Cross Country season in full swing

Barnett’s Park in Belfast hosts the annual Bobby Rea cross country meeting this Saturday with an extensive programme covering the Under-11 to Under-19 Provincial Juvenile championships, plus Senior and Masters races.

The action kicks-off at 11.30 a.m. and concludes after the men’s Open race at 3.10 p.m, so it will be a busy day and the juvenile runners will chase both provincial medals and qualifying spots for next month’s All-Irelands in Kildare. The local youngsters, buoyed up by several excellent performances at the recent even age group championships in Killybegs will travel in expectation of securing more success with Shane McGowan’s opening appearance of the season eagerly awaited.

Just turned 15, he will, however be at the lower end of the U17 age group and expectations have to be tempered by that fact.

At the Senior and Masters level the meeting is a scoring event for both the NI Masters Winter League and the new NI club cross country League and should attract additional attention on that basis.

Both Foyle Valley and City of Derry, however, may not necessarily travel in significant numbers as they look further ahead for specific targets.

The Spartans have already registered a serious interest in the Malcolm Cup and the National Novice championships in Kildare in December and will also put together a squad for the Seeley 10K road race in Belfast on November 19th.

The Valley were enthused by their recent Ulster Novice success and no doubt will be seriously contemplating the rest of the season for suitable competitive challenges.

Primary Schools Cross Country League

Broadbridge and Steelstown pupils topped the leader board at the recent Primary Schools cross country league races over the Sports Complex course as over 270 finishers were recorded in the successful first round event.

Steelstown’s Ben McCarron took the Boy’s race with a strong run, his fellow Steelstown pupil Ciaran Concannon was second and these impressive efforts were crucial in giving their school a narrow three point victory in the six to score team race over Broadbridge.

St Patrick’s, Pennyburn were third and Long Tower’s Kyle O’Reilly was third in the individual race.

The Broadbridge girls did the business in their race, winning comfortably from St Therese and Long Tower. Caoimhe Walsh was an impressive winner for the Eglinton school with Chloe Bradley of Long Tower and St Therese’s Zara McConomy chasing her home.

The next race will be staged in St Columb’s Park on Friday, December 2nd next and should be another well supported and exciting contest.

The full results from the first race can be viewed at

Click on the Flavhin’s primary schools cross country icon.

McBride Gets NI Masters Call

Finally news of another local Masters athlete booking his flight to Glasgow for the upcoming Masters International cross country.

Oran McBride (above) has been called in to the NI M40 squad following the withdrawal due to injury of Annadale runner Mark Wright.

The Spartan was the first reserve for the trip and was delighted to accept the call from team manager, Norman Bissett.

He previously medalled on the NI M40 team a few years ago and, who knows may well do so again as the squad, led by David Morwood and featuring Omagh’s Stephen Duncan looks particularly strong.