On Sunday, the Finn Valley Centre was the setting for the Donegal Senior Cross Country Championship, the county’s most high profile cross country race. The large turnout of spectators saw 2 exciting races in an event which also provided the selection race for Donegal runners for the Inter Counties Championship, to be held in Dundalk 2 weeks on Sunday. Conor Bradley, City of Derry AC, won the 10KM men’s race, thanks to a strong finish which saw him pip Inishowen AC’s Pauric McKinney, who defied his 49 years to have an exceptional race just 6 days after winning the 45-49 prize in the Dublin Marathon. Letterkenny AC’s Ciaran Doherty had an excellent run and was 3rd. LAC’s Ruari Finnegan led for much of the race, putting LAC in a strong position to win the team prize. However, he was forced to withdraw from the race with 2 laps remaining and, in spite of some excellent LAC performances, this tilted the balance in Finn Valley’s favour, and the host club won team gold. LAC picked up 2nd place in the team competition. Ciaran Doherty was closely followed by club mate Chris Johnston, then Dan King, showing his tremendous commitment to the club by travelling back from Madrid, where he is currently working. Daniel Mooney, Darren McBrearty and Raymond Birch completed LAC’s counters. These 6 men were well backed up by Padraig Friel, Ciaran McBride and Sean McFadden, who all had strong runs.
In the women’s race, LAC were well served by Sinead Peoples, Noreen McGettigan and Irene McFadden who all ran very well over the 5KM course. Unfortunately, the lack of a 4th LAC runner meant that the club didn’t figure in the team competition.
It’s still early in the cross country season but most of the county championships are now over. However, in the coming 4 months, LAC athletes will have a chance to test themselves, in several events, at Ulster and National level. The 1st of these events, the Ulster Novice Cross Country Championship, will be staged on Sunday in Cavan.
Hugh Gallagher (LAC PRO)

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