Derry Track Club Athletes Excel …. Again.

Another weekend and more success for Derry Track Club athletes in Antrim, Athlone, Raphoe and even across the Atlantic at the University of Kentucky in the United States.

Conan the destroyer moves through the field at Antrim.
Conan the destroyer moves through the field at Antrim.

Conan McCaughey made his debut in Derry Track Club colours at the Antrim International Cross Country on a testing course at Greenmount College. The Stirling University student made a steady start of the 7.5K race which had been shortened by almost 2000m on account of the treacherous underfoot conditions.

Spurred on by being overlooked for the Northern Ireland selection, the tenacious Enniskillen man was soon in the thick of the action as he chased down the opposition.

through the field he ended up 20th in a top class race won by Aweke Ayalew from Bahrain from defending champion Ugandan Thomas Ayeko with Kenya’s Timothy Cheruiyot.

That placed him third of the NI finishers and ahead of two of the province’s selection.

Lily Toorish shows that took her to 10th at Antrim.
Lily Toorish shows that took her to 10th at Antrim.

Earlier in the day Lily Toorish had also impressed with a fighting 10th in the girls’ U13 race, fourth NI finisher, and only two seconds off sixth place. Victory in the race went to English visitor Femke Rosbergen from Norwich with Scotland’s Kate Richardson filling the runner-up spot.

Little man! Big heart. Ben gives chase at Antrim.
Little man! Big heart. Ben gives chase at Antrim.

Ben Mellon showed huge improvement on his performance in the same race 12 months earlier by showing aggression and determination to take a respectable 28th spot. Again the honours went across channel to Sam Almond from Penrith in the Lake District.

Meanwhile the DTC trackies were in action at an indoor meeting in Athlone where Matt Doherty’s 1:58.88 stood out. That came just six days after a 15:56 clocking for 5K on the road.

Matt Doherty is showing good early season form.
Matt Doherty is showing good early season form.

Other encouraging early season marks were recorded by Tim Shiels (M40/ 2:05.51), Cathal McLaughlin (M45/ 2:08.83), Brandon Connolly (U18/ 2:09.91), Shaun Deery (2:12.24), Robert Bigger (M55/ 2:16.82 and Conor McIlveen (T37/ 2:22.50)

More success followed on Sunday with Marty Cox just losing out on the sprint to track specialist Mark Hoy at the second Lifford-Strabane 5K Series race in Raphoe.

Cox showed he is benefitting from the new training regime with a 15:54 timing.  Behind him the other DTC athletes were strengthening their positions in the overall standings – Cathal McLaughlin (M45/17:11), Kevin Connolly (M40/18:38), Chris Millar (18:42), Robert Bigger (M55/18:48), Amy McDaid (20:12), Conor McIlveen (T37/21:28) and Deirdre Haigney (F40/21:34).

That ensured that Marty Cox moved to the top of the men’s overall standings and Amy McDaid is the leading lady.  In addition  Cathal McLaughlin leads the M45s and Robert Bigger the M55s (subject to confirmation).

JP (right) gets in some track practice before his return to the United States.

Across the Atlantic JP Williamson also showed that he had lost none of his fitness over the festive season by qualifying for the NAIA Indoor Championships with a fine 8:33.49 timing for 3000m in Kentucky.






Results Antrim

Results Athlone


Derry Track Club athletes made a sensational start to the year packing four runners into the top nine places at the Carrigans 5K as well as supplying the winner of the women’s race and several age categories.

Matt Doherty moved up a gear in the final kilometre.
Matt Doherty moved up a gear in the final kilometre.

The race was first of the Lifford-Strabane AC 5K Series that attracted over 300 starters and was held in surprisingly mild conditions on a relatively flat circuit around Carrigans and St. Johnston.

Teenager Matt Doherty showed a rest over the festive season had done him no harm as he hunted down the experienced Keith Shiels over the final kilometre.

In the end the former Waterside Half Marathon winner held on by a mere four seconds with Doherty clocking an impressive 15:56 to claim the runner-up spot.

That was good enough to see the young Bogside man take an early lead in the U20 category for the three race series.

New recruit to the Green Machine Martin Cox also caught the eye with a 16:16 clocking for sixth despite a tough trail race the previous day in Tyrone.

Darragh Crossan ran most of the race in isolation but finished strongly to take seventh in 17:06. That was enough to hold off a late charge from Cathal McLaughlin who finished just 12 seconds back in ninth, claiming the prize for first over 45 to finish.

Further down the field Chris Millar showed he is getting back to his best with an 18:49 clocking for 24th. Robert Bigger was first M55 across the line with a respectable 19:00 clocking.

Kevin Connolly (18:59), Shaun Deery (19:56) and Conor McIlveen (20:30) all showed good early season form with fast early season times and high placings in their respective categories.

DTC coach Gary McGee showed his versatility by pacing Amy McDaid to victory in the women’s race. Showing no sign of any fatigue from a demanding race the previous day, the Creggan woman romped home well clear in 20:46.

Amy McDaid kicked off 2016 in style with a victory on the roads at Carrigans 5K
Amy McDaid kicked off 2016 in style with a victory on the roads at Carrigans 5K

Another new recruit Deirdre Haigney also impressed with a fourth place overall in the women’s field in 22:06 and second in the F40 age group.

Earlier Martin Cox had his first competition for four months when he finished runner-up in the third fixture of the Sperrin Harriers Winter League held at the An Créagan Centre in Tyrone.

Cox covered the demanding course in 28:42, finishing seven seconds behind the winner and league leader Michael Crawley. Amy McDaid (35:59) was seventh in the women’s race.

Across in Scotland Derry Track Club member Conan McCaughey was in action at the Great Edinburgh Cross Country. The Stirling University student was representing Scotland East Region and finished 21st in the men’s 8K race.