Newcastle Men hold narrow lead going into penultimate Northern Ireland Cross Country League test

Emmett McGinty
Emmett McGinty

The penultimate round of the hugely popular Athletics Northern Ireland Cross Country League is being held at Stormont Estate on Saturday, with the Civil Service event expected to be hotly contested.

Newcastle Men have a narrow lead over City of Derry Spartans after the first seven meetings while City of Derry are just one point in front of Springwell in the Ladies after continually changing places.

Seamus Lynch will lead the Newcastle line-up. He is in tremendous form, taking third in the Fermanagh Cross Country last weekend. David Steele, Paul Carlin and David O’Flaherty will also be in action.

Northern Ireland Masters champion and Fermanagh winner Declan Reed is expected to head the City of Derry squad which will include Emmett McGinty and Noel Logan. North Belfast are expected to field Mark McKinstry, Alan O’Hara and Eamon White while Lisburn’s Chris Madden and Stephen Wylie of North Down will also go well.

The Acorns side have been moving up the table and with Darrell McKee, Aaron Meharg and Glenn Donnelly all running well will be attempting to take third from Springwell.

The Ladies’ race will be a thriller, particularly if Intermediate champion Laura Hasson from Springwell and Fermanagh winner Karen Alexander, of Acorns, go head-to-head.

Heather Foley and Lauren Quee, the top two at Moira, can add to the mix. Lagan Valley girl Quee came second in the Intermediates.

City of Derry will have Jackie McGinley, Angelina McShane and Sara Kivelehan. while Springwell will have the impressive Sonia Knox.

The programme starts with Primary races at 11am with the Open and Masters Men and Women at 12:20pm. Registration is at the Civil Service Pavilion, Upper Newtownards Road, from 9:30am.

The leading league positions are:

Men: Newcastle, 97; City of Derry, 90; Springwell, 59; Acorns, 52; Foyle Valley, 42; North Down, 40; North Belfast, 37.

Women: City of Derry, 101; Springwell, 100; Acorns, 49; North Down, 39; Foyle Valley, 37.

Meanwhile, on Saturday and Sunday the Northern Ireland and Ulster Age Group Indoor Championships will be held at the Meadowbank Sports Arena at Magherafelt starting at 10am.

Toni Moore and Sean Corry from Omagh, Emma Hutchinson from Ballymena and Antrim, Rebekah Nixon Dromore, Sean Terek Lisburn and Lois Hagen Willowfield will be among the athletes to watch.