Spartans Team Race Double in Gransha

The cold, windy and sometimes wet conditions at Saturday’s North West Cross Country in Gransha saw Springwell Running Club’s Neil Johnston and North Down AC’s Rachel Gibson deliver emphatic individual wins in the featured Open 6K race as promoting club City of Derry Spartans were equally emphatic male and female team race winners bagging the Bobby Farren Senior and Brendan Duddy Senior Perpetual Cups respectively.
Rachel Gibson, who is currently teaching in the city’s Thornhill College, was always in command and finished 42 seconds clear of club-mate Katie Moore with Armagh AC’s Natalie Hall a further 21 seconds in arrears in third place. Despite that impressive start it was the local Spartans quartet of Angeline McShane 4th, Cara Laverty 5th, Amy Jackson 6th and Jackie McMonagle 9th , who raced to an easy team victory ahead of North Belfast Harriers, North Down and Armagh AC.

Photos Credit to Fintan Stewart

Neil Johnston was always prominent in a leading five-strong group, with defending champion North Belfast Harrier’s Mark McKinstry, Craig McMeechan of North Down AC and local duo Declan Reed and Allan Bogle. Bogle and then Reed dropped off the pace as Johnston and McKinstry upped the tempo before Johnston made the winning move on the final lap to grind out a 21 second win from McKinstry who just held off the fast finishing McMeechan.

The Spartans packed well in the 6 to score team race, with Reed 4th, Bogle 5th, Sean Melarkey 11th, Emmett McGinty 12th, Noel Logan 17th and 15 year old Daniel Devenney scoring on his first senior team 28th, to seal the deal comfortably clear of Foyle Valley, led home by Marty Gallagher in 7th, and followed by North Down AC, Willowfield Harriers and Springwell Running Club.

Written by Gerry Lynch