Campbell defends his Liam Ball title!

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DEFENDING Men’s champion, Brian Campbell stormed to victory at the 2012 Spalding Liam Ball Triathlon on Sunday as the 27th staging of the race attracted its largest ever entry.

Almost 200 competitors descended on Templemore Sports Complex for the popular three-disciplined event which incorporates the North West Sprint, and the Hi Elbow triathlete once again claimed top prize in the men’s event.

Vanessa Fenton leads the field in the elite women's race at the Liam Ball Triathlon. INLS2112-142KM

Vanessa Fenton leads the field in the elite women's race at the Liam Ball Triathlon. INLS2112-142KM

The Larne man has dominated the competition in recent years and it was the former Commonwealth Games performer’s seventh Liam Ball triumph in total following his successes in 2001, 2003, 2004, 2006, 2009 and 2011.

Daniel Quigley - son of the late, former Liam Ball winner, Colm Quigley - was the first local man to finish in 12th place overall with a time of 1:06:11.

Earlier in the day Vanessa Fenton was the first woman home, taking top honours in a time of 1:10:31 while first local female across the finishing line was NW Tri club member, Maeve Maher-McWilliams in 1:12:02.

Organised by the North West Triathlon club, the race offered the chance to gain points in the Triathlon Ireland National Series League and ensured a top class field of triathletes from across Ireland.

Winds stayed down and rain clouds away giving competitors good weather conditions for the bike and run courses which included 30 lengths (750m), of the pool, followed by a long transition down to the racked bikes before cycling towards Letterkenny.

After completing the 20km cycle, bikes were deposited and athletes entered the final 5km run leg and the huge turnout provided top quality racing and exciting viewing for the numbers of spectators.

In the men’s race, the defending champion, Campbell’s phenomenal run time of 16mins 23seconds for 5km, boosted him to leading position and ensured he retained his title.

Stephen Teeling Lynch produced the fastest bike leg in 31 mins 31secs, and was second across the line in a total time of 1hr 2mins and 17secs. Claiming third position in the men’s race was Steven Beggs in a time of 1hr 4mins 5secs.

The women’s race was let off in the second wave at 9.35 a.m. and Fenton’s consistently strong three phases proved enough to claim top prize.

Second in was Judith Lowry, with the quickest bike and run time of the ladies having finished in a total time of 1hr 11mins 08secs. Sinead Roche was third to cross the line in 1 hr 11mins 36secs.

And special mention to Roisin Lynch who claimed the Colm Quigley Cup (Spirit of the Race) and both Danny Sheerin and Terry Donnelly who have completed every one of the 27 races since its inception.