Belfast Telegraph

Golden girl Kerry O'Flaherty breezes to victory in Laganside 10k

By Brian Hill

Commonwealth Games steeplechaser Kerry O'Flaherty stormed to an easy victory in yesterday's Laganside 10K at Ormeau which incorporated the NI Championships.

The 33-year-old Newcastle woman took full command of the perfect conditions in the Ladies race and by the halfway mark had established a big lead over fellow Games athlete Gladys Ganiel of north Belfast.

Kerry stretched her lead to two minutes at the finish. Her time of 34 mins 18 secs was just a second slower than her personal best.

Ganiel, who was timed at 36.18, was followed by team-mate Louise Smith (37.17), Jenny Black of Orangegrove (37.59) and Geri Short of Beechmount (38.18). North's Cathy McCourt finished an admirable sixth in 38.21 despite a bad fall resulting in a suspected broken wrist. North were once again easy team winners.

Kerry commented on her victory: "I felt relaxed today following a rest after the Games. I am pleased with my time as it has been a long time since I ran 10k."

Marathon specialist Ganiel will probably race in this weekend's Belfast Half Marathon followed by some cross country races.

As expected in the Men's race Annadale's Eddie McGinley dominated the 1,000 strong field from the start and by halfway he had a 30 secs lead over Foyle Valley's Scott Rankin. Eddie's winning time of 31 mins 23 secs would have been a lot faster had he not lost some 30 secs when he briefly veered off course in the latter stages.

Rankin was second in 31.52 followed by Omagh's Paul Barbour (32.24). Triathlon athlete Brian Campbell of Willowfield was fourth in 32.26 while Annadale's Keith Purdy took fifth in 32.51. North's Mark McKinstry completing the first six in 33.06.

Meanwhile Portaferry's Ciara Mageean announced her return to the international stage in some style when she finished a close second in a mile race in the Gateshead Games. In a tight finish she was just beaten by Scottish international Laura Muir who won in 4.34.84. However Mageean's time of 4.35.47 edged out GB international Hannah England and World Indoor silver medallist Helen Obiri.

There were also a clutch of medals for NI athletes in the Sainsbury's Schools International in Manchester.

Star performer was Strathearn sprinter Megan Marrs who decimated the opposition in the100m where she took gold in a time of 12.02 secs. Brother Robbie made it a day of family celebration in the high jump where he secured silver.

Long jumper Ben Fisher grabbed silver and so did Discus thrower Andrew Barkley.

The 400m hurdler, Ciaran Barnes, won bronze.

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