CONNOR Bradley stormed back to national prominence with a terrific 5000m silver medal performance at the National Senior Track & Field Championships in Dublin over the weekend.
The City of Derry Spartan’s 14 mins. 21.79 secs. run, less than a full second adrift of the gold medallist, Kevin Batt, of DSD, who posted a winning 14 mins. 20.97 secs.
The talented local athlete took pre-race favourite, Batt, all the way in an enthralling 5,000m final and while he will, no doubt, be disappointed to miss out on the title, this superb performance has certainly shown he is back in the big time in Irish middle distance running circles.
A series of niggling injuries over the past two years restricted his training quality but, hopefully, he can build on this and look forward to a good autumn/winter and the 2016 season.
Clubmate J. P. Williamson also impressed in the championship 5000m race, a good 6th place finish in 14 m 39.96 secs., confirming the USA College based Waterside athlete is definitely on an upward curve. J. P. had N. I. & Ulster Intermediate Cross Country champion, Connor Duffy, of Glasslough and Foyle Valley’s Scott Rankin behind him, Duffy 9th on 14m 43.65s and Rankin 11th on 14m 49.79s.
In Saturday’s 10,000m final Declan Reed led home the second chasing group with an encouraging 31m 25s clocking, the Spartan another who has been hindered by niggles recently, but is hopeful he can move on in his preparations for the Berlin Marathon in September. Mullingar Harrier Mark Christie took the gold medal with an impressive 29m 52.84 winning time, the silver and bronze medallists posting low 30m times.
Inishowen athlete, Pauric McKinney, was another Berlin bound runner in the field, 12th on 32m 16.98s, as he and the Spartan flew the flag for the Masters runners in the race.
Letterkenny’s Mark English pipped defending champion Declan Murray to take the 80m title, 1m 50.94s to 1m 51.04s but young Shane McGowan failed to get out of the heats. Connor Doherty was run out of the 1,500m heats as was DCTC’s 400m man Aaron Carlyle.
Strabane Track Club’s Sean McBride grabbed Javelin gold with a 63m plus throw, Tirconail AC’s Mary McLone took double gold in the Long and Triple Jumps an there was 3000m Steeplechase silver for Anne Marie McGlynn o Letterkenny A.C.