Derry City Track Club athletes made their mark on their first visit to the Rathfarnham 5K Road Race in Dublin (writes Darragh Crossan). Almost 1100 faced the starter early last Sunday morning with the DCTC green and black vests prominent from the start.
Matt Doherty and Darragh Crossan both settled into the main chasing pack as Irish international John Travers broke away from the gun. Doherty went through the £3K mark in a super fast 9:12 before coming home in 15:47.
That was not only a personal best by over half a minute but good enough to lift the prize for second Junior (U20) to finish. The time also put the 18-year-old at the top of the Northern Ireland rankings for the year in his age group and he is likely to stay there with the road season almost complete.
Club captain Darragh Crossan made even more significant inroads with a 16:13 timing, chopping almost a minute off his previous best. That improved on a mark he had set three years previously and had stood despite a number of close calls in the interim.
Both Doherty and Crossan will now set their focus on the cross country with the Ulster Novice being top of their agenda. They will form the backbone of the club’s assault on team medals.
Gareth McGee showed glimpses of his old magic with a 17:55 timing which was good enough to leave him sixth in the M45 category. Another man who is key to DCTC’s Ulster Novice ambitions, Shaun Deery, also recorded a new personal best of 18:22 and showed signs that there is a lot more to come.
Derry City’s only female athlete on the day, Hannah Mc Gowan, was also in top form with a 19:27 clocking that left her well placed in the women’s field. The DCU student has improved consistently over the summer and should feature prominently during the upcoming cross country season.
Newly-crowned British Paralympic 800m champion Conor Mc Illveen showed the extra distance caused him no problem with a highly respectable 19:34 time while club coach Malcolm Mc Causland rounded off a good day for the Derry club with a third place finish in the M60 category in a time of 20:25.
Derry City Track Club is back in action this weekend when it fields teams in three races of the four races at the Northern Ireland Road Relays at Victoria Park in Belfast. The Masters’ Men team carries best hope of medals with Tim Shiels making a welcome return from injury to boost the squad that contests the 4 x 3300m event.
Adrian Boyle takes time out from moving home to run the opening leg before handing over to Shiels, current British Indoors 800m champion, for the second stint. Gary McGee is named for the third leg after an impressive performance in Dublin last weekend.
European Indoors 1500m silver medallist Cathal McLaughlin will run the key final leg. Although NI champions on the track in 2014, a team medal here would be a first for Derry City Track Club in only its second full year of competition.
Matt Doherty and Darragh Crossan head the senior men’s team while Hannah McGowan and Amy McDaid join debutant Helen Stockdale in the women’s 3 x 3300m race.