ATHLETICS: Seamus Lynch man to beat at Gransha race

Seamus Lynch
Seamus Lynch

A massive entry is expected for Saturday’s North West Cross Country Championships at Gransha in Derry.

The meeting includes the sixth round of a very popular Athletics Northern Ireland League.

North Belfast are leading the mens standings ahead of Newcastle and Acorns while North Down are well clear of Acorns and Foyle Valley in the ladies.

Declan Reed, winner for the last two years, is unfortunately suffering from injury so the mens race can be disputed by Seamus Lynch and Mark McKinstry, Neil Johnston and Conor Duffy if he enters.

Lynch came first at Cookstown and has four other rostrum positions, McKinstry retained his title at Comber while Johnston won the Malcolm after coming second in the McConnell Shield. Duffy won that race and also came first at Rostrevor.

There is a possibility that reigning senior champion Aaron Doherty may be back from Spain to represent the host club while Malcolm runner-up Scott Rankin, David O’Flaherty after his half marathon best, Emmet McGinty, Gerard Heaney, Jonny Steede, Chris McGuinness and Pius McIntryre can all feature.

Derry Track Club took gold and bronze in the Irish Novice Championship last weekend and may decide to miss the race but if they do compete JP Williamson and Conan McCaughey will be front runners.

In the ladies Catherine Whoriskey can add this race to her Ballyclare success.

North Down pair Jessica Craig and Rachel Gibson will challenge if they travel.

Jessica won at Comber, Cookstown and the Malcolm Cup while Rachel has taken three second places.

They took silver and bronze in the Championships at Dundalk.

Amy Bulman, Denise Toner, Jodi Smith and possibly Rostrevor winner Rebecca Henderson will be worth watching.

Entries will be taken on Saturday at the U3A Centre at Gransha and the timetable is: 11.30 U12 and Primary boys and girls 1,600m, 11.40 U14 boys and girls 2,500m, 11.55 U16 boys and girls 3,500m and 12.30 Open and Masters men and women 6,000m.