ANOTHER busy weekend of road racing saw locals in successful action at Saturday’s “ Out the Line” 5 miler and on Sunday in the Danny McDaid 15K with Scott Rankin and Declan Reed grabbing the respective headlines.
Meanwhile, Claire Dougherty and Ciara Armstrong contributed to the Irish Under-16 and Under-18 selection won the annual Celtic International Challange in Aberdeen.
The in-form Declan Reed fronted an impressive City of Derry Spartans raid on the Letterkenny race, clocking an excellent 48 mins. 04 secs. to finish just three seconds clear of clubmate, Greg Roberts, with another ‘red vest’ duo, Emmet McGinty and Noel Logan next to finish after a tense duel in 50 m. 04 s. and 50 m. 11 s. These were all big runs from the Sparans and, indeed, Derry runners were dominant, filling all but two of the top 10 places in the prestigious Donegal event.
Foyle Valley A.C.’s Pius McIntyre ran 51 m. 29 secs. for fifth, Paddy Mhor Doherty and James Brown kept the red train flowing with 51 m. 34 s. and 52 m. 14 s. for sixth and seventh, before Letterkenny pair Chris Johnston 52 m. 19 s. and Pauric McKinney 52 m. 20 s. crossed the line ahead of 10th placer, Chris McGuinness on 53 m. dead.
Kieron Hurley was 11th in 53 mins. 08 secs., Paul McCafferty 13th on 53 m. 35 secs., top M50 Damien McGinty ran 53 m 52 s for 16th and Gary Slevin made a welcome return after a prolonged injury absence, 19th in 55m 49s as the Derry lads just kept coming.
The Donegal women reversed the situation, with the top three finishers from the home county. An eye catching 61 mins. 01 secs. victory for Lifford AC’s Natasha Adams saw her home clear of Letterkenny’s Sheila Regan on 61 mins. 26 secs. with another Lifford runner, Anna Marie McGlynn third on 62 mins. 16 secs.
Meanwhile Saturday’s third and final race in the “Out the Line” Series organised by Foyle Valley, saw Scott Rankin romp home in 25 mins. 37 secs. for the 5 miler, well clear of clubmate Stephen Connor on 28m 06s with Paddy Nicell running 28m 40s for third spot.
The talented Rankin made it an emphatic three from three successes in the 3K, 5K and 5 Mile Series, his 15 m 33 s 5K win a week earlier his only serious test as he posted a seven second victory ahead of Noel Logan.
Miriam Bridge ran 34 m 04 s for a clear women’s race victory over Denise McElhone’s 35 m. 23 s. and Trish McClintock posted 36 mins. 57 secs. for third.
for Claire, Ciara
Over in Aberdeen on Saturday the teenage Spartans duo, Claire Dougherty and Ciara Armstrong were in action at the annual Celtic Games track and field meeting.
Staged in very windy conditions the combined Irish U16/18 Boys and Girls squads won all but one of the four age group sections to finish clear of the Scots, Welsh ans Scots Futures teams.
Claire got out to 10 mins. 95 cms. for a close-up third in the Under-18 Triple Jump and Ciara was on the winning sprint relay squad as well as doing well in the Under-18 Invitational 100m, albeit facing a strong headwind. Another good international outing for both promising young local talents.
Track & Field action will feature again this weekend with the National Masters’Championships and the National League final in Tullamore on Saturday and Sunday.
The City of Derry women’s squad will contest the Division One Final after storming to the top of the qualifiers list of eight clubs from all over the country and hopes are high that a top two finish on Sunday will achieve promotion to the Premier Division for 2013. Not an easy task given that a trio of key points scorers, Claire Dougherty, Jenny O’Brien and Maggie will all be missing.
Claire and Jenny will be in Bedford after invitations to to the UK Juvenile Championships and ace thrower, Maggie is, unfortunately, unavailable but the squad will travel in expectation nevertheless, confident they have the all round ability to deliver the required result.
in Good Form
Back to the road runners and Declan Reed has been in a recent rich vein of form. Sunday’s hard fought win came on the back of a close up second place finish behind Joe McAlister at the prevoius weekend’s Sperrin Harriers 5 mile Classic in Cookstown, where he clocked 24m 58s to the classy Belfast mans 24m 53s winning effort.
Sunday’s Letterkenny effort underlined his good form and what a battle it was between the two red vests with perhaps Reed’s quicker cadence the deciding factor on the day.
Both men are gearing up for next month’s National Half Marathon Championships in Athenry where they hope to spearhead a strong Spartans challenge for honours.
More on that closer to the date.