Congratulations to David O’Flaherty on winning the Comber Cup today and to the winning team who took home another Cup:
David O’Flaherty (1st), Seamus Lynch(2nd), David McNeilly(6th), Ian Bailey(7th), David Steele(8th), Deon McNeilly(9th), Colm Murtagh(14th) and PJ McCrickard(23rd).
Newcastle AC travelled to Comber on Saturday 15th February to take part in the Comber Cup with almost the same winning team as the Junior Championships, only London based Eoghan Totten being absent.
The race began at 3pm during a break in the showers and aided by a strong tail wind six Newcastle Athletes went straight to the front with David O’Flaherty leading the charge. At the end of the first of four laps Newcastle still had six in front. Conditions under foot were soft following the recent heavy rain and a strong head wind on return leg of each lap resulted in testing cross country conditions. As the second lap progressed Annadale Striders Mark Wright, followed by North Belfast’s Neill Carty of Hill and Dale fame and North Down’s Stephen Wylie split the Newcastle lead group. As the race progressed David O’Flaherty stretched his lead to win by 40 seconds ahead of Seamus Lynch with Mark, Neil and Stephen taking the next three positions. David McNeilly finished strong in sixth position only a few seconds ahead of Iain Bailey and David Steele. Next was Deon McNeilly in 9th place and first vet 50 completing Newcastle AC’s first six to win the team event by some margin. Newcastle had two more finishers with Colm Murtagh an excellent 14th and PJ McCrickard in 23rd, three places behind Clive Bailey from Mourne Runners.
Post-race refreshments and presentations took place in The Billy Neil memorial hall. The awards were presented by 91 year old John McKeag, host Club Ballydrain’s oldest member who first joined the Club in the 1940’s and was featured in a TV documentary earlier this week, ”Run Grandad Run“.
Normally after a hard race, training the following day would be an easy recovery run, however an usually good weather forecast meant a chance to take to the hills and a run over Slieve Donard to start preparation for the first UK Championship mountain race of the year which will take place on 29th March over the mountain.