Athletics: Acorns AC compete well in Springwell Cross Country

The Acorns Junior team
The Acorns Junior team

On Saturday the Acorns crew were on the bus again to the third round of the NI Cross Country league.

This event, which was being organised by Springwell XC, took place in the grounds of the UUC.

The weather conditions were good, but the course was pretty mucky in places, which made it tougher to navigate due to the slippy conditions.

First up was the Junior races, and it was Andrew Shaw who was in the first race of the day for the U13 Category. Andrew had a great race, finishing 3rd in his class and covering the distance in 6:44.

Cathaoir Purvis, Mathew Sampson and Rory Bradley, took part in the U15 category. The lads had a super run, with Cathaoir finishing 3rd overall and 2nd in the boys section in a time of 13:25. Mathew wasn’t far behind in 3rd, crossing the line in 13:37 and Rory finishing 4th in 13:49.

Patrick O’Neill was in action in the U17 class, and had a 3rd place overall finish in 18:20.

In the Senior races, the ladies were first away to cover the 5k distance, which was three laps of the course. Once again the team produced another great effort, with performances improving with each race.

Rosemary, Deidre, Julie along with both Wendy’s worked hard as a unit throughout the race, and completed the course in under 26 minutes. Annemarie and Diane were not far behind.

Next to finish were Donna and Sharon in 28 minutes, with Roisin and Elaine not far behind them. Denise rounded of the ladies results when she crossed the finish post in 30:12.

The men’s race got underway at 2.30pm for the 5 mile five lap race. The lads dug in deep to the muck and pushed hard right to the finish.

Darrell pulling slightly ahead of Aaron in the closing stages to finish 20th overall in 29:53. Aaron, Bliadhan and Aidan had a close battle right to the line, and all three finished in under 31 minutes. Fergal Mulgrew ran a good race and finished in 31:46, with Jonathan not far adrift in 32:16. Diarmuid, Shane and Martin had a close race together, and they all completed the 5 mile distance in under 34 minutes.

Conor McWilliams continues to improve his times with a 34:29 finish, and fought a close race with Alan who was a few seconds back in 34:29. Oli, Gary, Stephen and John rounded off the Acorns mens team results.

Remember we pick up additional points for the overall team based on our level of entrants, so it really is a team effort. Next Saturday is the 4th race of the XC season, with the McConnell Shield taking place at Ballyclare, plus the club has also entered a team the Ulster Championships on the Sunday in Co. Cavan.

Springwell XC Results: Youths: Andrew Shaw (3rd) 6.44; Cathaoir Purvis (2nd) 13.25; Mathew Sampson (3rd) 13.37; Rory Bradley (4th) 13.49; Patrick O’Neill (3rd) 18.20.

Seniors: Darrell McKee 29.53; Aaron Meharg 30.30; Bliadhan Glass 30.35; Aidan O’Hagan 30.41; Fergal Mulgrew 31.46; Jonathan Dempsey 32.16; Diarmuid O’Kane 32.42; Shane Donnelly 33.08; Martin McGirr 33.22; Conor McWilliams 34.29; Alan Shaw 34.44; Oliver Murphy 37.36; Gary McGuckin 38.32; Stephen Kerr 38.52; John Knocker 41.44.

Ladies: Rosemary Hargan 25.11; Wendy Walker 25.18; Deidre Bradley 25.38; Julie Brodison 25.52; Wendy Wensley 25.54; Anne Marie McKernan 26.28; Diane Carey 27.40; Donna Patterson 28.03; Sharon Crooks 28.56; Roisin Mullan 29.15; Elaine Hargan 29.48; Denise Wright 30.12.

Davagh 10k- Eugene McAuley took part in this local trail race on Saturday around the scenic Davagh Forest, and completed the tough course in 46:44.

Decathlon 10k- Niall Hassan was in action in Belfast on Sunday at the Decathlon 10k, where he had a great run finishing in the 6.2mile distance in 43:35.

The Acorns AC “Couch to 5k programme”, or C25K for short, which is supported by Cookstown and Magherafelt Councils and the Health agency, has completed its second week.

There was a tremendous turnout of over 100 participants between the two venues to have a go at the introduction to running programme. It was a magnificent sight to see so many people walking and running together, and for many it was their first time.

The feedback from the participants has been extremely positive, with the majority saying they have been settling down into a routine now. The important thing to remember is that everyone can put in some additional work in their own time, which will help reach them reach the goal of completing a 5k distance.

Remember to register your details for the programme at

As we go into week 3 of the 9 week programme, we look forward to seeing everyone back in action on the various training nights in Magherafelt and Cookstown.

Stock of club kit is available from Trevor Dallas and Francis Purvis, please place you order with them by text or at the club training sessions. There is also a new Winter Rain Jacket now available to order at a cost of £45.

If you wish your results to be reported in our weekly press coverage, then please send the details to Gary McGuckin (Club PRO).

Upcoming events: Saturday 8th November: McConnell Shield XC at Ballyclare; Running for Rescue at Annalong.

Sunday 9th November- NI and Ulster Championships XC – Co Cavan.

Training takes place in Magherafelt at Meadow Bank Sports Arena running track on a Monday at 7pm, and a Wednesday at 7pm (C25K) and 7.30pm. Cookstown training takes place at MUSA on Tuesday’s and Thursday’s at 6.30pm.