ATHLETICS: Paddy Hamilton victorious in McConnell’s Shield Cross Country

Paddy Hamilton.
Paddy Hamilton.

Paddy Hamilton and Emma Mitchell repeated their Jordanstown successes with sweeping victories in the 81st McConnell’s Shield Cross Country promoted by East Antrim Harriers at a very muddy Ballyclare.

Hamilton was always prominent as the huge field of 220 set out. He was at the front by half way with Comber winner Mark McKinstry, Northern Ireland champion Declan Reed, Alan Bogle, Brian Campbell, Scott Rankin and Aaron Doherty all well placed.

The decisive move came in the fourth of the five laps as Hamilton and Reed got away from the pursuers, now headed by Seamus Lynch.

It was Hamilton who proved the strong in the last half lap to come home for victory by eight seconds from Reed.

Newly crowned mountain champion Lynch took third with McKinstry, Doherty, James Hamilton, Rankin and Campbell next.

City of Derry Spartans led by Reed, Doherty and Bogle took the team prize ahead of league leaders Foyle Valley.

Former Euro Junior International Emma Mitchell looked assured as she secured a confident Ladies victory ahead of an entry of 186.

At the end of the first lap it was Banbridge girl Emma leading from Jordanstown third placer Shalene McMurray. Rachel Gibson, Joanne Mills, Heather Foley, Catherine Whoriskey and Jessica Craig were in the chasing group.

Emma increased her advantage at the bell and was 18 seconds in front of the impressive McMurray at the line.

Heather Foley came through strongly to take third with Joanne Mills, Catherine Whoriskey and Rachel Gibson making up the top six.

Gerry O’Doherty and Peter Lilburn were the top two in the M60s with Gerry Lynch looking good as he took the M70s from Davy Seaton.

Meanwhile, almost 1,000 young athletes were in action yesterday at Finn Valley, Stranorlar for the Northern Ireland and Ulster Uneven Age Group Championships.

Omagh Harriers were in tremendous form as Enya Haigney and Niamh Heaney reversed their Jordanstown placings to come first and second in the U17 Girls section.

Jack Moore won the U15 Boys with Tomas Haigney making it a family double in the U11s.

Laura Gardiner from East Down had a great win in the U19 Girls from Edel Monaghan and Toni Moore with Oisin Gallen of Finn Valley winning the Boys.

Finn Valley had more successes with Karen Gallagher at U15 Girls and Hannah Murray in U11s.

Christy Conlon of Beechmount retained his U17 Boys crown ahead of Fintan Stewart and Craig McMeechan, while Cara Laverty of City of Derry won the U13 Girls from Victoria Lightbody and Amelia Tyler, with Colin Gargan from Shercock winning the Boys.

The meeting concluded with the Novice Championships and St Malachy’s, led by Paddy Robb in first and Conor Gallagher in third, dominated the Men with Natalie Hall of Acorns winning the Ladies event from Amy McDaid of Derry City Track Club.