Busy Athletics Weekend

ANOTHER busy weekend lies ahead with local runners set to see action today at the Templemore Sports Complex which hosts race number one of three in the N. Ireland Primary Schools’ Cross Country League; the University of Ulster at Coleraine tomorrow for the opening race in the 2013/14 N. Ireland Clubs’ League and on Sunday the Gerry Farnham Cross Country event in Dublin.

Today the Templemore Sports Complex grounds will host over 200 young Primary School runners at 12.00 noon with 14 local schools set to start their challenge for honours in the North-West Section of the annual N. Ireland League.

This well supported event has proved to be a terrific success since its inception a few years ago and today should continue that trend with a new batch of talented young runners sure to be unearthed on what probably will be a wet and testing Sports Complex 1 km. course.

The University of Ulster Grounds at Coleraine is tomorrow’s venue and local clubs Foyle Valley and City of Derry Spartans are expected to field in the opening round of the N. Ireland Clubs Cross Country League.

The Coleraine course has not been used in a few years and athletes will welcome its re-introduction to the annual calendar. The league was introduced two years ago and has certainly boosted cross country numbers with the local clubs to the fore.

Defending men’s champions, City of Derry, hope to produce a decent squad and although Declan Reed has been laid low with a ‘flu-like bug, they should kick start their new campaign in style.

Valley may also turn out in force for the short trip to Coleraine while the promoting club, Springwell A.C., are developing a decent squad and the likes of North Belfast, Sperrin Harriers, North Down, Orangegrove and Willowfield will also travel with early season confidence .


The women’s race will be interesting with Springwell looking to build on their fine end to last season and North Down, North Belfast, Sperrin, Omagh and Lagan Valley joining the Derry clubs on the start line.

Roisin Lynch, meanwhile, will be in Dublin on Sunday for the Gerry Farnham cross-country race, which doubles as the trial race for the Irish teams to contest the upcoming Masters International in Cardiff. Roisin is expected to make the F60 age category while the injured Christy McMonagle will miss out taking his shot at the M65 category.

Also this Sunday the Donegal Senior Cross Country Championships will break new ground as the men and women’s races will be staged in Carndonagh for the first time.