STORMONT CROSS COUNTRY on SATURDAY
On Saturday both East Down seniors and Juniors were in action at Stormont, one of the most popular venues in the cross country season and happily reinstated as a Cross Country League fixture.
JUNIORS OUT IN FORCE
East Down juniors contributed significantly to the huge numbers in the primary school races which set the programme of races in motion. With 106 boys in the Boys race Ollie Robinson did well to take 19th place, while still recovering from a bout of flu, with younger brother Alex and Kieran Trainor providing excellent support in 28th and 36th places respectively.
ERIN PROVES A TOUGH NUT
The Girls provided an even bigger turnout with 131 going to post and were lead home by Jodi Foster, an eyecatching 5th place, followed by sister Kari in 18th and Emily Burns in 33rd The heroine of the day however proved to be Erin Moore who fell and was trampled on and spiked but got up to finish in 52nd place. Was she put off by this experience? Not if her post race comment is anything to go by as she said she loves cross country and she’ll be back for more at the next one! Great stuff Erin, you’re an inspiration.
UNDER 13 GIRLS
With Kirsti Foster, Anna Gardiner and Lucy Foster finishing in 3rd 4th and 5th respectively the East Down squad were an impressive bunch.
UNDER 15 BOYS and UNDER 17 BOYS AND GIRLS
Where do all the Boys go might well be the common lament of East Down followers as Mackenzie Murray was once again the only Club representative in the Under 15 Boys race and he came through a tough competitive race to take 6th place, while Adam Morgan, as ever a game finisher, was the only East Down runner in the Under 17 Boys race. Edie Carroll was a similar sole representative in the Girls race and appears to be coming back to top form, taking a good 4th place.
The East Down Ladies continued their quest for honours in the Cross Country League with Alison Graham coming back for more after her debut last week declaring it a much better experience than at Comber while Liz O”Hagan was the Mud rookie this week. She said it was something she had always wanted to try and may well be back for more. That’s a definite then? Certainly the new experience on the grass for many of the ladies this year has contributed greatly to the new enthusiasm and uplift of spirits within all sections of the club this Winter. Nine turned out on Saturday and it’s a measure of how far they have come in the past 4 months that they were disappointed to lose out on 2nd place overall, just pipped by one point by Beechmount Hariers! Catherine O’Connor was the first of the East Down women to cross the finish line having worked her way through the field to 6th place and was backed up superbly by Deirdre Weatherall 16th, Aoife Cochrane 25th and Joanne Foster 30th. Joanne had an injury niggle but showed the best of team spirit by turning out nonetheless for the team. Deirdre is fast returning to top form and appears to have got the measure of cross country running, pacing her efforts to good effect while Aoife had another fantastic run going from strength to strength. The other runners were Cheryl Denvir, Alison Carroll, Liz O’Hagan, Alison Graham and Carmel Tumelty which meant an invaluable 9 points towards the league placings.
MEN OUTDO THE LADIES IN THE NUMBERS GAME
For the first time in the Cross Country League campaign East Down’s Men outnumbered the women, managing to field 12 starters, eleven of whom finished to add 11 points to the League scores. First timers Neil Andrews, Tom McClean and Chris Smith all performed well and will be back for more, the next being the final fixture in the League competition, the Senior Championships in Lurgan Park in 3 weeks time. Led as ever by the dependable Martin Willcox 39th ,the other 3 placed scorers were Dee Murray and Paul Burns, a great battle this as they were seemingly joined at the hip finishing just one second apart 63rd and 64th respectively and Neil Andrews showing he has great ability and will be seen by the club as a considerable asset to their aspirations in next year’s attempt to win the League. Davy Foster, Gavin Hynds, Mark O’Connor, Chris Smith, Paddy McDonald, Tom McClean and Gareth Amos were the other finishers, Martin Burke succumbing to a recurring shoulder injury after 2 laps. However the turnout gives the lie to the often repeated assertion that “you’ll never get 16 East Down people out for a cross country race” Certainly it will be necessary to pick up every point going and the successful clubs, which often don’t have as many members as East Down, not only pick up placed team points every week but always field 16 runners, and more.
JUNIORS AT THE NI and ULSTER INDOOR CHAMPIONSHIPS
Five juniors from the Club made the long journey to Athlone for the NI and Ulster Indoor Championships – Yes all the way to Athlone for a home championships.!!
It was not really surprising that those who did travel were weary and practically jet lagged by the time they were called on to compete, in what is undoubtedly a magnificent facility.
Lauren Madine was fancied for a medal in the 800 metres but having been unwell during the week contented herself with the Under 14 Girls Long Jump in which she did well to place 5th with a leap of 4.14m.
Ella Telford took part in the 60m and 600m heats but did not qualify for either final. Iona Bunbury competed in the 60m and 60m hurdles and the Long Jump where she placed 11th.
Declan Hampton also competed in the Under 15 Boys 60m and tried his hand at the highly technical Walk, enduring disqualification before taking a respectable 9th place in the Long Jump.
MATTHEW TAKES THE UNDER 19 400M TITLE
The only championship winner of the day was Matthew McGrattan in the Under 19 Boys 400 metres, so it’s Congratulations to him and Well Done to everyone who travelled. It was agreed that while the venue was second to none it is much too far away which dramatically reduces the number of competitors and the spectators attending.
This year’s Jimmy’s Ten on Sunday 18 March at 11.00 am is fast approaching and runners are encouraged to enter now at www.athleticsni.org. Entries are limited and will not be taken on the day as the event will reach its limit before then. Pacers will again be provided to help runners achieve their target times.
EXCITING NEWS ABOUT ROLLERCOASTER
This year’s Rollercoaster Races will be held on Saturday 10 March beginning at 12.00 noon. All schools are invited to send along as many children as they like, as there will be races on the perimeter road for children from P4 upwards, and great viewing for the teachers and parents in a totally traffic free environment. Even if schools do not send in teams, individuals can enter on the day. Further information available on www.eastdownac.co.uk or by contacting Joe Quinn on 07933214894 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org
SORROW AT PASSING OF TWO GRAND LADIES
It is with regret that we heard of the passing of two special ladies in recent weeks. Both were greatly cherished grandmothers, one in her 102nd year was grandmother of our long time junior member Miya-Rois Gaffney and the other of our enthusiastic and prolific relative newcomer Callum Kent. The members and Committee of our Club, East Down AC, extend their deepest sympathy to both families and assure them of our thoughts and prayers at this sad time. RIP
5 February 2018