22 February 2017

Lily Toorish had her best run of the season to date in taking a bronze medal at the Milk-It Ulster Schools’ Cross Country Championships at Mallusk.

Lily with her bronze medal.

cold north-westerly did not detract from a keen afternoon’s competition at the Milk-It Ulster Schools’ Cross Country Championships. Over 1000 young athletes converged at the Mallusk playing fields to fight out provincial titles as well as gain qualification for the Irish finals next month.

Lily was just outside the medals on completion of the small first lap but quickly moved into third as the leaders headed out into the country for the second and final long lap.

The St. Cecilia’s pupil was still in contention for second as she entered the homestraight but lost out to rival Libby Maloney.  Strathearn’s Amelia Kane was a runaway winner of the race.

Fintan Stewart

Fintan Stewart showed some fine tactical acumen to land the Senior Boys’ title. The Lumen Christi, Derry runner was assisted by the absence of defending champion James Edgar who broke an arm in a cycle accident in the days leading up to the championships.

Stewart moved away from what was a leading pack of four on the last lap to come home clear of Banbridge Academy’s Patrick McNiff with Bangor Grammar’s Craig McMeechan grabbing the bronze medal late in the race.

Rebekah Nixon looked strong as she powered to a win in

Rebekah Nixon wins from Toni Moore.

the Senior Girls’ competition but the Banbridge Academy girl was pushed all the way to the line by a determined Toni Moore.  In turn the Sacred Heart, Omagh student had to keep an eye over her shoulder as Ballyclare High’s Emma Hutchinson produced a strong finish behind her.

Omagh CBS pupil Sean Corry turned in a masterful performance to lift the Intermediate Boys’ crown. Corry kept his powder dry in the early part of the trip before asserting his authority in the later stages. St. Colman’s Jack O’Farrell held off a late challenge from the St. Columb’s Oran Gartland to retain the runner-up spot.

The Intermediate Girls’ race lived up to its billing with a quality line-up disputing the medal places.  The in-form Murphy Miller emerged clear after some early shuffling of places and the Strathearn pupil was able to build on her advantage to the finish line. Ballymena Academy’s Katie Agnew and Loreto Coleraine’s Niam Carr proved strongest of the chasing pack to claim the minor medals.

Armagh Grammar’s Joseph Haynes came out tops in a competitive Junior Boys’ competition with Methody’s Matthew Smyth and St. Malachy’s Daniel McComiskey filling the other podium places.

Grosvenor College’s Dylan McBride also strolled away from the opposition in the Minor Boys’ championship. Omagh CBS pupil Conor McGillion fought hard to hold off Deele College’s Oisin Toye for the silver medal.

Similarly, Wallace High’s Victoria Lightbody was a class apart in the contemporary girls’ age group, easily seeing off the challenge of Thornhill’s Cara Laverty. Bangor Academy’s Hope McBride was a somewhat distant third.

The Mini Boys’ title went to Lumen Christi’s Oisin Colhoun who 12 months earlier had won the primary schools’ race on the same course. Nendrum College’s Joel Chambers was second with Daniel Playfair from Bangor Grammar in the bronze medal spot.

St. Catherine’s Ella Haynes made the journey from Armagh to win the Mini Girls’ race, did

tancing herself in the later stages from Loreto, Coleraine’s Niamh McGarry and Methody’s Eva Kissenpfennig.

The first three teams in the older age groups as well as the top 15 individuals in each race can now look forward to renewing hostilities with their Southern counterparts when the Irish Schools’ Championships are hosted at the same venue on March 11.

Other DTC athletes in action included Kayla McLaughlin (19th – Senior Girls), Ben Mellon (37th – Junior Boys) and Sean McIntyre (43rd – Intermediate Boys).  Kayla was running up an age group as she is only a first year Intermediate.


28 January 2017

“I’ll run myself into the hospital if that what it takes to win this title,” were the last words of Conán McCaughey before he went to the start line.

Occasional passing showers did not detract from an excellent afternoon of sport at the NI/Ulster Masters’ & Intermediate Cross Country Championships in Gransha Park, Derry.

Honours were fairly evenly distributed throughout the province as runners from Enniskillen, Bangor, Derry and Belfast grabbed the individual glory while North Belfast, Finn Valley and Letterkenny were the winning clubs.

 Conán McCaughey was the impressive winner of the feature event, the men’s Intermediate, over a ten kilometre distance. After finishing runner-up for the past two years the Enniskillen man, who races in the colours of Derry Track Club, was determined to be never again the bridesmaid.

McCaughey shared the pace for most of the distance with Mourne Runners’ William McKee after North Belfast’s Conal McCambridge had dropped out of contention. But when it came down to the last lap there was only one winner in McCaughey’s mind – and that was him!

A surge with a mile to run saw him steal a precious ten metres which he quickly extended to 20 and then suddenly he was gone as McKee gave up the chase. From there the Ernesider was able to savour his victory on the same course where he first come to prominence just over three years earlier in winning the Ulster Novice title.

Paul Barbour showed that he will be a force this year with an excellent 8th while Shane McGowan (25th) and David Gormley (33rd) laboured manfully over the extended 10km distance.  Cathal McLaughlin worked his way through to 44th and Adrian Boyle impressed with his 52nd spot.

Andy Maguire, Conor “Big Dog” McIlveen and David Mellon all provided valuable support to the scoring six and will benefit from the experience.  Coach Kevin Connolly is also to be commended on his support and succour to the team.

Acorns packed extremely well to take the silver medals for the third year in a row ahead of hosts City of Derry.  The DTC squad, to the last man, worked their socks off to complete a scoring team for the first time in these championships.  No medals on this occasion but with this level of commitment, the rewards will come in the future.

No medals but loads of commitment from the DTC men’s squad pictured here with the backup team.

Amy Bulman may have made a late start to the sport but she showed she is catching up fast with a gutsy victory in the Master women’s race over four kilometres. The Willowfield Harrier threw down the gauntlet from the gun before going to quell all challenges. Letterkenny’s Fionnuala Diver finished strongly for second with Cathy McCourt adding to her already impressive medal collection by lifting the bronze on this occasion.

Marina Murphy had an excellent race to take fourth (3rd F35).

Derry Track Club’s Marina Murphy was unfortunate to miss out on an individual after chasing the front three throughout the four kilometre distance.  Behind her Elaine Connor (26th) showed she continues to improve with every race while Lisa McLaughlin (33rd) finished strongly to pass several other runners on the long homestraight.

The girls did Derry Track Club proud with a sixth place in the team listings. L-R: Lisa, Marina, Elaine and Deirdre.

Deirdre Haigney gamely turned out despite recent health issues and impressed with a creditable 46th to round off the scoring quartet.  DTC finished an excellent sixth in the team competition – a magnificent achievement on their first attempt – and ahead of more established clubs.

Intermediate Men Team Listings
1 Finn Valley 107 
2 Acorns 125 
3 COD Spartans 129 
4 Derry Track Club 163 
5 Springwell 203 
6 North Belfast 242 
7 Newcastle 275 
8 V and Connswater 332

Women's Team Listings
1 North Belfast 57 
2 Ballydrain Hrs 62 
3 Letterkenny 84 
4 Foyle Valley 89 
5 Finn Valley 94 
6 Derry Track Club 109 
7 COD Spartans 116
8 Lagan Valley 137 
9 North Down 156 
10 Inishowen 222