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North Belfast Harriers Junior Report: 5th – 11th Dec 2021


National XC Uneven Ages Finals: 5 – 11 December 2021 – Kilkenny

On a perfect sunny and crisp Winters day in the Kilkenny countryside, seven of our junior stags made the trip to the Gowran Park to participate in the National XC Uneven age finals. Each of the seven had qualified for the national finals after putting in fantastic performances at the Ulster XC Uneven finals back on the 6th of November in Donegal.

The course was firm and had lush grass throughout, more akin to the horse racing course next door! It had a downhill start that brought the runners to a challenging ‘S’ bend that snaked up a deceiving hill side, it was a course that would challenge every runner on the day.

First up was Cassie Curran in the U11 girls final with 177 runners taking part in this packed 1500m race. An incredible fast start saw several of the girls fall after tangling in the first 200m but Cassie held firm and out of trouble staying close to the front pack and gradually picking off runners in front of her before finally coming home in a fantastic 24th place and a time of 5:43 after a great finish on the home strait. The fact that Cassie was only 3 seconds behind the Ulster champion who finished in 17th says all you need to know about the talent in this race and what a great run by Cassie!


Next up was our very own Ulster U11 boys champ Cormac Leheny in the U11 boys race with 175 runners again running the same 1500m race as the girls previous. Cormac remained calm in the opening 500m as many around him got carried away with the quick pace and flying elbows and on the hill climb section he began picking off others before giving a huge push in the final 300m that saw him clinch 11th place in a time of 5:16. Cormac was also the first Ulster runner home and 11th place meant he secured a much-coveted medal ensuring smiles all round at the finish enclosure.


The next event for our Juniors involved our two U15 girls Holly Collins and Caoilann Curran in the 3500m race with 159 racing. Both girls ran their hearts out and put in great shifts in what was a very fast paced and compact race. Holly may have run hard but you wouldn’t have guessed it as she ran with a smile on her face and crossing the line in an excellent 35th place at 13:23. Caoilann came in at 14:45 in 121st place, leaving enough in the tank for a strong finish in the final 200m. Great composed running by both girls, well done!


Its was the boys turn in the U15 boys final with Max Reid and Eoin McConnell taking part in a race with 143 other runners over 3500m. Like the girls before them, the boys gave it their all. Max crossed the finish line in 12:12 in 53rd place. He dug deep on that final 1km in what was a tough race, keeping with the chasing pack for a strong finish to be proud of. Eoin then came home in 13:02 in 107th place, pacing himself consistently along the challenging course. A great experience for both boys that will definitely stand them well in the months ahead, well done lads!


Last but by no means least, it was left to Matthew Lavery to race in the U19 final with 72 runners participating over the 6,000m course. Matthew showed great patience and composure prior to the race, ensuring he watched and cheered on his clubmates in their own races long before his own. Finally, when the time came, Matthew did exactly what he did in the U19 Ulster final that he won and that that was to take the race head on and dictate the pace from the start. Like the 1/3 favourites that regularly canter home at the horseracing track next door, Matthew cruised over the finish line in 1st place at a great time of 19:11, a full 10 seconds ahead of the 2nd place finisher. A textbook run by Matthew and another inspiration for our younger runners of what can be achieved when you trust the process the coaches employ at training. Congratulations from everyone at the Club to Matthew, the new Irish U19 XC Champion, a credit to his family and the club, take a bow young man!


Waterworks Junior Parkrun – 5th December 2021

Athlete Position Time
Thomas Coy 1 8:24
Niamh McAuley 4 9:23
Niall McAuley 5 9:24
Oisin Steele 10 9:57
Eimear Coy 12 10:10
Senan Steele 14 10:22
Erin McAuley 15 10:29
Eimear O’Regan 17 11:39
Rachel Curry 20 11:55
Eva McLoughlin 21 11:56 *PB*

Well done to Thomas Coy first runner home and a special well done to Eva McLoughlin getting a new PB and taking 17 seconds off her previous best time, great running guys! Also special shout out to Niamh for pacing younger brother Niall!

Waterworks Parkrun – 4th December 2021

Athlete Position Time
Oran Steele 71 28.40
Grace McKenna 114 34.21 *PB*

Big well done to Grace McKenna who completed her second ever full Parkrun and knocking 12 seconds off her previous time.

Irwin Speirs Memorial XC – 11th December 2021 – Cookstown

Entries close at midnight on Tuesday 7th December so if interested there are entries for U10 – 400m, U12 – 800m, U14 – 1 mile and U16 – 2 mile

Entries via https://athleticsni.org/Fixtures/Cross-Country/Irwin-Speirs-Memorial-XC