The weekend trips to Magherafelt, Cookstown, Glasgow and Stranorlar proved very rewarding indeed for local athletes with many excellent performances plus a significant haul of prizes from the City Of Derry Spartans, Foyle Valley and Olympian athletes involved.
Closest to home in Stranorlar the Foyle Valley duo, Scott Rankin and Keith Shields, finished first and third in race two of the Finn Valley 5Km Series; Olympian A.C.’s Bronagh Doherty won the Provincial Under age Indoor U19 Shot Putt gold medal in Magherafelt; Mark McGarvey headed an impressive Spartans’ 13 medal haul at the same venue with triple gold in the Boys U-19 60metres, 60 metres Hurdles and Long Jump and four other Spartans came home from the Scottish Under age Indoors in Glasgow with well deserved Championship medals.
Starting in Stranorlar, Scott Rankin impressed with a 15 mins. 28 secs. winning effort at the Finn Valley 5Km on Sunday. He had 11 seconds to spare on runner-up, Paul Leck of the host club, with another Foyle man, Keith Shiels, posting 15 mins. 55 secs. to claim third place.
Teresa McGloin was an emphatic winner of the women’s race in a swift 17m 10s and there were good age group efforts from local Masters, Peter Lilburn, 18m 17s and Christy McMonagle’s 19m 58s.
The final race in the Sperrin Winter League, a 10 miler at Lough Fea near Cookstown, was won by the classy Master runner, Delfin Pimentel who clocked 59m 04s to pip Omagh Harrier, Martin Cox by a mere seven seconds with Sperrin Harrier, Aaron Meharg, third on 60m 12s.
Visitor, Eilis McKechanie of Scots club, Hunters Bog Trotters, won the women’s race in 64m 07s from the Spartans’ Anne Paul on 69m 17s and in third was Alison Rankin of Springwell Running Club on 72m 02s.
Triple gold for Mark
Meanwhile in Magherafelt the recently crowned County Derry Juvenile Athletics All-Star for 2011, Mark McGarvey, stole the show with an impressive triple gold medal performance at the Provincial Underage Championships.
The talented Spartan won three Under-19 titles at 60m., 60m Hurdles and Long Jump and booked his place at the All-Irelands later this month in Nenagh.
Clubmate, Ryan McParland, also claimed three medals at Under-18 level, with 60m gold and a brace of silvers in the 60m Hurdles and 200m.
Michael Carton, in the same age group, did well for 400m gold and 60m Hurdles bronze; U18 Jenni O’Brien won 300m gold and 60m silver; U17 Connor Breslin won an impressive 1,500m gold and there was also a bronze medals for the U13 pair of Erin McDaid in the Girls 600m and silver for Harry O’Neill in the Boy’s Shot Putt.
Olympian added to Bronagh Doherty’s Shot gold with a Boys U13 600m bronze from Sean McIntyre.
Onto the Glasgow contingent and there were four Spartans who made the podium at the Scottish Underage Championships in the Kelvin Hall over the weekend.
Shane McGowan’s 2 mins. 00.43 secs. clocking in the Boys Under-18 800m final gave him a well deserved silver medal, although he would have been annoyed not to have ducked under the magic two minute barrier.
He posted a similar time a few weeks ago in Belfast but he can rest assured a sub two minute time is entirely within his reach and will definitely come in the next few months.
Three Bronze Medals
There were three bronze medals with Megan Devine looking good for an 8.03 clocking in the Girls Under-18 60m final.
In the U18 1,500 m races Matthew Folland ran 4m 31.30s and Amy Jackson 4m 58.21s, good enough for bronze in each case.
Two cross country venues to note for this coming weekend, St. Mary’s College in Galway for the Irish Schools Championships featuring local schools runners who have qualified via the “Districts” and “Ulsters,” and the UK Inter Counties in Birmingham where Declan Reed will run in a small N. Ireland squad.