Cross Country action tops busy weekend

4 June 2011; Shane McGowan, St Columbs, Derry, on his way to winning the Junior Boys 800m during the AVIVA Irish Schools Track and Field Championships 2011. Tullamore Harriers AC, Tullamore, Co. Offaly. Picture credit: Brendan Moran / SPORTSFILE *** NO REPRODUCTION FEE ***
4 June 2011; Shane McGowan, St Columbs, Derry, on his way to winning the Junior Boys 800m during the AVIVA Irish Schools Track and Field Championships 2011. Tullamore Harriers AC, Tullamore, Co. Offaly. Picture credit: Brendan Moran / SPORTSFILE *** NO REPRODUCTION FEE ***

In a protracted cross country season Birmingham and Galway are this weekend’s venues where local runners will see plenty of action.

And in an event-packed couple of days local athletes are also offered road races in Bundoran, Cookstown, Castlederg and Belfast with tomorrow’s Glenariff Mountain race also in the mix.

Aoife Laverty, makes her way to the finish line on Sunday morning. (1010SL50)

Aoife Laverty, makes her way to the finish line on Sunday morning. (1010SL50)

Declan Reed extends his already lengthy cross country season when he lines up tomorrow in the NI squad at the UK Inter Counties championship in Birmingham.

The Spartan has gone well over the country this season with wins in the Malcolm Cup and the Provincial Masters championship and a more recent top 10 finish in the National senior in Dublin.

Tomorrow will be another big test against the best English, Scots and Welsh athletes but the Spartan is a hardened competitor and will not be fazed by the opposition.

Shane McGowan and Matthew Folland front the St Columb’s Inter boys squad at the All-Ireland schools cross country championships in St Mary’s College, Galway tomorrow.

The College finished runners-up in the Ulster qualifiers, defeated only on countback and will travel with some confidence of featuring in the up front team race.

Support Crucial

Medals of any hue have to be fought for at National level and in the four to score team contest the support from Connor Breslin and Daryl Mallet, the other Ulster scorers, will be crucial.

Clodagh Laverty, silver medallist in the Ulster, led her Thornhill U13 squad to team gold and they could well also challenge again in Galway.

Mark McCloskey of St Columb’s just missed an individual Ulster medal and will line up in the Boy’s U13 race.

Lumen Christi’s Amy Jackson and Thornhill’s Aoife Laverty both recorded top 10 Ulster finishing spots in their respective age groups and will look for good efforts again tomorrow.

The Bundoran 10 miler and the Carmen 10K in Carrickmore will vie for local road runners attention tomorrow and there is another double header on Sunday with Paula’s 5K Run in Castlederg at 1 p.m. and the Addiction 10K in Belfast’s Ormeau Park, also at 1 p.m.

Paddy’s Weekend 5K

Online entries for the Paddy’s Weekend 5K road race in the Gransha grounds on Saturday, March 17th can now be made by sending your name, age on race day and club,if any, to fudgelarge@gmail.com

This will ensure early entry and you can pick up your race pack and pay the entry fee on race day from 9.45 a.m. well before the 11 a.m. start.