Irish Life AAI National Senior, Junior and Juvenile (Even Age Group) XC Championships 2018:
Portaferry starlet Ciara Mageean (UCD AC / Steve Vernon) picked up her first AAI National Senior XC gold medal as Northern Ireland ladies dominated the Abbotstown podium (Sunday 25th November 2018).
Ciara was joined on the Senior Ladies rostrum by Ann-Marie McGlynn (Letterkenny AC / Colin Roberts) and Fionnuala Ross (Amragh AC / Dermot Kerr) as senior, junior and juvenile athletes from Northern Ireland and Ulster impressed at the Irish Life AAI National XC Championships.
The aforementioned local trio pushed the pace for much of the 8,000m race, breaking clear with Ciara leading the way with Fionnuala and Ann-Marie chasing.
AAI National 800m and 1500m Champion Ciara broke the tape first, covering the purpose built course in 28:02 (1st place). Ann-Marie followed in 28:05 for 2nd place, also cementing her place on the Ireland team for next months Euro XC; the first two finishers are automatically selected.
Scotland based Fionnuala completed the top three and a clean sweep of the podium for Northern Ireland athletes as she finished in 28:08 for 3rd place.
Speaking to Athletics Ireland after the race, Ciara said “I’m delighted. I’ve had a good year – I suppose probably the best year for National titles for me.”
The Team NI Commonwealth Games athlete added, “To get out on the grass and in my first National title is a pretty special moment, so I’m absolutely delighted.”
Following a podium finish here and a runners-up spot at the recent Autumn International XC, Fionnuala Ross should also join Ciara and Ann-Marie on the Euro XC team, which will be confirmed by Athletics Ireland in the coming days.
Newcastle AC’s Kerry O’Flaherty (6th place), Finn Valley AC’s Teresa Doherty (7th place) and City of Derry AC’s Breege Connolly (10th place) all finished inside the top ten.
Ann-Marie McGlynn’s performance helped her Letterkenny AC (2nd place) team to silver medals in the ladies team competition, while North Down AC collected bronze medals after taking 3rd place. The ladies team gold medals went to Leevale AC.
In the Senior Men’s 10,000m race, which was won by Raheny Shamrock AC man Kevin Dooney in 30:07 (1st place), recently crowned British & Irish Masters XC Champion Mark McKinstry (North Belfast Harriers / Gregory Walsh) led the local athletes home in 31:42 for 15th place.
In the associated AAI National Even Age Group XC Championships, there were gold medals for Jack McCausland (City of Lisburn AC), Fionn McNamara (Annalee AC) and the Lagan Valley AC Under 18 Girls team of Rebecca Wallace, Aoife McGreevy, Khara Edgar and Sophie Senior.
City of Derry AC’s Cara Laverty (Under 16), Willowfield Harriers’ Dylan McBride (Under 16) and St Malachy’s AC’s Conall McClean (Under 18) all claimed well-deserved silver medals, while East Down AC’s Under 14 Girls and Finn Valley AC’s Under 18 Girls also collected silver medals. Letterkenny AC also claimed 3rd place in the Under 12 Boys team standings.
Olympian YC’s current NI & Ulster Age Group Champion Sean M McGinley finished in 3rd place in his Under 16 category, therefore claiming a bronze medal.
In the County competition, the County Donegal Senior Ladies took 1st place and there were 2nd place finishes for County Down (Under 14 Girls), County Donegal (Under 12 Boys and Under 16 Boys) and County Antrim (Under 18 Boys) and a 3rd place finish for County Donegal’s Under 16 Girls.
Meanwhile in the competitive Provincial tables, Ulster stuck gold in the Under 14 Girls and the Under 16 Boys categories. There were also silver medals for the Ulster team in the Under 12 Boys, Under 14 Boys, Under 16 Girls and Under 18 Girls categories, with the Ulster Under 18 Boys taking home bronze medals.
On a day of excellent competition, there was also impressive performances from Mia Fletcher (Cranford AC), Fintan Stewart (City of Derry AC), Kirsti Foster (East Down AC) and Niamh Carr (Springwell RC).
Full results for the event are available HERE.
Note: Report compiled for use by Athletics NI.