More significant cross country action this weekend with the latest round of the ANI League set for Saturday in Inrviestown and both local clubs, Foyle Valley and City of Derry Spartans are set to travel to the Fermanagh venue.
The Spartans will chase valuable points in both the male and female races, their squads both sit in second spot in their respective standings and hope to claw back some points on leaders Newcastle AC and Springwell, with only the Stormont and the Senior championship race in Lurgan remaining after this weekend.
Using resources wisely is the key to claiming League titles and in the men’s race the red vests intend to field a classy spearhead.
The League points are allocated on a four to score format and the priority is to further reduce the current Newcastle four points advantage with a team win on Saturday.
That was a huge twelve points some weeks ago but as their front runners came back into action the defending League champions are set to reduce the deficit further with hopefully a winning performance in Irvinestown.
Newly crowned Provincial Masters champion Declan Reed will lead the squad with Emmett McGinty, Gary Slevin and Connor Doherty returning to action alongside Paul McCafferty and Dermot Connolly among others, in what looks like a strong team.
The female Spartans sit one point off leaders Springwell and must match their County Derry rivals tomorrow to remain in serious contention. Jackie McGinley, Hannah Shields, Sarah Kivlehan and Angeline McShane will be expected to do well up front and the other squad members will also have to step up to the challenge.
Foyle Valley are not in a challenging position this year but have consistently put out both male and female squads and should continue on Saturday as they build for the future.
There is also some Indoor competition this weekend at Jordanstown on Saturday and Athlone on Sunday.
Jordanstown hosts an NI Open graded meeting with Field events on the agenda while in the superb Athlone Indoor Arena its the National U20 and U23 championships on Sunday.
It’s not clear what if any, local interest has been declared for both venues but no doubt some local athletes will see this weekend’s competitions as a stepping stone to the upcoming Provincial Age Group championships in Magherafelt and beyond that the National Age groups and senior championships.
Finally congratulations and very well done to Fintan Stewart who was on the winning Ulster Boys U17 squad which convincingly won last Sunday’s Celtic Games team race in Dunboyne, County Meath.
The teenage Spartan was on the four strong Ulster squad which saw off the U17 squads from Wales, Scotland, Ireland and an Irish Development squad to claim a brilliant team victory. He finished well in 11th place overall in the classy field of twenty U17’s and enhanced his growing reputation with this performance.