Athletics: McDermott plotting surprise in Junior test
Published 25/01/2013 | 06:59
Over 300 athletes will be competing in Saturday's NI and Ulster Masters and Junior Cross Country Championships at Lurgan Park (start 1.15 pm).
Predictions regarding the winner of the main 10K Junior event are difficult as current form points to any one of five athletes taking the honours.
Annadale's Ryan McDermott is something of an unknown quantity as he has not raced since the Irish Inter Counties in November where he was unlucky to miss selection for the European Championships.
Ryan will nevertheless be a major threat at Lurgan as will the East Down pair of Brendan Teer and Liam Venney.
Venney was third in last year's race just one place ahead of Teer who missed the recent big Greenmount international.
In that event Venney beat all his main rivals for Saturday.
He will therefore be disappointed if he does not go one better than last year's bronze.
Teer should also feature in the top three assuming he is injury free. Foyle Valley's Pius McIntyre and Scott Rankin also performed well at Greenmount with Rankin having recently proved his road race fitness with third place in the Joe Seeley 10K.
Another contender is Willowfield's Ryan Holt assuming he has recovered from a cold — he was fifth two years ago.
Annadale's Eoin Mullan should also be well to the fore.
The team contest could be a battle between Foyle Valley (who were second a year ago to North Belfast) and Willowfield.
The East Belfast club could take the honours if they can secure the cross-channel services of Duncan Bell and Russell Hughes.
The Masters 8k event could feature another close encounter between City of Derry's Declan Reed and Annadale's David Morwood.
Assuming the classy Reed takes the start line he should successfully defend his title after a fairly significant 18 seconds victory over Morwood at Greenmount two weeks ago.
The Annadale pair of Paul Carroll and Mark Wright should again be close to their third and fifth places from last year as should North Down's Francis Marsh (6th). City of Derry could well repeat their emphatic team victory from 12 months ago.
In the Ladies Masters 4k event four-times winner Cathy McCourt of North Belfast is still recovering from injury.
In her absence Lagan Valley's Julie Murphy should be in contention along with North Down's Stephanie Hambling who won at Moira last week.
The Ladies Junior title holder Sarah Moore of Omagh is favourite to retain her title.