Victoria Sponge and other treats at NI Relays 2012

Victoria Sponge and other treats at NI Relays

A special report by Marathon Man’s Mate
Full results

Newcastle AC athletes returned to competitive, though regrettably not winning, ways at the Victoria Park Road Relays. Three teams were expertly selected by the sagacious club road captain (can you believe they have such a thing!).

NI Relays A TeamNI Relays Teams

All was well until ‘Sicknote’ Shoey Steele was the first definite to become a maybe and ultimately a definitely not on Friday afternoon. The club’s aggressive youth policy was quickly utilised as McNeilly went scouting for boys to complete the team and ensure that three definites were denied the opportunity to lie in their beds! Recent recruit Ryan Quigley ‘manned-up’ and was duly selected without a trial or any investigation into his racing prowess. David McNeilly was promoted to the A team and harmony was restored.

Does anyone know the way – Follow the Prophet

And so it came to pass that Saturday dawned and out dirty dozen travelled in convoy – Deon using the Sat Nav, while Jerome ‘the Prophet’ needed no such device, trusting in providence to see him reach his destination and bring his disciples to their running Valhalla.

How should I run coach?

Prior to the main races, in which 54 teams took part, the ever improving 15 year old Patrick Sheridan, (an athletes with more coaches than Chambers’!) ran an impressive 9:53 for 3k to finish second to the highly rated Michael Robb from Belfast in the U17 race. Patrick’s deputy-coach Ian Brannigan commented that it was a stellar performance and evidence of the benefits that accrue from dedicated training. Unfortunately Patrick’s head coach was unavailable for comment. The three Newcastleteams turned in fine performances in the main event of the day. The A team finished a highly credible 5th overall. They were led out by Captain David O’Flaherty who certainly mixed it with the big guns. He was more than ably followed by David McNeilly, Luke McMullan and Mark Kendall who brought the baton home with some aplomb.

Re-branded Phoenix rises

The B team were never too far behind and the quartet of Captain Brendan Quail (who may be pushing for promotion to the A squad), Brendan Donnelly (a stalwart of the regular Victoria Park 5k races), Ryan Quigley and Aidan Brown equipped themselves very to finish 9th overall. The Master’s team was led by Deon McNeilly, who is pushing for selection for the NI Vet 50 Cross Country Team for the forthcoming 5 nations event at Stormont. He was ably supported by Gene McCann, The Prophet and the runner formerly known as Podge as the vets finished 8th vet team and a highly respectable 19th overall – not bad for four old codgers with an average age of almost 50 racing against relative children who have just turned 35!

There’s a lump hammer in the boot if that’s any good to you!

There is an old adage ‘what happens on tour stays on tour’, but in this case what happened on tour is printed in Co. Down’s favourite weekly! If rumours are to be believed Deon put his running leggings on back to front for his cool down and spent 15 minutes wondering what had happened to his tights! In the end I think he blamed it on old age. I hope the NI Cross Country selectors will acquire age friendly tracksuits! Aidy Brown looked like he was smuggling an apple under his knee cap as he doubled his body weight with fluid. The Prophet offered to drain it with the help of a lump hammer and an un-sterilised 6 inch nail, but Brown wisely declined the kind offer and hobbled on stoically. Brendan Donnelly heard enough tall tales of yesteryear from Deon on the journey up and came home with the Castlewellan crew instead. He also pulled a master stroke in Pizza Hut on the way home and secured a good discount for the boys on their pizza and beer the cornerstones of any good athlete’s recovery! This was after they had all (with the exception of the rejuvenated Rodgers who is treating his body like aTemple) feasted on theTayand array of buns and other treats available post-race in the bowling club. Well done to Oragngegrove AC and Gary Keenan in particular for an extremely well organised and carefully planned event. Newcastle are already planning for 2013.

Trinity Sunday

The weekend was rounded off with the traditional run. The tradition now has three parts, all equally important. The first part is the 90 minute run. This is followed by the 9 minute sit under the bridge in the freezing cold water until Jerome’s Rolex beeps to enable us to crawl out. The ‘bath’ also doubles up as McGreevy’s weekly was and his feet are almost clean enough to allow him to return to yoga without embarrassing himself. The final delight is the inevitable Tay and scones in some local eating house – the trick here (according to McGreevy) is to hang back until some unsuspecting victim produces a £20 note before ordering the green tea with ginseng – that boy has nothing to learn.

Who is watching the Henhouse?

While the club are out as one, Hen is hatching a plan for a top 3 at the Gr8 Dundrum race. After a 55 minute recce on Wednesday, he was out again today with his protégé and project Red Toner as endeavour to make sure that the have plotted the best course to minimise risk on the day. When told of Hen’s times McGreevy ruminated and cogitated before declaring, I’d hate to see how fast that man could go if he was training.’ Good point Mad Dog.

Next week (Sunday 14th – Happy birthday Granny Sally!) sees the second race in the McGrady Financial Services Junior Cross Country Series in Kilbroney Park Rostrevor. The racing gets under way at 1pm and full details are available of the club website. Photos, results and report in next week’s Mourne Observer.