ATHLETICS: High hopes for Ulster runners in Celtic Challenge

Fionnuala McCormack.
Fionnuala McCormack.

There is big Northern Ireland interest in Saturday’s Edinburgh Cross Country International, which includes the Celtic Challenge.

Kerry O’Flaherty joins Laura Crowe, John Travers and Eoin Everard on the Irish Relay team, which has high hopes of medals.

In the Celtic International, the Girls U17s led by Omagh pair Niamh Heaney and Enya Haigney look good as do the U20 Men with James Edgar, Craig McMeechan, Eoin McCann and Oisin Gallen along with the U23 line-up Jonny Whan, Paddy Robb and Conor Gallagher.

Clodagh O’Reilly, Laura Gardiner, Edel Monaghan and Toni Moore are strong in the U20 Girls, Rebekah Nixon, Katie Moore and Zoe Carruthers are in the U23s while Sean Corry leads the U17 Boys.

Double European champion Fionnuala McCormack, scheduled for Greenmount next Saturday, is on the European team in the Senior Women’s Race.

Meanwhile, the third round of the Sperrin Harriers Winter League Trail Series will be held on Saturday at An Creagan Forest between Cookstown and Omagh, starting at 12noon.

Mark McKinstry can follow up his Glenariff success with another victory. Davagh winner Gavin Corey and Michael Crawley represent the promoting club while Martin Cox, Conor Reed and Alex Brennan can also secure high positions.

Karen Alexander should follow her third at Greencastle with a win here. Series leader Emma Rice, Denise Ward, Sharon Leetch and Paula Arthur-McCarthy will be competitive while Anne Paul could go close to the podium.

Finally, the Moira Cross Country scheduled for Saturday has been called off due to the waterlogged conditions at the Demense.

The City of Lisburn AC promoters said that they had no alternative but to follow the advice of the park staff as more rain is forecast. It is unfortunate as the race is a good warm-up for the Greenmount International next week.