ATHLETICS: Seamus Lynch looking to seal treble success at Gransha Park

Seamus Lynch
Seamus Lynch

Around 400 athletes will be in action on Saturday at Gransha Park for the North West Cross Country Championships promoted by City of Derry Spartans.

The meeting includes the sixth of the nine rounds of the Athletics Northern Ireland League with Foyle Valley, Newcastle, City of Derry, North Down, North Belfast, Acorns and Springwell all expected to be prominent.

Seamus Lynch will be going for his third victory in successive weeks. The Northern Ireland mountain champion had impressive wins in the Malcolm Cup and the Mighty Oaks events and should be favourite again.

Scott Rankin, second in the Mighty Oaks and third in the Seeley leads the Foyle Valley side which will have Chris McGuinness, Pius McIntyre and Keith Shiels.

City of Derry Spartans will be determined to win their own event.

Reigning Northern Ireland champion Declan Reed will be joined by Alan Bogle with Emmet McGinty, Aaron Doherty, Cathal Logue, Brendan Murphy and Greg Roberts all expected to run.

Mark McKinstry the winner at Comber will spearhead North Belfast along with Andrew Annett, Darrell McKee will lead Acorns with Neil McCartan, East Down, triple Northern Ireland champion Brian Campbell and Master International M50 winner Pauric McKinney other possibilities to get into the mix.

City of Derry look strong in the Ladies with Aileen Reed and Catherine Whoriskey the top two in the Malcolm expected to be prominent again. Olympic tri-athlete Aileen was given a close race at Ballyclare by Catherine and the re-match will be fascinating.

North Down will have the impressive pairing of Jessica Craig and Rachel Gibson while Greencastle winner Heather Foley, Sonia Knox, Catherine O’Connor, Rebecca Henderson and Joanne Mills will all place highly.

Euro Under 23 competitor Emma Mitchell will be a rostrum certainty if she competes while last year’s runner up Cathy McCourt will go well along with Natalie Hall and Karen Alexander.

It will be interesting if junior star Enya Haigney who beat all the established competitors in the Senior Race in Cookstown goes along with Omagh team mates Niamh Heaney and Toni Moore.

The meeting opens with Primary Schools at 11.30am and includes U13, U15 and U17 Boys and Girls events before the main Senior, Masters and U20 Men and Women 6K at 12.30pm.

Also on Saturday the Born 2 Run Forest Race in Tullymore is being held starting at 11 o’clock. William McKee and Laura Graham have been dominating the series and should win again.