Top entry set for North West Cross Country Championships at Gransha

Conor Bradley will compete at Gransha
Conor Bradley will compete at Gransha

Defending champion Alan Bogle will be bidding for a repeat as he leads the City of Derry Spartans in Saturday’s North West Cross Country Championships at Gransha.

The meeting, which includes the sixth round of the Athletics Northern Ireland League, has attracted big entries in all categories.

Bogle, who recently ran second in the Comber Cup, will face strong opposition from his own team with former Seeley Cup winner Conor Bradley, Malcolm Cup runner up Declan Reed, Emmett McGinty and JP Williamson all expected to run.

Scott Rankin, second in the Seeley and Springwell races, heads the Foyle Valley squad which includes the very impressive Chris McGuinness and Pius McIntyre while there is a chance that 2013 Waterside winner Keith Shiels will return after injury.

Alan O’Hara, third at Gransha last year, and Mark McKinstry will be in North Belfast colours while Seamus Lynch, fourth in the Malcolm will go for Newcastle.

Former All Ireland marathon champion Padraig McKinney will represent Inishowen while runaway Horwill winner Philip Tweedie will head Springwell.

Newcastle are the league leaders by eight points over City of Derry with Springwell, North Belfast and North Down disputing third.

The Ladies race is building up to be a battle between tri-athlon stars.

Olympian Aileen Reid has shown her cross country form recently with sweeping victories at Jordanstown and Ballyclare.

Eimear Mullan from Springwell is also a top tri-athlete. She won at the Springwell meeting before scoring a runaway success as she retained her title at the Malcolm Cup.

Cathy McCourt is a former winner here. She came second at both the McConnell and Malcolm meetings.

North Belfast team-mate, Gladys Ganiel the reigning champion is a possible starter.

North Down have a very strong pairing in Rachel Gibson and Jessica Craig while Orangegrove’s Jenny Black and Cathy O’Connor of East Down can also feature.

City of Derry with Aileen Reid joined by Marina Campbell, Jackie McGinley and junior star Amy Jackson leads Springwell by just one point. Eimear Mullan heads Springwell who includes Sonia Knox, Gemma Turley and Alison Rankin.

The timetable is: 11:40am Primary Boys and Girls 1K; 11:50am U13 Boys and Girls 1K; 12noon U15 Boys and Girls 2K; 12:15pm U17 Boys and Girls 3K; 12:35pm Men and Women Open Senior, Masters and U20 6K.