McKinstry to take centre stage at Ballyclare

Mark McKinstry.
Mark McKinstry.

Mark McKinstry and the Foyle Valley club take centre stage at today’s 81st McConnell Shield Cross Country promoted by East Antrim Harriers at Sixmilewater Park, Ballyclare, WRITES DAVE McKIBBIN.

McKinstry from North Belfast was an impressive winner at Comber after a battle with Willowfield’s Brian Campbell who is expected to run today in what will be an exciting clash.

Scott Rankin and Chris McGuinness spearhead the Foyle Valley team who are leading after two rounds of the Athletics Northern Ireland League. They will feature along with Chris Madden and Seamus Lynch who were both impressive at the Bobby Rea meeting.

Emma Mitchell was the very confident winner at Jordanstown and the former Junior International from Banbridge will be hot favourite for a repeat.

Rachel Gibson and Jessica Craig both from North Down will be medal chasers along with Shalene McMurray of Newcastle who finished between them at Jordanstown. Rebecca Henderson from Dromore will also go well.

The action starts at 1.30pm.

Also 1,000 young athletes will be competing at Stranorlar tomorrow in the Northern Ireland and Ulster Uneven Age Group Championships.

Oisin Gallen of Finn Valley second last year can win the U19 Boys while Clodagh O’Reilly of Annalee should retain the Girls crown from a field including U18 champion Amy Hamill, Edel Monaghan, Toni Moore and Aife McSherry.

Niamh Heaney and Enya Haigney both from Omagh can repeat their top two places in Jordanstown in the U17 Girls while club mate Sean Corry the U16 winner goes against Eoin McCann and Patrick McNiff second and third last year in the Boys.

In the younger age groups athletes to watch include David Smith and Oisin Farren of Letterkenny at U15, Oisin Kelly Finn Valley U13, Cara Laverty City of Derry and Victoria Lightbody City of Lisburn in U13 Girls and at U11 Hannah Murray Finn Valley, Ashleigh McArdle Strabane/Lifford and Boyd Russell Olympian will be front runners.

The meeting opens at 11.30am and finishes with the Novice Championships where Paddy Robb and James Smyth from St Malachys face Conal McCambridge North Belfast in the Mens and Amy McDaid and Hannah Magowan lead City of Derry in the Ladies.

p The IAAF ethics commission has brought disciplinary charges against four men, including the son of former president Lamine Diack and the former head of its anti-doping department, amid the corruption crisis engulfing international athletics.

Papa Massata Diack, Valentin Balakhnichev, Alexei Melnikov, and Gabriel Dolle have been charged with various alleged breaches of the IAAF code of ethics.

Their cases will be heard at a hearing in London on December 16-18.