Declan Reed produced a brilliant winning run at Saturday’s North West Cross Country in Gransha to claim an impressive individual victory, ahead of Springwell’s Ritchie Nicholls and a rejuvenated Aaron Doherty, back home from Spain for the Christmas/New Year holidays.
Two in the top three gave the Spartans a facile team win over county rivals Springwell with Newcastle AC edging Foyle Valley for third. Emmett McGinty sixth, Allan Bogle 11th, John Lenehan 11th and Connor Doherty 12th completed the winning squad for the red vests.
Pius McIntyre in ninth led home the Foyle Valley boys with good support from Stephen Connor, Matthew McLaughlin, Mark Long, Roy McGilloway and Johnny Canning.
Aileen Reid was in Gransha but a bad cold ruled her out of the action and she watched the inform Springwell runner Eimear Mullan romp to a her third win of the cross country season, ahead of North Belfast’s Cathy McCourt and fellow Springwell athlete Soina Knox, who both medalled at the recent Masters International Cross Country in Nottingham.
Superb packing by the county Derry team gave them the win over the Spartans, led home in sixth by Jackie McGinley with 10th placer Martina McMullan fronting the third placed Foyle Valley women for a County Derry clean sweep.
Sarah Kivlehan ran well for 13th and was followed by Hannah Shields 16th and Catherine Whoriskey 17th for the Spartans and the other Valley scorers were a battling Gemma McGinty 14th, Sheona McKinney 22nd and Charlene McGinty 25th.
Saturday’s results sees the Springwell women leap frog the Spartans back to the top of the cross country league, they now have a single point advantage.
In the mens league race Newcastle remain top but the Spartans are now only four points behind having halved the lead with their Gransha victory.
Three League races remain, Enniskillen on 24th January, Stormont on 31st January and the NI&Ulster Senior championships in Lurgan on 14th February. All to play for then, it could go right down to the wire.
n the Open 6k Jackie McGinley and Hannah Shields took the F45 and F50 category awards and the M55 and M70 honours went to Dermot Connolly and Christy McMonagle. For Foyle Valley good runs from Sheona McKinney and Catherine Moran took them to the F35 and F55 wins.
Fintan Stewart was an emphatic winner of the competitive U17 3K race which preceded the main event, leading home a trio of St Michael’s Enniskillen runners and with Odhran McKane also going well for fifth.
Oisin Colhoun was the Primary Schools 1K winner with Cara Laverty in second place overall, an impressive first girl to finish.