DERRY ATHLETICS: Big Focus On Jordanstown Cross Country

City of Derry Spartans.
City of Derry Spartans.

A sizeable local contingent will line out among the 1,000 strong field at Jordanstown on Saturday for the annual Bobby Rea cross-country meeting which will incorporate the NI & Ulster Even Age Group Championships in a comprehensive 12-race programme.

All four local clubs - City of Derry Spartans, Derry City Track Club, Foyle Valley and Olympian - are expected to be represented and hopes are high that positive results will be achieved. The underage races cater for U10 to U18 and the U10 Girls, including some locals, get the meeting going at 11.30am. An early start and, indeed, the big Spartan Juvenile contingent leave at 8.30am for what will be a long day.

Provincial medals and possible passage to the National Championships on Sunday, November 22nd are up for grabs in what is usually a hotly contested series of races so fingers crossed for all the young local runners in the line-up tomorrow.

The Bobby Rea Senior and Masters races, the Women and Male 60+ and the Open Mens’ 8k will also attract big fields with Foyle Valley and the Spartans likely to field in both. Valley got their Cross Country season up and running at Comber a few weeks ago, winning the Mens’ team race and featuring in the Womens’ up front team action and scoring valuable NI Winter League points in the process.

The red vests in contrast sat out Comber but word is that while they will have a presence tomorrow though they see next month’s McConnell Shield race in Ballyclare as their season’s formal opener. Gary Slevin will front their challenge tomorrow with Noel Logan, Kyle Doherty, Chris McPeake and Peter Melarkey supporting. Aileen Morrison won last year in Jordanstown and may line up again to defend her Women’s title.

Masters On International Squads

A round up of the local Masters success last weekend in Belfast and Dublin at the NI and Irish Masters selection races.

Roisin Lynch confirmed her place on the Irish F65 squad for the Masters International in Santry on Saturday, November 14th with a hard fought third place in the Pheonix Park last Sunday.

Aaron Doherty flew in from Madrid for a sixth place M35 finish and a possible International vest and Declan Reed has been confirmed on the Irish M40 squad.

In Belfast on Saturday, Chris McGuinness duly took a M35 spot after a good effort behind Omagh Harrier Stephen Duncan and Dermot McElhinney clinched his M45 selection. Peter Lilburn made the M60 squad and Gerry Lynch the M70 team with Jackie McGinley F45, Hannah Shields F50 and Una Gavin F55 all grabbing squad places with fine runs.

Cathal McLaughlin was added to the M45 squad by the selectors and Claire Connor (F50), Malcolm McCausland (M60) and Willie Doherty (M70) are named reserves in their respective age groups. Another excellent return for the local Masters and lets hope they all make their mark in Dublin next month.