Whitehead Cup Victory for Shields

Foyle Valley's Teague Whorskey, Mark Linton, Conor Donaghey, Nicholas Mullan and John Collins at the Omagh Half Marathon.
Foyle Valley's Teague Whorskey, Mark Linton, Conor Donaghey, Nicholas Mullan and John Collins at the Omagh Half Marathon.

THE National Relay Championships; the Juvenile Indoors in Athlone tomorrow (Sat.) and then the Seniors and Masters road verision in Raheny on Sunday, will make for an interesting weekend of athletics.

The City of Derry Spartans Girls U19 sprint squad have qualified from Ulster and will be in the Athlone Arena early tomorrow morning for the heats and, hopefully, the final of the 4x200 metres relay.

However, the expected local challenge at Sunday’s Road Championships in Dublin has been put on hold as niggling injuries to both Declan Reed and Connor Bradley means the senior Spartams squad will not now travel south.

The North-West challenge now looks confined to the Lifford and Finn Valley senior women’s squads and, possibly, the Finn Valley male masters.

Megan Devine, Ciara Armstrong, Tamara Boyle and Jenny O’Brien make up a very talented City of Derry girls Under-19 sprint relay squad and they will travel to Athlone today (Friday) for their shot at national glory tomorrow morning. They will go in the heats confident of making the final and, indeed, barring a complete disaster, they will be strong medal contenders. All four are experienced at this level, Megan and Jenny medalled in their individual events in the same stadium a few weeks ago and a result is anticipated.

Closer to home there is road race action on Sunday morning, the Decathlon Belfast 10 Kms. and Half Marathon having a 9.00 a.m. start from the Decathlon Sports Store in Holywood. This one claims a fast, flat course and may well interest some local road runners.

Meanwhile, mention of another impressive win for Foyle Valley’s Keith Shields who took the Easter Monday Whitehead Cup five miles individual honours in fine style. He ran an excellent 25 mins. 09 secs, on the hilly country Antrim course to win easily from North Belfast duo, Eddie Cooke (26 m. 55 s.) and Brendan Grew (26 m. 57 s). Enjoying a rich vein of form, the Valley stalwart should be the one to watch next week on the Bay Road.

Big Night on Bay Road

There will be no travel problems, however, for the Bay Road 5 Kms. on Wednesday night next, April 10th and a big entry is expected for the opening Furey Insurances 5 Kms. Series 2013 edition race. Pre-entries are being accepted at: furey5kentry@gmail.com

Simply email your name, gender, date of birth and club, if any and you can then collect your race pack and pay the entry fee on race night at race headquarters in the University of Ulster Magee Sports Centre, Rock Road Campus.

Alternatively, enter at Magee on the night between 6.00 p.m. and 7.15 p.m. The race starts at 7.30 p.m. on the Cyclepath, close to Sainsbury’s Car Park and the entry fee is £6 or E7.

The Bay Road course is definitely flat and potentially fast and with the Northern Ireland 5 Kms. Road Championships and the Northern Ireland Masters’ Winter League incorporated into the popular event, there should be both quality and quantity this Wednesday night.

Cash prizes and series points are up for grabs plus personal bests and local bragging rights, of course, so if you have a running pulse at all, the Bay Road on Wednesday night is for you.

The Carndonagh-based sea food processor and exporter Atlanfish, is the specific Bay Road race sponsor this year and their accountant, well known local runner, Declan McCarthy, will be on hand on Wednesday evening to present the prizes at the post race presentation and refreshments jolly in Magee.