Mark McKinstry and Jessica Craig dominate proceedings at McConnell Shield XC 2018!

84th McConnell Shield XC 2018:

Strong front running performances from Mark McKinstry (North Belfast Harriers) and Jessica Craig (North Down AC) saw the talented pairing emerge victorious from their respective races at the 84th annual McConnell Shield XC (Saturday 3rd November 2018).

The long standing fixture, hosted by East Antrim Harriers , took place in Sixmilewater Park in Ballyclare.

In the Ladies and Veteran 60+ Men’s 3 mile event, Northern Ireland international Jessica Craig claimed a gun to tape victory.  On the whistle, Jessica moved to the front and dominated throughout.  Early on, Laura Bickerstaff (Dromore AC) and  Amy Bulman (Willowfield Harriers) occupied the remaining podium places, with a strong group headed by young City of Derry AC athlete Cara Laverty in pursuit.

As the race progressed, Jessica increased her lead at the front before eventually taking a well-deserved win in 17:31 (1st place).  Laura followed in 18:11 for 2nd place, before Cara Laverty secured the final podium spot after emerging from the chasing pack to cross the line in 18:26 (3rd place).  North Belfast Harriers athlete Laurence Johnston led the Vet60+ athletes home in 17:57 (1st place); this was enough to see Laurence finish second overall.

In the Senior and Veteran Men’s 5 mile race, Mark McKinstry picked up his first ever win at the event; his local cross country race.  This was after a dominant performance – the North Belfast Harriers man took to the front immediately and relentlessly covered the tough five lap course.  Despite a similarly impressive performance from Glaslough Harriers’ Conor Duffy, it was Mark who broke the tape first, clocking 25:33 for 1st place.  Conor crossed the line in 26:00 (2nd place) to secure the runners up prize, before City of Derry AC’s Noel Logan completed the top three in 26:59 (3rd place).

In the junior races which kicked off the excellent race programme, Charlie Curley (Mid Ulster AC) and Catherine Martin (Loughview AC) won the Under 14 race, while Joel Chambers and Sophie McCluney (Ballymena & Antrim AC) sealed victory in the Under 16 event.

Full results for the event will be added as soon as they are available.  Times above are PROVISIONAL only.