has been going very well, retaining her provincial 5,000m title last Sunday and posting PBs on road and track in recent months. She travels south this weekend with the prospect of a quality 5,000m field to propel her to another big effort.

Foyle Valley’s Scott Rankin, if he is back from the ongoing Euro soccer extravaganza in France, and Derry Track Club’s provincial bronze medallist from the Mary Peters track, Connor McCaughey, could also be in the men’s 5,000m field. The men’s 10,000m has attracted a bevy of local distance runners and the Spartans are reported to have put together a squad to challenge in the club team race.

Jacqueline McMonagle will be among the local Masters chasing honours tomorrow in Belfast and will double up in the 1,500m and 5,000m where she should figure in the battles for F45 honours. No doubt several other talented local Masters will make the trip as well.

Fintan Stewart.

Fintan Stewart.

However, Paralympics super star Jason Smyth, fresh from some recent fast 100m times, heads the Men’s 100m entry list and will be looking to reclaim the short sprint title for the first time in several years. The Eglinton Flyer is the most likely local medallist this weekend.

Back to last Sunday’s provincial deciders and at under age level U17 Fintan Stewart and U20 Matt Doherty claimed their respective age group 1,500 metres titles; JP Williamson took the senior 3,000m Steeplechase silver, and senior silver medals also went to Naomi Morgan, Long Jump, Emma McCay, 400m Hurdles and Hannah Surman, Discus.

At U14 level, Cara Laverty was a close up silver medallist over 1,500m and on a very damp but rewarding day for local athletes, there were bronze senior medals for Daniel Reid, 400m Hurdles and Bronagh Doherty, Discus.