Spartans chase men’s team title at Stormont

Tomorrow’s Civil Service cross country meeting at Stormont hosts the final scoring race in the season long N.I. Winter League and will attract some local interest.

The local Spartans are chasing North Belfast Harriers for the men’s team title and local Masters runners will be chasing valuable points in the ongoing N.I. Masters Winter League.

On Sunday, the in-form Declan Reed will be in Dublin for the National senior club championship at Santry where he will target a top 20 finish.

Moving away from the Seniors and Masters, the younger brigade were in serious competitive action at Mallusk on Wednesday last and came home with some excellent results from the Ulster Secondary Schools and NI Primary Schools championships.

Leading the way was the gold medal Thornhill Mini girls squad, led home in second overall by the impressive Clodagh Laverty and the St Columb’s Inter boys team who were desperately unlucky to be pipped for gold, on countback by Sullivan Upper after both had finished the four to score race, equal on points.

The NI Primary Schools Finals opened the day’s proceedings and local runners were prominent with podium places for the third placed Steelstown boys squad and the Long Tower and Broadbridge girls, who finished second and third in their race.

In the individual contest Kyle O’Reilly of St Therese finished a close up third overall, defeated only by one second for the runners-up spot and Caoimhe Walsh of Broadbridge came close to an individual medal with an excellent fourth place finish.

Clodagh Laverty impressed in her Mini girls race with a battling run for the individual silver and with superb support from Ella Marie Sainsbury 13th, Jessica O’Hare 24th and Niamh McFarland 43rd the Thornhill girls deservedly claimed team gold.

St Columb’s also grabbed team medals, in the Intermediate boys age group and they were so close to team gold. Shane McGowan 7th and Matthew Folland 8th spearheaded the attack up front and were ably backed by Connor Breslin 25th and Daryl Mallett 41st.

However, the 81 points total was matched by the Sullivan Upper squad whose vital fourth scorer finished 34th, ahead of the College fourth man and the Derry boys had to settle for a richly deserved team silver.

Other notable local efforts came from St Columb’s Mark McCloskey who impressed with a fifth place Mini boys race performance, only three seconds off third; and top 10 finishes from Lumen’s Amy Jackson 9th in the Inter girls and Thornhill’s Aoife Laverty 9th in the Junior girls.

The latter race was marred by the entire field, finishing well ahead of schedule as they were seriously mis-directed and ran well under the declared distance.

Primary Schools

Prominent at Mallusk

As expected, the local Primary schools talent showed their mettle doing their schools and the Derry area proud with a series of terrific performances in an ultra competitive environment.

The girls teams who qualified from the local league races, Long Tower, Broadbridge and St Therese were excellent. Long Tower finished second, Broadbridge third and St Therese sixth from the 18 teams in action.

Caoimhe Walsh of Broadbridge won all three local league races and took that form with her into the Mallusk action. She finished fourth on the day, not too far off an individual medal but had the satisfaction of leading her squad to team bronze.

Excellent packing by the Long Tower team pushed them up to the runners-up slot behind Ballydown PS from Armagh. Shona McLaughlin in 13th, Kayla McLaughlin 14th, Catherine Pierce 18th, Chloe McClelland 45th, Chloe Bradley 47th and Caitlin Doherty 69th were the crucial Long Tower scorers.

St Therese Kyle O’Reilly was the top finisher in the boys’ race, just missing out on individual silver but delighted to claim bronze.

Sean McIntyre of St Patrick’s ran well for eight and Steelstown’s Ben McCarron in 10th was thrilled to lead his squad to team bronze as 17 teams finished.

Broadbridge 6th and St Patrick’s 7th confirmed the Derry depth of talent with their performances. Well done to all concerned!

The full, detailed results of all the Mallusk action can be accessed at www.athleticsni.org

Go to the results section.