THIS weekend’s competitive athletics action kicks-off at lunchtime today at the Templemore Sports Complex with the first round of the local Primary Schools’ Cross Country League.
A total of fourteen schools have entered this increasingly popular three round league for Primary 5, 6 and 7 pupils with the carrot of progressing to the Northern Ireland finals at Mallusk in February next year, for the leading boys and girls teams and individuals.
Seasoned campaigners Broadbridge P.S., Steelstown, St. Therese, Long Tower and Hollybush will expect to be prominent yet again while St. Eithne’s return to action after a year out and Creggan Primary School, Holy Child will make their debuts in the event today.
Each school will field eight runners in both the separate boys and girls 1 km. races and there is also an opening “Fun Run” for the pupils who dont make their school’s top team selections.
The action starts at 12.00 noon with the girls teams going at 12.15 p.m. and the Boys rounding things off at 12.30 p.m.
Heather Martin and Ciaran Collins of Athletics N.I. will be organisimg the event and ANI President, Gerry Lynch, will also be in attendance so let’s hope the weather is kind!
New Mills 10K
Meanwhile, tomorrow (Saturday) the New Mills 10 Kms. road race should attract a decent turnout to the Aura Leisure Centre in Letterkenny.
The event has a 2.00 p.m. start with an entry fee of E10. Entries will be taken at the Centre from 12.30 p.m. and there are the usual category awards for the leading finishers.
The annual GR8 Dundrum Race is also on tomorrow at the County Down venue, start time there is 11.00 a.m.
There will be more cross country again this Sunday and the focus will be on the Gerry Farnham race in Dublin where places on the Irish squads for next month’s Masters International will be at stake.
A big interest from the Donegal runners is a given and at least three local City of Derry Spartans, Christy McMonagle, Roisin Lynch and Jackie McGinley will also travel to compete. The first two will attempt to make their respective M65 and F60 squads and look very capable of succeeding.
Both were impressive winners at last Saturday’s N. Ireland Masters Open race in Belfast and are in good enough shape to feature again on the Phoenix Park course this Sunday.
Jackie McGinley has already secured her place on the N. Ireland F40 squad but travels South on Sunday for another top quality workout en-route to the International in Stormont in mid-November.