Following on from a very successful early season, Annadale Striders athletes have continued their good work with convincing team victories in the Newtownabbey Cross Country and the Joe Seeley 10km which incorporates the NI Road Championships.
At Newtownabbey, a relatively inexperienced team scored a memorable team victory superbly led by Andrew Campbell who was recording his first individual victory of the season. "Sport Billy" was well backed up by Ricky Girvan in 10th, Chris Diamond in 12th and Andy "What's the Score in the Liverpool match? " McKee in 14th. Rumour has it that Big Chris took a tumble close to a clump of bushes where an empty cider bottle was later found. With so many athletes missing (John Devlin's "broken toe" being one of the most ridiculous excuses) it was particularly pleasing for the club to win the team prize.
The biggest race of the season so far, the Joe Seeley 10km, saw a total of 12 Striders take the gun. This is particularly encouraging given that long term absentees Stevie Cairns and Paddy Hamilton as well as the unfortunate Andrew Campbell have all to come into the team. It was particularly pleasing to welcome back into the fold Andrew Dunwoody and Mark Wright for this race. The 41point total amassed was more than enough to see off Willowfield's best squad albeit largely due to the performances of the 6th scorers.
Dermot Donnelly recorded his 9th race victory but the conditions and the change of course meant that he was unable to attack the best NI mark of 29.11 set by Davy Wilson a decade ago. Even so Dermot showed what a loss he will be to Striders next year when he retires. Behind Dermot, there were excellent runs for John Rogers (2nd), Noel Pollock (6th on his debut at the distance) and Andrew Dunwoody (7th). Completing the scorers in 12th and 13th were John Devlin and Johnny McKee who did not perform as well as expected. The performance of Devlin in particular was surprising as he has been enjoying a particularly fertile period lately. It is hoped that Johnny McKee can find a good physio to sort out his recent niggles so that he can get the work done (anyone who knows a good physio should contact Johnny at the Physiotherapy Department at the City Hospital).
Although short of full fitness, Eddie McGinley ran a very mature
race to finish 16th - one advantage of this was that he was on the course longer
than last year to the delight of his army of screaming female fans. Mark Wright
ran well for 21st and Big Chris Diamond in 27th also ran well considering his
extra-curricular efforts in Maynooth (for graphic pictures please see www.qubac.gov.uk).
Michel Le Velly, Andrew McKee and Ricky Girvan completed the Striders B Team
who finished a credible 4th behind North Belfast. Roll on the Senior !
By "The Gaffer"