Provincial 10,000m Titles for Bamber and Hughes

6 July 2019

Kerry Bamber and Eoin Hughes claimed the respective NI & Ulster 10,000m championships at a sunny Meadowbank track in Magherafelt. Bamber created her own piece of history in becoming the first athlete from the Ballymena Runners’ Club to lift a senior provincial title.  She took up the lead from the gun and quickly distanced herself from last year’s bronze medallist Aisling Murray. The gap increased as the race progressed before the stylish 31-year-old crossed the finish line in 38:00.14.

Kerry in Control.

It was a satisfying day for Bamber’s coach Robert McGaughey who has had to overcome serious health issues in the past number of years without ever giving up his duties at the Ballymena club. Murray, from the Carmen Runners club, went on to take the silver medal, an upgrade from a bronze in 2018, recording a personal best 39:18.2. City of Lisburn’s Eimear McCracken took third in 40:56.2.  

Eoin Hughes

In contrast Eoin Hughes allowed his cousin and Acorns AC clubmate Vincent McKenna to set the early pace before taking command to win comfortably in 32:43.1.  Hughes’s victory emulated that of his father, who was fourth on this occasion, in the same race 30 years earlier. McKenna lapped solidly to hold on to second in 32:52.2 while behind him Letterkenny’s Conor Gallagher claimed his first ever provincial medal with a 33:54.2 timing.

Michael McKillop in the 1500m

Paralympic champion Michael McKillop chose the low-key meeting to make his debut for the season which he hopes will culminate in another gold medal at the World Para Athletics championships in Dubai next November. The North Belfast Harrier made all the running to come home well clear of the field in a credible 4:17.62 mark. (all times per ANI website).

Ben Mellon (right) continued his upward trajectory over the metric mile with a fine fourth place.

Elsewhere Fionnuala McCormack was the best of the Irish at the European 10,000m Cup at the Parliament Hill track in Northwest London.  The Kilcoole athlete finished an impressive fifth in 32:05.29 behind the winner Stef Twell who was running for her club Aldershot and broke the tape in 31:08.13. Eilish McColgan was third in 31:16.76 and led the British women to team victory. 

Ireland’s other two counters were Letterkenny’s Ann-Marie McGlynn (33:38.50) and Aoibhe Richardson (33:41.15). Other Ulster athletes Emma Mitchell (34:12.24) and Fionnuala Ross (34:25.78) also turned in creditable marks. Newcastle’s Ryan Forsyth (29:01.37) was the best of the Irish representatives in the men’s races as individual victor Yemaneberhan Crippa (27:49.79) also led Italy to the team title. Local athletes Declan Reed (31:15.63), Scott Rankin (31:19.14) and Eoghan Totten (30:21.50) all recorded good marks for the distance.

Kate O’Connor and Ellen McCartney were two of the stars at an exciting National U20 and U23 Championships at Tullamore. O’Connor, who lives in Dundalk but is eligible to represent NI, set a new Junior record with a 48.98m throw in the Javelin. City of Lisburn’s Ellen McCartney added a centimetre to the U23 Pole Vault with a 4.01m clearance. Kenyan Gideon Kimosop (71:24) and Louise Smith (83:21) were the winners of the half marathon at yesterday’s Great Rossa Run. Tommy Hughes (34:14) and Ailsa Small (40:27) claimed top spots in the 10K while Darrell McKee (16:54) and Claire McAtamney (21:03) were the best of category in the 5K race.