ATHLETICS: Declan Reed retains North West cross country crown

Declan Reed.
Declan Reed.

Declan Reed won the North West Cross Country Championship at Gransha, Derry for the second year in succession after a dramatic race which had at least five different leaders.

Chris McGuinness headed the field for the first of the three circuits with Reed, Alan Bogle, Scott Rankin, Seamus Lynch and Brian Campbell all well placed.

It was Reed, Bogle and Mark McKinstry half way round the second lap before McKinstry unfortunately lost a shoe leaving Reed, Bogle, Lynch and Campbell at the head of affairs.

At the bell Seamus Lynch, chasing a hat-trick after victories at Ballyclare and Cookstown in the two previous weeks, was alongside Reed with Bogle, Campbell and Rankin still in contention.

Reed now opened up, was clear half way round the circuit, and came home to win by seven seconds from Lynch with Campbell, Bogle and Rankin all close up. Neil Johnston, Greg Roberts and Craig McMeechan completed the top eight.

The promoting City of Derry Spartans won the team ahead of Foyle Valley. Alan Bogle M35, Alex Brennan M40, Dermot McIlhinney M45, Francis Marsh M50, Robert Wilson M55, Gerry O’Doherty M60, Francis Boal M65 and Gerry Lynch M70 won their groups.

The Ladies race was also exciting. Shalene McMurray, following on her excellent run at Jordanstown, led from Newcastle team-mate Joanne Mills throughout the first two laps with Julie Butler and Rachel Gibson following.

Butler produced a very impressive last lap to finish just six seconds before Shalene with Joanne back in third.

Rachel Gibson held fourth ahead of Pauline Thom, Jackie McMonagle, Katie Moore and Martina McMullan with the City of Derry quartet of Jackie, Hannah Shields, Anne Paul and Amy Jackson taking the team honours by just one point from Newcastle.

Mother and daughter Bridget Quinn and Pauline Thom won the F70 and F45 sections with other winnTara Malone F35, Valerie McDonagh F40, Hannah Shields F50, Catherine Moran F55, Mary Mackin F60 and Roisin Lynch F65 taking their sections

Meanwhile, Mourne Runners pair William McKee and Laura Graham scored their third successive series wins in the Born 2 Run Tullymore 10K. McKee finished a minute ahead of Gerard Heaney with Paul Carroll third while Laura looked strong as she came in ahead of Louise Smith and Catherine O’Connor.