NI & Ulster Senior XC Championships – Lurgan
The Northern Ireland and Ulster Senior Cross Country Championships were held at Lurgan Park on St Valentine’s Day, 2015, where conditions were benign. However, despite the date there was little love lost between competing teams or even within the Orangegrove camp.
In the ladies event (6k) Leann Gibson (25.08) ran superbly well to bag twenty points in the championship race, despite losing the sole of her shoe on the second lap. Nevertheless, the ever strong Emma McWilliams still leads the ladies championship (62 points) to Julie McKimm (50 points).
On the day Julie finished second OAC lady (27.48) with Emma (28.15) in third place. So, Emma’s lead at the top of the table has been reduced by a couple of points. Not much else has changed dramatically. Sharon Dickenson has moved up into third place, the ever improving Verity Cornford maintains fifth place and the always consistent Jill Holland still holds on to sixth place. A great run at Lurgan by Louise Browne has elevated her up the chart significantly to eighth place.
Sharon Corken and Lisa Fleming have also improved their positions by a few notches. Kathryn Morrow has entered the fray with a loud bang and a puff of smoke and both Sharon McFarland and Linda Craig are making steady progress and continue to be the most photographed pair in Ulster athletics.
Garry Morrow (43.17) ran superbly well to lead the Orangegrove gallants home in the gruelling 12k men’s race (47th place overall). However, following Lurgan there has been a change at the top of the OAC table with Thomas Leitch (44.51), second OAC finisher, taking over by a few points from Andy McIntyre (46.58). On the day Paul Woodman (46.13) ran very well to finish third of the OAC contingent with Andy McIntyre in fourth place. Des Fahy ran very strongly to finish fifth, and the unassuming, but talented, Tim Robinson was sixth Orangegrover home.
Stephen Anderson’s tough marathon training schedule paid a dividend on the day and he led home a group which also consisted of Brian Todd and Michael O’Donoghue. Stephen Hamilton has competed in all championship events to date and is poised on 31 points (9th place). Both Martin O’Brien and Darren Houston are also comfortably placed in the championship table.
Of course, there is no room for complacency. It will likely be ‘all change’ within the week… Armagh is just around the corner. Big question… who will make their way down to The Orchard County?