THE IN-FORM Shane McGowan produced the stand-out local performance at the weekend’s National Juvenile Indoors in Magherafelt, his U16 Boys 1,500 metre gold headlining a six medal City of Derry haul at the County Derry venue.
Elsewhere three of the senior Spartans, James Brown, Declan Reed and Diarmuid Grant all claimed the runners-up spots at 10K road races in Letterkenny and Altnamuskin County Tyrone and at the Larne Half Marathon.
Just a week after his Irish Schools cross country individual bronze in Dublin, Shane McGowan showed his versatility and abundant talent with a storming gun-to-tape 1,500 metres Indoors victory in Magherafelt.
His 4m 19.44secs clocking got him home well clear and bodes well for the upcoming outdoor Schools and Club season. Before that, however, he will represent Ireland in this weekend’s Aviva Schools International cross country in Antrim where he will go in the Junior Boys 4,500 metres race against the best English, Scots, Welsh and of course his Irish team mates.
Mark McGarvey yet again also showed his ability with double silver in Magherafelt, claiming the runners-up spot in both the 60m flat and 60m Hurdles at U18 level. A new 60m flat PB of 7.27secs just failed to get gold and he was also close in the Hurdles.
Ryan McParland at U17 level also took 60m flat silver and there was an excellent Girls U16 bronze for Ciara Armstrong in her 60m sprint final.
Emma Gee made her final Schools Indoors appearance a memorable one with a silver medal in a tightly contested Girls U19 Hurdles final to round off the Spartans medal tally.
Road Men In Top Form
Diarmiud Grant’s runners-up spot to St Malachy’s Joe McAlister at Saturday’s Larne Half Marathon which attracted a massive 1,239 finishers, was arguably the best road performance by local runners in the last few days.
The Belfast based former St Columb’s College star is in training for the Belfast marathon and ran an encouraging 69m 47s for second behind the more experienced McAlister who got away in the second half of the race to win in 69m 14s. These two were the class acts in the field with the Spartan finishing almost two minutes ahead of Davide Figueirero of Monaghan Phoenix AC.
Emmet McGinty was fifth on 74m 29s; his father Damien ninth on 76m 08s to claim the M50 honours; James Crampsey 14th on 78m dead was second M40 and completing a top 20 finish was Gerry Duddy with 78m 42s for 18th. Sammy McAnaney in 31st was the top M55 with a 80m 19s clocking to notch another age group award for local finishers. North Belfast Harrier Sharon Bird ran 80m 05s to take the leading female honours.
Closer to home, on St Patrick’s Day, James Brown was an impressive second behind Michael Black of the promoting club in the Letterkenny 5K.
The winner ran 16m 19s, breaking clear of a five man group in the closing stages with the new City of Derry recruit Brown, six seconds in arrears on 16m 25s, as four seconds separated second and fifth as they sprinted for the line. The red vest later claimed that his new training regime was behind his new-found speed as he out-kicked Paul McGlinchey, Kevin Ferry and Gavin Stevenson.
Helena Crossan ran 18m 24s for the women’s win and Christy McMonagle finished just behind Letterkenny’s Kevin Toner in around 20 minutes.
Finally, Omagh Harrier Stephen Duncan made it two wins out of two in the Run West Series at Altnamuskin in Tyrone as he posted a speedy 31m 52s for the hilly 10K, also on St Patrick’s Day.
This was good enough to finish ahead of Declan Reed on 33m 37s and Chris McPeake of Sperrin Harriers on 35m 12s as over 300 finishers were recorded.
Newcastle AC star Kerry Harty was in a class of her own, finishing fourth overall in 36m 17s, well ahead of Omagh’s Julie Butler on 39m 21s and City of Derry’s Anne Paul, back again after injury who posted 40m 35s to take the F40 honours.
Race three in the Finn Valley 5K Series is in Stranorlar this Friday evening at 7 p.m. and the Phoenix six miler is on Saturday morning, 10.30 a.m in Cookstown.
The aforementioned Home Countries cross country is at Antrim on Saturday and JP Williamson has been selected on the NI Men’s U20 squad.
As he has just resumed training after a short break his participation in doubt but Shane McGowan is a definite for the Schools Junior Boys race.
Gregory Roberts hopes to travel for the classy Dunboyne four mile road race on Sunday and could be joined by a few other locals.
The Collon Lane man is gearing up for next month’s National 10K road championship in Dublin where City of Derry hope to field strong teams in the Senior mens, Masters 40 and Masters 50 categories.
5K Series Launch
The 2011 edition of the popular Furey Insurances 5K Series is set to be launched tomorrow (Wednesday) in advance of the opening race on the Bay Road circuit on Wednesday, April 20th. Full details in Friday’s ‘Journal’!