Tuesday, 27 January 2015



No matter the sport, you cannot hide class. It was evident again last Sunday when Cathal McLaughlin sprinted to fifth place in the second race of the Lifford AC 5K Series in Raphoe. Three hundred runners turned out on a mild but breezy morning to break the entry record for the fixture by some distance.

Cathal McLaughlin
Last Spring McLaughlin took the bronze medal in the 1500m at the World Masters’ Indoor Championships in Budapest and it is clear that he going to be a threat at the Europeans in Poland this March.  The 47-year-old matched strides with opponents half his age in Raphoe to stretch his lead in the M45 standings with just one more race left in the Series.

The Derry City Track Club athlete clocked an impressive 16 minutes and 42 seconds to lead home a strong contingent from Derry City Track Club.  The Greenhaw Road man looked to be struggling after the opening two kilometres but found renewed energy to battle through to fifth at the tape.  That gave him victory in the M45 category and leaves him on a maximum 40 points with the final fixture to come in Lifford early February.

Teenager Matt Doherty warmed up for a midweek schools’ race with another steady run for 10th place in 17:05, and like his clubmate, sits on the maximum points in the Junior men’s age group.  DCTC club captain Darragh Crossan showed that he is rounding nicely back into form with an impressive 17:28 clocking for 12th overall.  Behind him, Shaun Deery continues to improve and was good value for his 18:37 timing in 24th.

Robert Bigger made his debut in the Series a memorable one with a fine 18:38 mark which left him an easy winner of the M55 category. Connor McCullagh was another to show signs of a return to top form with a 19:24 timing, just ahead of Zak McGowan (19:24) who was third Junior man home. Malcolm McCausland followed up his Northern Ireland age group cross-country title the previous week with a win in the M60 age group and his first sub 20 minutes timing of the winter season, albeit by a mere second. 

Hannah McGowan made the journey home from her studies in Dublin a worthwhile one by taking third place in the women’s race.  Her time of 20:19 was impressive on the notoriously slow Raphoe circuit and augurs well for a sub 20 minutes timing sooner rather than later. Her third spot also ensured that she is now almost certain of a podium place in the final Series standings, needing only to equal that result in Lifford.

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