Yet another extremely busy athletics weekend kicks-off tonight with the Rathmullan 5K before moving on to Santry Stadium tomorrow for the Schools Tailteann Games.
And then it’s a three venue gig on Sunday with the National U20/U23 championships in Tullamore, the NI Team Trophy meeting in Antrim and a 5K road race in Newtowncunningham in aid of the local Playgroup.
Local athletes are expected to see action at all the above venues with the popular Rathmullan 5K, race 13 in the ongoing Donegal Athletics Board’s road race series, sure to attract significant interest tonight.
The Newtowncunningham 5K is a new event and has a 2 p.m. start on Sunday.
Race HQ is in the Newtowncunningham Business Park and the entry fee is E8. Indeed road runners are spoiled for choice in the next week with the Raphoe 5K on Tuesday evening next and on Wednesday it’s race five of the Furey Insurances 5K series in Carndonagh.
Thursday next brings the annual Jude Gallagher Memorial 10 miler in Limavady, a popular one for the more distance orientated runners.
Fourteen talented young local athletes will be in Dublin tomorrow representing Ulster in the annual Schools Inter Provincial/Tailteann Games showpiece.
All were selected on the basis of their consistent performances so far this season and tomorrow’s Inter Provincial competition will be a serious challenge for all concerned.
The athletes involved are: Jack McCloskey, 200m and Sprint Relay; Shane McGowan, 800m; Connor Breslin, 1,500m; Ruadhri O’Neill, 400m Hurdles; Daniel Cosgrove, 300m Steeplechase; Michael Cartin, 400m Relay and Matthew Folland, 3,000m.
Ciara Armstrong, 100m/200m and Sprint Relay; Megan Devine, Sprint Relay; Aoife Laverty, 800m; Amy Jackson, 1,500m; Jenny O’Brien, 300m Hurdles and 400m Relay; Lisa Bradley, Walk; Claire Dougherty, Triple Jump.
Closer to home on Sunday, Antrim will host the NI Team Trophy, an inter-club competition which should provide opportunities for the two local clubs Olympian and City of Derry Spartans to test their squad strength in advance of the upcoming second round of the National League.
The female Spartans turned out in force last year and won the Women’s trophy. They will miss some of the contingent competing in Santry the previous day but hope to make their presence felt nevertheless.
The male red vests finished runners-up last time with a small squad on duty but hope to field more numbers this time.
The Olympian men and women will also expect to make an impression.
Tullamore is Sunday’s venue and the Spartan’s JP Williamson is the only confirmed local junior expected to travel and challenge for middle distance honours.
Jason set for Europeans
Staying with track & field and the European Senior championships in Helsinki will run between Wednesday, June 27th and Sunday, July 1st.
The Irish team selected to travel will include two athletes from North West clubs, Tori Pena of Finn Valley in the women’s Pole Vault and City of Derry’s Smyth who will go in the 100m sprint.
Pena is American based with Derry and Donegal connections and is the Irish record holder in her event. Her current 10th place standing in Europe may give her an outside shot at a podium finish.
The Derry sprinter is still chasing the 10.18s Olympic qualifying standard and is bullish about his chances of realising that target in Helsinki next week.
Back now from his Florida base he sees the championships as the ideal opportunity, as with a series of preliminary races prior to - hopefully making the 100m final - he can deliver the big run necessary.
Carndonagh hosts race five in the popular Furey Insurances 5K series next Wednesday night, June 27th.
Organised jointly by City of Derry and Inishowen AC this one usually pulls out a big entry with a healthy cross-border input of club runners and joggers.
It has a 7.30 p.m. start and entries will be taken on the night from 6 p.m. at race HQ in the Community School.
Online entry can be made to firstname.lastname@example.org simply send name, date of birth, age on race day and club, if any and collect the race pack on the night.
Race sponsor once again is the Carndonagh company, Atlanfish and the usual generous prizefund and post-race refreshments will be on offer.