Medals galore for super Spartans in Magherafelt

City of Derry Spartans team which competed in the annual Civil Service Cross Country race at Stormont on Saturday.
City of Derry Spartans team which competed in the annual Civil Service Cross Country race at Stormont on Saturday.

A very mixed bag of results from a busy weekend saw a splurge of medals from the NI & Ulster Under Age Indoor championships in Magherafelt, a European championships indoors 1,500m qualifying time from Letterkenny AC’s Danny Mooney in Athlone.

City of Derry Spartans’ senior cross country squads lost ground in the ANI Winter Cross Country League at Stormont on Saturday.

City of Derry Spartans team which competed in the annual Civil Service Cross Country race at Stormont on Saturday.

City of Derry Spartans team which competed in the annual Civil Service Cross Country race at Stormont on Saturday.

Let’s start with the GloHealth Indoor Games in the Athlone Arena on Sunday and Danny Mooney’s terrific new 3 minutes and 42.69 seconds 1,500m Personal Best and a European championships qualifying to boot.

It was good enough to win the Metric Mile race at the meeting and the Commonwealth Games athlete goes into the mix for selection on the Irish squad for the upcoming European championships.

Not a given as other athletes also have the qualifying standard, but Mooney continues to demonstrate a knack for producing the big performance at the right time and it’s now over to the Irish selectors.

Disappointment in the same race for local man Connor Bradley whose 3 minutes and 49.74 seconds placed him ninth, not what he wanted and he must now go back to the drawing board before the end of the short indoor season.

Hopefully he will sort it and go to the special Deloitte Mile at the same venue on February 18th with renewed vigour before his wedding at the end of the month.

Keith Shiels ran in the 3,000m in Athlone and his useful 8m 49.37s gave him the runners-up spot behind clear winner Donore Harriers John Travers, who was reputedly chasing a sub eight minute run for European qualification, but his 8m 19.30s still gave him a comfortable win.

Strabane resident Anne Marie McGlynn ran 9m 35.28s for third in the Women’s 3,000m race.

A double gold sprint double for City of Derry’s Stephen McGahey was the local highlight at the provincial Under Age Indoor championships at Magherafelt over the weekend when talented young local athletes showed well against the best in the Province and produced qualifying performances for the upcoming All Ireland championships.

McGahey took his double gold in the U18 60m and 200m in convincing style and certainly looks in great shape ahead of the Nationals and the fast approaching outdoor season.

Club mate Mark Gallagher showed that another young speed king is on the up with gold in the U16 60m at the Saturday session.

Following his U17 800m bronze on Saturday, Fintan Stewart added to the gold standard with a win over 1,500m on Sunday and there was U18 girls relay golds for Erin McDevitt, Jessica O’Hare, Gemma Mullan and Lucy Appleton the same day. Erin and Jessica also claimed individual bronze medals in their respective U16 and U17 200m races to make it a memorable day for them.

In Saturday’s session U14 girls 800m silver was claimed by Fintan’s sister Aela; Cara Laverty took bronze in the U13 600m; Gemma Mullan did likewise in the U18 300m as did U15 Grainne O’Hare in the High Jump.

It’s on to Tuam this weekend and the National Masters Cross Country championships for Jackie McMonagle and Declan Reed who will both chase age group honours.

Reed is the defending male Masters champion and has targeted a staunch title defence while McGinley will try to medal in the competitive F45 age group. Both are in excellent shape and look very capable of delivering.