NAC Ladies retain NI Road Relay title in some style

Bogusboy reports from Victoria Park

nac_ladies_ni_relay_2016In an unbelievably close and tense finish in 2015, Mari Troeng anchored the Newcastle Team and held of the relentless efforts of Olympic Marathon runner Breege Connolly on the final leg. The Newcastle ladies would win the title by the narrow margin of seven seconds and earn the plaudits for the team performance of the day. A year on and the same three ladies were arguably even firmer favourites in the absence of North Belfast. However as the old saying goes, ‘you can only race those that are there’ and the NAC ladies led from gun to tape, winning comfortably by 58 seconds. On the first leg Kerry O’Flaherty was able to use all her experience, guile and race craft to open up a 31 second lead over Dromore AC. Joanne Mills built upon this on the second leg as the gap went out to over a minute at one point. With the other teams scrapping for second place, Mari Troeng, an athlete with one eye on the forthcoming Dublin Marathon, could ‘ease up’ in the closing stages and once again bring the team home to the top podium spot, albeit under much less pressure than in 2015. O’Flaherty would easily record the fastest female time of the day (10:48). In the same race the NAC trio of Devlin, McGeough and Gosling would give a very impressive account of themselves and finish in fifth place overall, 2 minutes off a podium place.

Lady Seniors 3 x 2 Miles
Team Leg 1 Leg 2 Leg 3 Finish
Newcastle AC ‘A’ 10:48               Kerry O’Flaherty 11:55         Joanne Mills 12:42                 Mari Troeng 00:35:24
Newcastle AC ‘B’ 13:55                 Rita Devlin 13:33                Ashlene McGeough 12:46                 Aine Gosling 00:40:13

Earlier in the day Newcastle AC had one athlete compete in the Junior races aimed at athles in the U13, U15 and U17 age groups. Eve Kenneally was impressive in recording 6:13 for the 1 mile course, a time good enough for 13th Place. Well done Eve; it is great to see younger athletes coming to these events.

Under 15 – 1 Mile
Pos Name Club Finish
32  Eve Kenneally Newcastle AC 00:06:13

Perhaps the most competitive race of the day was the male masters race. With athletes 35 and above eligible to compete, there are always fast times guaranteed. On this occasion bragging rights went to Acorns AC as their 4 athletes produced consistently fast times to enable them to come home with 14 seconds to spare over North Belfast Harriers. Newcastle were an extremely credible with David Simpson recording the quickest time in the race, a blistering 10:19. He was ably supported by David McNeilly, Wonderwall who says he ‘drained the tank’ and Aidan Brown who made a welcome return to club colours after recent paternity leave! The ‘B’ team all pushed hard and came home 27th with Ronnie Horrox dashing for the line before all the buns were eaten. he was afraid that Gerard McAuley, who was left to guard the tent in a role akin to Rubeus Hagrid, would end up the size of the Hogwarts gamekeeper due to grazing all afternoon. Needless to say all ended well as ‘Not So Big’ Ron got his fair share of the crisps, bars, buns, cakes and sandwiches proffered at various times. He did however turn down an apple claiming that it contained too many calories!!!

Masters Men 4 x 2 Miles
Pos Team Leg 1 Leg 2 Leg 3 Leg 4 Finish
8 Newcastle AC ‘A’ 10:19              David Simpson 11:00          David McNeilly 11:39                 Noel Gallagher 12:30               Aidan Brown 00:45:26
27 Newcastle AC ‘B’ 11:59               Philip Murdock 11:58              Joe McCann 13:31              Ronnie Horrox 13:10            Richard Rodgers 00:50:37

The Day ended with the ‘blue ribbon’ event, the senior men. Newcastle had a strong team out and were a commendable 4th behind, Derry, North Belfast and Letterkenny. Totten, home for the weekend to represent his club, was in fine form on the first leg and O’Flaherty held the lead as the second leg come to an end. Regrettably some other clubs had stacked their quickest men on the closing legs and were able to overhaul the valiant efforts of the NAC men. This result can inspire the lads to greater things in 2017, when a medal is a real possibility.

Men Senior  4 x 2 Miles
Pos Team Leg 1 Leg 2 Leg 3 Leg 4 Finish
4 Newcastle AC ‘A’ 09:51           Eoghan Totten 09:57                   David O’Flaherty 10:05           Seamus Lynch 11:19             Patrick Higgins 00:41:11
25 Newcastle AC ‘B’ 12:07                 Kris Fegan 12:31                 Gerard McAuley 12:40              Ciaran og Mussen 12:19          Brendan McDaid 00:49:36