There was another bumper turnout of harriers on saturday for the NI and Ulster senior cross country championships at Greenmount Antrim with highlights of the day being Breege Connolly and the ladies team both convincingly winning gold medals as well as the continuing enthusiasm of new members to represent their club irrespective of the fields they’re up against. Pictures can be found here
Three harriers donned the northern ireland vest to not only compete locally but on the international scene. Julie Turley from Dromore started as early favourite for the local title but Breege had other ideas and took the lead from early on to hold on for a convincing win. In doing so she not only won the local race but took a few scalps of some good international runners.
Next up was Cathy McCourt who had a strong race to finish 4th local overall with Sharon Trimble-Bird finishing 6th and Claire Connor completing the scoring in 17th place for a comprehensive team victory with 12 points to spare over closest rivals North Down.
Angela Burns had a good run for 21st place with Claire Prenter not far behind in 25th. Club secretary Jenni Bill avoided footwear issues for 28th while new members Athanasia Sevastika, Nuala Muldoon and Michaela Murphy all took part in their second ever cross country and had strong races for 34th and 35th.
This also gave the team maximum points in the NI cross country league with full points for winning and full points for turnout with ten competitors.
Scullion third / men fourth
In the mens race a twenty strong contingent of harriers took part with the numbers meaning both A and B teams could be fielded.
At the front of the race Stephen Scullion raced into an early lead of the local pack building a significant gap over the first two laps however unfortunately Joe McAllister and Andrew Agnew worked together to claw this back with Stephen eventually finishing third. Next up there was the usual battle between Alan O’Hara and Connor Magill with Alan winning out for 30th overall and Connor finishing 36th.
Alan McCullough, Neil Carty and Darryl Blair packed very tightly to complete the scoring and finish 50th, 52nd and 54th respectively.
Newer members Andrew Considine and Simon Reeve have been taking to cross country like a duck to water and had great races for 73rd and 77th respectively with Laurence Johston next in 89th and Travis Todd winning out in a spectacular sprint finish for 89th.
Alan Ritchie had a run-in with a barbed wire fence but still managed to finish 94th with Matt Shields and Eddie Cooke in 95th and 96th respectively. Tony McNulty showed good strength for 111th while recent recruit Mark Shields pipped Robert Irvine for 123rd with Robert winning out in a 6 lap battle with local vet Robert Wilson.
Greg McClure was next in his second runout of the day for 126th with Lance Breen enjoying another cross country race to finish just behing in 129th.
Gerry Gribbon and Paul Williams , in his cross country debut, both had solid races finishing 134th and 135th respectively.
In the U17 race Conal McCambridge had a great race among a high quality field to finish 32nd overall and 9th local while in the primary school races large numbers of harriers represented their schools giving Jimmy Nolan the day off.
Despite the adverse weather conditions and the cross country later in the day the waterworks still continued to show large numbers with 160 turning out.
For the harriers Martin Rea took the run in as part of his long run winning in 18:08 with Paul Jenkins and David Brady 3rd and 4th respectively in 18:17 and 18:20. Stephen Walker finished 9th in 19:48 with Eoin McQuillan finishing 14th in 20:20.
Greg McClure had his first outing of the day for 22nd place with John Lavery, Killian Woods and Damien Gill finishing 34th, 36th and 37th respectively. Mannix McAllister finished 41st with Aidan O’Reilly making his comeback for 51st and Joe Beattie and Darragh McNairney finishing 83rd and 87th.
Regular Jim Clinton finished 103rd with young Aaron McCann in 134th and youth coach Jimmy Nolan in 145th.