A BUSY few days of track & field action for local athletes beckons with Tullamore hosting a championship double bill tomorrow and Sunday.
The City of Derry senior women’s squad and the Olympian men will both contest their respective National League Division One finals on Saturday and on Sunday it’s the National Masters championships with a significant local interest as well.
The female Spartans go into their final ranked sixth out of the eight finalists after performing well in the two qualifying rounds. Unfortunately they head to Tullamore with a seriously weakened team roster due to a clash of events.
Anna Barr will be across the water at the AAA championships where she will go in the Triple Jump, Catherine Lilburn is on holiday, Amy Jackson and Emma Gee will be at the Community Games athletics finals and this all seriously dilutes the local challenge.
However the squad will look to the likes of Mary Devlin, Maggie Donnelly, Claire Dougherty, Amy McDaid, Marina Campbell, Emma McCay and Caitlin Ketelar to step up as they chase at least a top six finish.
The Olympians men’s squad did really well to make their final and were boosted earlier this week by moving up to seventh ranking in their qualifying position.
Like their Spartans counterparts they are unlikely to challenge for a podium finish but they will give it a real blast in the battle for points. The O’Donnell brothers, Tony McGilloway, Lee Barlow and Ian Sheridan should be key men tomorrow.
Antrim also hosts a weekend double header with the NI Multi Events championships for Juveniles, Seniors and Masters down for decision on both Saturday and Sunday.
Given the alternative action, a serious local challenge here is unlikely for what will be a gruelling two day test of speed, strength and endurance.
Tullamore will be busy again on Sunday when the National Masters championships will take centre stage. Danea Herron will move from her team management role tomorrow to front the local challenge for age group medals.
A recent injury may impair the Spartans’ prospects but she should be very competitive in the F50 age group. Eoghan Furey makes his Masters debut in the M35 category and could be in the mix in the 400m/800m/1,500m shake-up.
Philip Donaghy makes his M40 track championship first appearance, probably over 800m, Robert Bigger will attempt to defy his usual aches and pains in the M50 middle distances once again and Jackie McGinley will hope to do well in the competitive F40 1,500/3,000m races just 24 hours after competing in the women’s National League final.
She has been pressed into action there due to the absence of the red vests original first choices and has to be admired for her dedication to the club cause!