Foyle Valley AC at Lurgan Park

Foyle Valley AC travelled to Lurgan Park Cross Country event on Valentines Day last Saturday. Amongst a strong contingent of runners all of the athletes gave strong performances with Scott Rankin achieving a podium place taking home a bronze medal for his efforts. Amazing running everyone and great predictions for the forthcoming road racing season for 2015.

Rankin and Fourth at the Santry Five Miler, Dublin


All is Quiet on New Years Day!

Whilst the rest of the Foyle Valley AC were recovering from the New Years Eve Festivities there was no such let up for Foyle Valley Club Coach Billy Orr who lead by example by racing in the New Years Day Run in the scenic Glenarif Forest Park in County Antrim. Congratulations Billy and well done once again to Ballymena Runners who stage this fantastic race annually.


Ulster XC Novice

The Novice Championships took place in Co Cavan. Run over a gruelling hilly course (the only flat part if the journey was the main road from Monaghan ).
There was a big turnout from clubs throughout the Country.
The first race seen Emma Mc Gilloway have a stormer over the course running steadily thought out finishing in the top 10 places .
Not to be undone be his sister Roy Mc Gilloway raced in the under 19 age group , took control of his race by steadily covering each lap and passing other club runners in style coming home with a stronger finish . Next up was the ladies race which Foyle Valley were once weak in numbers .
This race seen Letterkenny AC Finn Valley , Inishowen AC, with a large number of runners .
The race got off with a fast start and when it came to the steep hill Gemma Mc Ginty showed that she could mix it with the best and put in a enormously strong pace pulling away from a number of runners .Clara Quigley showed that she was determined and put in a massive effort holding off a number of athletes following closely was Orla Moran showing that her recent training was paying off as herself and Charlene Mc Ginty made a great effort to close in and keeping up the pace and battled hard throughout as did Marion Boyle who is new to racing , and cross country running put in a gritty performance while she paced herself correctly over the course . Gemma was battling hard throughout with Sara Marie Doherty exchanging places but as the race came to a close Gemma Mc Ginty up her pace and won the battle coming home as the First Lady for Foyle Valley and with three to count it was always going to be tight . Clara Quigley was the next home for Valley with Orla Moran third athlete to count .
Unfortunately Foyle Valleys missed out on medals by a mere three points . But they should feel very proud as the ladies put in a massive performance which can only show well for the future . In the U19 girls Anna Forbes also new to CrossCountry running put in courage effort and with training will improve.
The Men’s Race
From the off Foyle Valley battled for positions and dug in over the gruelling course and as each lap complete Valley were doing their best to improve . Matthew Mc Laughlin was a true leader looking stronger with each lap and showed that his injury wasn’t going to stop him . Mark Long was following closely and was improving with each lap was a driving force showing great running , Rodney Campbell and John Fisher gave all the could give and looked impressive and never gave up over the long course ,Emmett Kennedy also new to the sport improved as the race was coming to a close and showed great determination throughout the race .
No medals this time for Foyle Valley but there not far away .
This was an overall team effort for Foyle Valley and they all showed true commitment over a very tough course well done to all concern and to Declan Doherty ,Charlie Mc Gilloway and Donal for their leadership .

Marty’s 5K

Foyle Valley Athletics Club, in association with Paul’s Butchers, has launched the 5th annual ‘Marty’s run’ this week. The 5k run / walk in memory of the late Marty Gallagher will take place on Sunday 5 October. Marty was a rising star in Foyle Valley and the local running scene. In October 2009 he was knocked down and tragically lost his life. In the same year he completed the London marathon in two hours forty-six minutes. Smashing that coveted three hour target that most runners can only but dream about. His personal best times of 75 minutes in a half marathon and 16 minutes in a 5K were sensational, these finishing times indicated he had a promising future in running. Marty is fondly remembered by his many teammates at Foyle Valley. Every year since 2010, the club, in close connection with the Gallagher family and Paul’s Butchers organise ‘Marty’s Run’. The 5K race / run / walk in memory of the talented runner follows the Glengalliagh Road from the start line adjacent to St Brigid’s High School. It turns left towards Skeoge Bypass and follows around to Templemore Sports Complex. Registration for the annual run will take place at Templemore Sports Complex on Saturday 4 October between 12 and 4pm and then again on Sunday 5 October ahead of the race at 9am to 10:30am.  The race fee is £10 and the first 700 entrants will receive a commemorative, quality, technical t-shirt. Refreshments will be available at the finish. There will be prizes for the popular running categories and a perpetual trophy for the first male and female runners. The presentations will take place immediately after in Templemore Sports Complex. Denise Doherty, Foyle Valley Club Secretary said: “Each October we hold Marty’s Run to celebrate his magnificent running talent, to raise money for local charities and to get together as a club to simply remember him. Marty had many friends in the club and it is particularly fitting that we hold a run in his honour. “We are very appreciative for the support from the Gallagher Family, Templemore Sports Complex and main sponsor’s, Paul Butchers.  For more information and to keep up-to-date with race details please ‘like’ the Foyle Valley Athletics Club page on Facebook.

Rathmullan 5K

Hat trick for Foyle Valley at Rathmullan 5k!!! Keith Shiels wasted no time getting back to the podium last night taking first place in 15.16. He was chased home by club mates Adrian McGowan in 15.30 and Chris McGuiness in 15.36. The boys just missed out on all four top places with Stephen Connor storming in behind in 15.56 to take 5th place!

The boys have plenty of backup coming their way as the ever improving Matthew Mc Laughlin ran a fantastic 17.00 and one of our latest additions the young Roy Mcgilloway ran 17.47. Dessie Hegarty was hot on Roy’s heals and finished 17.50. These boys will be ones to watch going forward and we can expect the times to keep going down given the work and dedication they have.
It was also a first race for Foyle Valley for Roy’s equally talented sister Emma. Emma had a superb debut race and we expect great things from her.
There was plenty of other fantastic runs by the purple vests. Rodney Campbell ran a storming 18.22 which is well deserved after being plagued by injury on and off all winter. He’s certainly on form.

Other times for the purple vests include
Chris Ryan 19.11, Frankie Bradley 20.02, Mark Mc Clintock. 20.04, Emma McGilloway 20.47, Catherine Moran 22.11, Orla Moran 22.29, Trish McClintock 22.30, Marion Boyle 23.34, Kate Meehan 23.59. As usual well done to all, superb work folks!

St Johnston 5K

Congratulations to our boys who dominated the podium in the St. Johnston 5K last night. Adrian McGowan came first in 15.52 and Stephen Connor third in 16.14 they were seperated by City of Derrys Gary Slevin who finished second in 16.02.

We had two category winners too with Seamus M Callion taking the Male 55 in 20.16 and Catherine Moran taking the Female 50 in 23.00!

Well done to all the other Foyle Valley athletes who took part including
Martin Dunleavy 19.51
Declan Mcgilll 19.59
Sean Molloy 20.50
Gemma Mc Ginty 21.11
Emmett Kennedy 21.12
Dave Payne 22.36
Denise McGahon 23.54

Keep up the good work folks!

Derry Walled Marathon

Derry’s Walled City marathon has been won by Kenyan, Freddy Keron Sittuk. He crossed the finish line at Guildhall Square shortly after 11:00, completing the course in two hours, 25 minutes and 47 seconds. About 1,500 athletes from Northern Ireland and across the world took part in the race.

Foyle Valley had a large number of athletes complete the 26.2 course, Chris McGuinness was the first clubman over the line and continued his fine week of PB’s coming home in a fantastic 4th on 2.44.

Full report and results to follow.

Night of PB’s at Buncrana 5K

On Wednesday 28th May 2014, a number of Foyle Valley runners travelled to the Buncrana 5k road race,  which attracted over two hundred competitors.

In a top quality field, it was favourite Gary Murray (St Malachy’s AC) who impressed most.  Gary led the field home in a very impressive 14:35 (1st place); interestingly, this was a mere one second away from the current Irish course record of 14:35, held by Ciaran Doherty. Gary was followed by Declan Reed (City of Derry AC) with a great run of 14:47.

Chris McGuinness continued his fantastic form by posting another PB with an impressive 15.32, Pius McIntyre returning to form with 16.16, Matt McLaughlin had a great run with a PB of 16.47 – taking 2 minutes off his first 5k in February.

A big well done to the rest of the Valley runners with more PB’s along the way, Mark Linton 18.22, Sarah Lindsay 18.54, Rodney Campbell 18.56, Declan McGill 19.48, Mark McClintock 19.50, Charlene McGinty 20.55, Gemma McGinty 21.10, Trish McClintock 22.13, Catherine Moran 22.52,  and Kate Meehan 24.34.

Impressive display at Inter-Firms 5K

Scott Rankin, Adrian McGowan and Chris McGuiness put in a top class display at the Letterkenny Inter-Firms 5K on Tuesday 20th May 2014.  The ever impressive Scott Rankin won the race in 14.59. Adrian McGowan followed in fourth place with a huge PB of 15.31 and Chris McGuiness completed the top 5 in a quality field coming home in 15.36. This was a great display by the Valley athletes, showing that the hard training is really paying off. Well done boys!

Notable performances also by Connor Donaghey, Conor McIlveen and Garry Gumbleton.

City of Derry’s Gary Slevin also had a stormer with a PB of 15.26.


Wilkies 5 Mile Race

FOYLE Valley Athletics Club will host its popular five mile Wilkies five mile race next week on Thursday, May 22.

The race, held in memory of the late, Colm Wilkinson, takes place on the path ‘out-the-line’ below Coshowen and is open to everyone from the competitive athlete to the novice runner. Registration takes place on the evening of the run at the Long Tower Youth Centre, Brandywell from 6pm onwards. The race commences at 7.30pm sharp.

Foyle Valley Club Chairman, Colum Deehan claims the race is ideal preparation for those in training for next month’s Walled City Marathon. “The Wilkies race is great for those who are training for the city’s marathon at the start of June.  Runners can practice their race pace over the five miles, which is also part of the marathon course,” he said.

“Wilkies is perfect for those looking to record a fast five mile time. There are not many five mile races in Derry but this one has the potential to provide personal best times. As the race is along a flat, straight-forward, fixed-distance scenic route it is also attractive to newbie runners.”

In 2013 the Wilkies five mile race attracted a record number of entrants. First across the line was Foyle Valley’s Scott Rankin in a time of 24 minutes and 51 seconds. The ladies race was won by Lifford AC’s Natasha Adams in 28 minutes and 58 seconds.

Colum added: “Running is easily Derry’s biggest craze at the minute and long may it continue. With the continuation of the Walled City Marathon and the development of community based running clubs there is no stopping the growth of this sport / hobby.”

Entry fee for Wilkies Run is £10.00, this includes a quality technical T-shirt for the first 120 people to enter.

Refreshments for all entrants will be provided at Long Tower Youth Centre after the race. Prizes will be awarded for the categories in the run only. All money raised will be distributed between three nominated charities.

Super Sarah and Scott Shine at Bay Road 5k

Wednesday 9 April seen the first 5K  road race in City of Derry Spartan’s 5K road race series. A smaller than usual turn out but an impressive field nonetheless, the race seen Annadale Strider’s, Glenn Phair, our very own Scott Rankin and COD’s Declan Reed lead the chasing pack from the outset. This formation was set throughout the race with Glenn coming first in 14 minutes 47 seconds; Scott, 2nd in 14 minutes 52 seconds and Declan 3rd in 15 minutes 1 second. The trio were quickly followed by Noel Logan (15:43) and Chris McGuinness (15:46).
Foyle Valley’s Pius McIntyre was third Foyle Valley male (16:45) to cross the line and secure a silver NI championship medal for himself and his teammates.
The ladies race wasn’t as closely contested with Finn Valley AC and Northern Ireland champ Helen Stockdale taking the honours in 18 minutes 12 seconds. Foyle Valley’s Sarah Lindsay ran an incredibly impressive race to claim 2nd spot is 18 minutes 52 seconds (PB). The female podium was completed by COD’s Hannah Shields in 19 minutes 9 seconds. Through gutsy performances from Charlene Slevin (21:15) and Alison Creane (22:52) Foyle Valley ladies also claimed a silver NI championship medal.
Many 5K PB’s were posted last night by the purple vests – notwithstanding our podium and team winners,  results for Foyle Valley members are as follows: Paul White (17:20);  Declan Doherty (18:00); Dessie Hegarty (18:13); Darren Wallace (18:15); Mark Linton (18:22); Connor Donaghy (18:35); Emmett Harkin (18:41); Frankie Bradley (19:14); Michael Gallagher (20:18); Ryan Leonard (20:22); Declan Magill (20:30);        John Storey (20:38); Sean Molly (20:42); Randal Parlour (21:22); Packy Deehan (21:45); Kieran Phelan (22:47); Patsy Doherty (24:12).

Scott represents Northern Ireland

On Saturday 22nd March 2014, Scott represented Northern Ireland in the Inter Countries International Cross Country in Wollaton Park, Nottingham (England).

Scott Rankin (Foyle Valley AC), Declan Reed (City of Derry AC), Brendan Teer (East Down AC) and Glenn Phair (Annadale Striders) lined up for Northern Ireland in the Senior Men’s 10k race.  AAI National Masters XC Champion Declan Reed was the first of the local athletes to finish, recording 33:12 (19th place) for the distance.  A mere five seconds split Scott Rankin and Brendan Teer, with Scott running 34:07 (26th place) and Brendan 34:12 (27th place).  Glenn Phair completed the NI contingent in 35:09 (29th place). Hallamshire Harriers’ Andy Heyes won the race in 31:33, while England won the team title.  Northern Ireland finished in 6th place.

Well done Paul!

Many congratulations to Paul White who took part in the Jerusalem half marathon on Friday.  On a very challenging and hilly course Paul ran an excellent 86 minutes which placed him 19th overall.  As most Club members will know Paul is with the Irish Army on peace keeping duties in the middle east and returns home to a somewhat cooler climate in a weeks time!

Rankin claims first place

On Saturday 15th March 2014, nearly one hundred runners took to the start-line of the highly anticipated annual St Patrick’s Day 5k, which was held in Gransha Grounds, Derry/Londonderry.At the front, it was almost a replay of last weekend’s SSE Airtricty 10k, minus Conor Bradley (City of Derry AC); Scott Rankin (Foyle Valley AC), Declan Reed (City of Derry AC) and Emmett McGinty (City of Derry AC) all played a prominent part at the front. After a close race, it was Scott Rankin who claimed the headlines, after breaking the tape in 15:21 (1st place).  Just like six days ago (at the Airtricity 10k), the Foyle Valley AC man was followed across the line by City of Derry AC duo Declan Reed and Emmett McGinty, with the talented pairing clocking 15:29 (2nd place) and 15:34 (3rd place) respectively.

Winner of the recent Lifford 5k, Claire McGuigan (Lifford AC), secured victory in the ladies race, after covering the distance in 18:58 (1st place).  Current NI & Ulster Novice XC Champion, Sarah Lindsey (Foyle Valley AC) ran well to take a well-deserved 2nd place in 19:20 (2nd place), just ahead of City of Derry AC’s Jackie McGinley (19:52), who just pipped Spartan club mate Amy Jackson (4th place – 19:59) to 3rd place.



Derry Airtricity 10K

Big congratulations to all the purple vests who took part in todays Airtricity 10K. (especially Scott Rankin who stormed home in second place) .A leading group of 5 men quickly broke to the front including Foyle Valleys Scott Rankin & Adrian Mc Gowan and City of Derrys Spartans Conor Bradley, Declan Reed and Emmet McGinty. In the final stages of the race Bradley broke clear of the pack to win the race ahead of Foyle Valleys Scott Rankin. City of Derry brought in 3rd an 4th with Declan Reed and Emmet McGinty respectively. Foyle Valleys Adrian McGowan ran an impressive personal best to take 5th place.

The race also saw many club members hitting new personal bests including Kieran Phelan who shaved over 2 minutes off his, and also a Gemma McGinty who ran a superb first race following the birth of her baby boy.   Martin Kelly took an impressive 3 and a half minutes of his personal best. Given that this was not a fast course we can expect to see the personal bests drop even further for them especially with the hard work and dedication they’re putting in.

Foyle Valley regulars Ryan Snodgrass, Declan Doherty, Darren Wallace and Packy Deehan all put in strong runs that will stand well to them in the upcoming season. Congratulations to all!


Keith Shiels put in another outstanding performance to win the Cara Bundoran 10 mile road race held in the Co Donegal seaside town today.

The Foyle Valley AC runner put in the performance of the day to take the tape in a personal best time of 51.3.



Armgah 5k International Road Race

Scott Rankin: 14:54; Keith Shiels: 15:15 and Chris McGuinness: 15:45.

Scott Rankin gave an emphatic performance this evening in Armagh, safeguarding his membership in the sub-15 minute 5K club. Windy condit…ions meant he dropped time slightly from last year’s race but nevertheless achieved a great time of 14 minutes 54 seconds.

Keith’s time of 15 mins 15 seconds is not a PB for the Foyle Valley athlete but a great time for the start of the road racing season. Keith’s first 5K in 2011 was 19:44, within 3 months he was down to 16:33. Last year he achieved his current 5K PB of 15:11 at the Queens 5K in March.

Chris McGuinness also had a great race in Armagh. He achieved 15 minutes 59 seconds on Sunday past in Lifford, winning the 5K race. His improved time tonight of 15:45 shows us what he is capable of this coming season.

McGuinness enjoys first place at Lifford 5K

Foyle Valley’s Chris McGuinness enjoyed early season success at the weekend by achieving first in a Lifford AC 5k race. The 5K, part of the club’s three race spring series, attracted a huge crowd of seasoned runners and novices to the border town for the Sunday morning race. Chris ran the 5K in 15 minutes 59 seconds (his PB is 15:34) proving he is race fit for the forthcoming road racing season

Pius secures second at An Cregan

Foyle Valley’s ‘King of the Trail’, Pius McIntyre indicated he was returning to racing form at the weekend past by securing second place at a 5 mile race of An Cregan Country Park, Omagh.  The annual race is part of Sperrin Harriers very popular Winter League Series, which Pius is no stranger to. He was second with a time of 28:09. Although Pius relishes the challenges of a good trail race, Mark McKinstry from North Belfast Harriers proved to be a stronger runner on the day by coming in first with a time of 27:32.



Sarah takes individual silver

On Saturday past a record number of athletes braved difficult running conditions to participate in the prestigious NI & Ulster Junior/Intermediate/Masters Cross Country Championships, hosted by Athletics NI at Lurgan Park. An excellent day of competition saw impressive wins for Ryan McDermott (Annadale Striders), Stephen Duncan (Omagh Harriers) and Michelle Sturm (Omagh Harriers).

In the male master’s race, Stephen Duncan made a fine return to racing after being out for some time with injury. Duncan led the 8km race from the gun but had no chance to relax with Pauric McKinney (Inishowen AC) and Eamon White (North Belfast Harriers) hot on his heels for the 4 lap race. It was Stephen Duncan who crossed the line first, breaking the tape in 29:21.  Pauric McKinney followed in 29:37 (2nd place), with Eamon White (North Belfast Harriers), claiming a well-deserved bronze medal.  Eamon had played his part at the front throughout and recorded 29:48 (3rd place) for the distance. Foyle Valley AC entered their first male masters team since the Ni & Ulster XC Master’s where held in Gransha 2008. Ciaran Graham (35:20) led the Purple vests home, backed up with Rodney Campbell (36:19) and Chris Ryan (36:19) finishing strong together, Frankie Bradley (38:23) Michael Lyttle (38:44) & Billy Orr (39:13)

In the lntermediate/Masters Ladies took to the start line for their 4k race, which proved to be one of the closest of the day. In the early stages, Letterkenny AC’s Fionnuala Diver led the way, with Michelle Sturm (Omagh Harriers), Sarah Lindsay (Foyle Valley AC), Donna Evans (Finn Valley AC) and Kay Byrne (Finn Valley AC) in pursuit.  As the race progressed, Michelle Sturm moved to the front and one that ultimately saw the talented athlete crowned Champion.  She (Michelle) powered into the finishing straight and covered the final metres quickly to secure victory in 17:45 (1st place).  Current NI & Ulster Novice XC Champion, Sarah Lindsay took 2nd place in 17:52, while Fionnuala Diver recorded 17:58 for 3rd place

In the team race the Foyle Valley Girls packed well to secure Foyle Valley first ever team silver in the female NI & Ulster intermediate cross country championships. Team scorers Sarah Lindsay (2nd) Martina McMullan (13th), Charlene McIntyre (14th) and Denise McElhone (17th) combined well to score 46 points to secure second place with Omagh harriers 1st on 32 points and City of Derry 3rd team on 75 points.

Foyle Valleys silver ladies were backed up with the ever reliable Deirdre Quigg in 24th place, Orla Moran 54th, club secretary Denise Doherty 61st and Kate Meehan 77th.

The final race of the day saw the Junior/Intermediate Men take to the start for their 10k race; although they did not have to battle the same torrential rain as those before them, the men had to endure a very ‘cut up’ course. The race for individual gold was a long fought out battle between Ryan McDermott (Annadale Striders) Mark Hoy (Finn Valley AC) and Eoghan Totten (Newcastle AC). It wasn’t until the 3rd lap that Ryan McDermott and Mark Hoy could break away from Newcastle’s Eoghan Totten.

The battle continued between Hoy and McDermott until midway through the fourth lap, Then McDermott made his break. As the race entered the final stages, Ryan McDermott continually increased his lead, while Mark Hoy was beginning to forge a gap between himself and Eoghan Totten. Ryan continued his relentless pace all the way to the finish line, breaking the tape in 36:28.  Mark Hoy sealed 2nd place in 36:40, before Eoghan Totten completed the podium finishers in 37:08 (3rd place).

In the NI & Ulster Intermediate XC team race the battle for the impressive trophy was between Finn Valley AC, Newcastle AC and Foyle Valley AC.

Finn Valley AC lads of Mark Hoy and Gerard Gallagher hit the front group from the start with clear intentions to make their mark on the race.   Foyle Valley AC and Newcastle AC battled throughout the race, but it was Newcastle Ac’s close packing which prevailed to take the team title from favourites Finn Valley AC which left Foyle Valley AC narrowly missing out on silver by 3 points and first by 6 points. Foyle Valley scorers included club captain Scott Rankin who had a great race to finish 5th, Keith Shiels finishing his xc season for 12th place, Chris McGuiness was only 4 seconds back in 13th place, Adrian McGowan having a stormer to finish 14th, Pius McIntyre made his return from having a foot injury to finish 20th and Steven Connor finished off the scoring to finish 35th.

The team was backed up by Matthew McLaughlin, Dara McNulty, John Collins and Declan Doherty.

This was Foyle Valleys 3rd consecutive season on the team podium.

Strong FVAC Presence for NI Intermediate Championships

Looking ahead to this weekend’s race action Foyle Valley will be fielding an equally strong men and women’s team for the Northern Ireland  Junior, Intermediate and Masters Cross Country Championships at Lurgan.

The men’s team, captained by Scott Rankin, will include Keith Shiels, Chris McGuinness, Pius McIntyre, brothers Adrian and Michael McGowan, Stephen Connor, Mathew McLaughlin, Dara McNulty, John Collins, Darren Wallace and Declan Doherty. The men will be treated to a 10k race of the undulating course.

The women’s team comprises the three scorers from the winning Ulster Novice side – Sarah Lindsay, Charlene McIntyre and Denise McElhone. The girls are supported by Martina McMullan and female team captain, Deirdre Quigg. All taking part in a shorter 4k race of the course, the girls will be hoping to be build upon their success at the Novice race held at Gransha back in October.

Foyle Valley will also field male and female Masters teams at Lurgan. Billy Orr, Michael Lyttle, Ciaran Graham, Chris Ryan and Frank Bradley will line up for the men’s side. Whilst Denise Doherty, Paula Fleming, Orla Moran and Kate Meehan will compete in the women’s Masters race.

Turning to the road….. The Dungiven 10k on Saturday is also set to draw in a few Foyle Valley runners who are looking to set their time over this distance in preparation for their forthcoming half marathons and or full marathons.

Adrian wins Letterkenny AC 5m Road Race

On Sunday 12th January 2014, Foyle Valley’s Adrian McGowan put on an impressive display of front running to win the Letterkenny 5 mile road race in County Donegal, Ireland.

The up and coming star led from start to finish, eventually breaking the tape in 26:49, approximately one minute ahead Letterkenny AC’s Paul McGlinchey (27:45) and Tir Chonaill AC’s Paul Ward (27:51), who took 2nd place and 3rd place respectively.  Michael Murphy (City of Derry AC) was also in action at the same event, and just missed a podium place after crossing the line in 28:29 (4th place).  The ladies race was won by Fionnuala Diver (Letterkenny AC) in 29:51.



Foyle Valley AC’s Keith Shiels put in another top class performance to take second place in the Greencastle five mile road race.

Nearly 800 runners turned out for the 28th annual running of the prestigious event set in the foothills  of the snow covered Sperrin Mountains.

In excellent running conditions, pre-race favourite Stephen Scullion (Clonliffe Harriers) led from start to finish, taking the tape in 25.09 with Shiels in second spot in 26.10.

Recently crowned Northern Ireland and Ulster Novice Cross Country champion Conan McCaughey (Enniskillen Running Club) claimed third place in 26:40.

In the ladies race, well-respected Irish Olympian Maria McCambridge (Letterkenny AC) showed her class to win in 28:25



Gransha XC

On Saturday 21st December 2013, the the fifth race of the Athletics NI XC League 2013/14 took place, the North West XC, at Gransha Grounds, Derry/Londonderry.

The men’s race was an exciting affair, with Allan Bogle (City of Derry AC), Alan O’Hara (North Belfast Harriers), Scott Rankin (Foyle Valley AC), Chris McGuiness (Foyle Valley AC), all looking in good form throughout.  However Allan Bogle (19.27), eventually celebrated victory in a battle with Scott Rankin  (2nd place – 19:30) up to the finish. In a very close finish, Alan O’Hara (3rd place – 19:35) just pipped Chris McGuiness (4th place – 19:36) to the final podium place.

Martina McMullan (24.09) led the Foyle Valley ladies home with a very strong run followed closely by Sarah Lindsay (24.20) and Charlene McIntyre (25.39) continuing her fine form.

In total there were 29 runners from Foyle Valley with some excellent runs – everyone is improving dramatically each race and really shows the winter training is paying off.

Well done to the following members who all ran very well Puis McIntyre (20.05), Adrian McGowan (20.13), Dara McNulty (22.01), Darren Wallace (22.20), Declan Doherty (22.39), Ciaran Graham (22.56), Barry Dinsmore (23.00), Matt McLaughlin (23.06), Chris Ryan (23.39), Barry Smith (24.06), Martina McMullan (24.09), Sarah Lindsay (24.20), Jim McGuiness (24.43), Charlene McIntyre (25.39), Michael Lyttle (25.40), Billy Orr (25.43), Deirdre Quigg (26.14), Frankie Bradley (26.22), Michael Houston (26.53), Peter McLaughlin (26.56) Trish McClintock (27.50), Eamon McAuley (28.21) Orla Moran (28.39), Ray Monaghan (28.47), Denise Doherty (29.01) and Kate Meehan (31.00).

Thanks again to coaches Gabriel Bell and Donal Dunn.

Quality field at Waterford

On Sunday 15th December 2013, Foyle Valley athletes travelled to Waterford (Ireland) for the Woodies DIY AAI Novice & Uneven Age Group Cross Country Championships, with everyone putting in notable performances in a top class field. In the mens race, Foyle Valley was well represented – fielding Keith Shiels, Scott Rankin, Puis McIntyre, Adrian McGowan, Stephen Connor, Dara McNulty, Declan Doherty and Ciaran Graham. Keith Shiels finished in 20:47 (26th place), before Scott Rankin (20:54).  Pius McIntyre was the next runner to cross the line in 21:04 (38th place), Adrian McGowan and Steven Connor both ran well, with Adrian recording 21:23 (59th place) and Steven 21:53 (83rd place).  Dara McNulty (160th place – 23:28), Declan Doherty (170th place – 23:47) and Ciaran Graham (195th place – 24:28) completed the Foyle Valley team.  The men’s race was won by Clonmel AC’s Sean Tobin in 19:23.

In the ladies 4,000m event, recent NI & Ulster Novice XC gold medallist, Sarah Lindsay was first home for the team in 16:49 (33rd place), while Martina McMullan finished just behind in 17:02 (43rd place).  Charlene McIntyre clocked 17:31 (62nd place), before teammates Denise McElhone (18:32) and Deirdre Quigg (18:34) nipped inside the top 100 finishers, taking 99th place and 100th place respectively.  Trish McClintock (Foyle Valley AC) also put in a strong performance, completing the distance in 19:41 (108th place).  The ladies race was won by Michelle McGee (Bothers Pearse AC) in 14:48.

Valley head to All-Ireland

Athletes from Foyle Valley will travel to Waterford this coming weekend to compete in the AAI All Ireland Cross Country Novice. The club has entered both a men’s and women’s team into the event, that will see clubs from across the four provinces of Ireland travel to compete in.

Following on from the women’s team success at the Northern Ireland and Ulster Novice at Gransha in November, Foyle Valley will field an equally strong team for the Irish novice.  Newcomers Sarah Lindsay and Charlene McIntyre will be seeking to stamp their mark at an all-Ireland level. Whilst Foyle Valley regulars Martina McMullan, Denise McElhone, Deirdre Quigg and Trish McClintock will match their efforts to contest the honours in the female race. The Foyle Valley ladies will be treated to a 4k race of a course based at the Waterford WIT and will need 4 out of the 6 runners to feature highly in the rankings to be in with a chance of claiming any all-Ireland success.

The men’s team is made up of Foyle Valley stalwarts Keith Shiels, Scott Rankin, Pius McIntyre, Decky Doherty, Dara McNulty and Ciaran Graham. They will be joined by rising stars Adrian McGowan and Stephen Connor, representing a strong eight man team from the club to take on the 6k course.  The men will need 6 high finishers to achieve any honours.

Ably assisted by club coaches, Donal Dunn and Gabriel Bell, the two teams are confident about this weekend’s race. Gabriel said: The All-Ireland novice is an important race in the annual national cross country calendar. As a coach I felt we had very strong teams to compete for honours in both the men’s and women’s races.  We have a great mix of mature and new runners in each team and this will stand us in good stead for the two races. In training they all work very hard together and have gelled very well as a team.”

Strong showing at Ballyclare and Eskra

Foyle Valley was represented today at the Malcolm Cup in  Ballyclare on a crisp dry day.  Underfoot conditions were good for the 3 mile female race and 4 mile male race. Scott Rankin led for most of the race and had a very strong second place finish. John Collins had a very strong race, followed by Declan Doherty, Conor Donaghey, Chris Ryan, Rodney Campbell, Jim McGuinness, Frankie Bradley and Declan McGill.

Martina McMullan was first home for the purple vests supported by Deirdre Quigg, Trish McClintock, Paula Fleming, Orla Moran, Kate Meehan, Caroline McMenamin and Denise Doherty.

A big thank you to Tom, Maura and Jim for the massive support all day.

This was the 4th race in the XC League with next race scheduled for 21st December in Gransha Park. Well done to all involved.

Meanwhile in Eskra (County Tyrone) Foyle Valley had six runners participating in the “Rudolph Run” 10K.  Now in its fourth year this very popular 10K race was superbly organised by Knockranny Running Club primarily to raise funds for local charities.  However, this year the Philippines Disaster Fund was added to the list of worthwhile beneficiaries.

And on a testing course Foyle Valley’s Keith Shiels returned to winning ways with an emphatic victory in a time of 32:22.  Keith lead the race from start to finish and was joined on the podium by Glenn Phair (Annadale Striders) in second place (33:03) and Stephen Prentice from the Ennikillen Running Club in third (34:08).  Keith by his own admission was somewhat disappointed with his performance at last weeks Joe Seeley 10K in Belfast, but was delighted with his win on Saturday.  Keith said after the race that he was pleased with his win having come second to Stephen Duncan (Omagh Harriers) at last years race, “last year I ran 32:52 so I’m certainly happy with my time this year”.

Foyle Valley’s other participants all had good runs.  Billy Orr 42:07,  Packy Deehan, the Clubs newly elected Chairman ran a strong 46:32 for his second 10K race in a week, Peter Loughrey 46:34, and Liam Clarke 47:02.  Valley’s sole female participant, Edel McCarthy, posted an excellent time of 51:01.

The ladies race was won by Pauline McGurren (Sperrin Harriers) in 39:53, Grainne Kelly (Knockmany Runners) was second in 42:20, and Deirdre Haigney of Omagh Harriers took third in 42;43.   Enniskillen Running Club took the men’s team prize with Omagh Harriers taking the female title.


As for the Foyle Valley participants Keith of course was delighted with his victory, but all the purple vests in attendance agreed that this was a great event.  Well organised, good course, friendly crowd, and enough refreshments at the end to feed not only Rudolph but every other reindeer and runner for miles!

  Rankin first home for Valley

On Saturday 30th August 2013, nearly eight hundred runners turned out for the ANI championship 10k road race – Podium 4 Sport Seeley Cup 10k at Ormeau Park. Perfect weather conditions complimented the top quality field for an entertaining race.

City of Derry’s Conor Bradley and Armagh’s Fionnuala Ross were impressive winners in the male and female race in 30:34 and 34:45 respectively. Scott Rankin was first home for Foyle Valley recording an impressive PB 31:11 taking 7th position in the overall race. Keith Shiels finished 8th in another impressive time of 31:28. Chris McGuinness continued his fine form and recorded another PB crossing the line in 32:55 making up the top 20. Pius McIntyre was home in 34:09.

Notebale PB’s from Darren Wallace, Rodney Campbell and Eamon McAuley capped off a great day for Foyle Valley Athletes. There were a number of other top quality performances on the day, showing the winter training is really paying off with the following times: Michael Lyttle 41:22, Martina Mc Mullan 41:24, Sarah Lindsay 41:52, Charlene  Mc Intyre 42:31, Deirdre Quigg 42:36, Frankie Bradley 42:53, Charlene Slevin 45:00, Trish Mc Clintock 45:43, Orla  Moran 47:23, Denise Doherty 47:49, Miriam McFadden 47:50, Packy  Deehan 48:15, Kate  Meehan 48:34.

Well done to all!

Seeley Cup 10K Next

Foyle Valley are hoping Ormeau Park will be a happy hunting ground as we aim for both individual and team glory at the Podium 4 Sport Seeley Cup next weekend.

The 10k road race is a key date in the winter calendar for us on the road race circuit.

We will look to Keith Shiels and Scott Rankin for individual honours while the ever-improving Adrian McGowan along with Chris McGuinness and Puis McIntyre will make up a sterling Valley line up.

Shiels is in great form with his bronze medal at the Masters International Cross-Country race at Cardiff last week while Rankin had a very strong run in the recent McConnell Shield.

The ladies will be led by Martina McMullan and Sarah Lindsay who recently won the NI Ulster Novice XC, with Deirdre Quigg, Miriam McFadden, Denise Doherty, Orla Moran, Trish McClintock, Charlene Slevin and Kate Meehan all making the trip to Antrim for a strong Valley showing.

Other Foyle Valley runners that will toe to the line include Darren Wallace, Barry Smith, Rodney Campbell, Mark McClintock, Eamon McAuley, Frankie Bradley and Michael Lyttle.

The ever dependable Gabriel Bell and Donal Dunn will complete the coaching team.


Foyle Valley athlete Keith Shiels’ excellent year continued with another outstanding performance on Saturday past – this time at the British and Irish Masters Cross Country International held in Cardiff, Wales.

Keith put in an impressive display to take the bronze medal in the veteran 35 category – but more impressively. finished seventh in the overall race that featured a top class field of international cross country athletes.

Keith said he was “delighted” with his performance.

Keith’s performances this year have seen him record victories in recorded victories in  Felix 10k, Whitehead 5, Buncrana 5k, Fairhill 5 and the NIMAA Cross Country in which he cruised to victory last month.

The highlight of his performances was his victory in the Waterside Half Marathon.



Foyle Valley Ladies win Ulster XC Novice

Foyle Valley ladies put in a gritting performance to win the Ulster Novice XC at the Gransha    rounds on Sunday 10th November. The ladies 4k race was an exciting affair, with Foyle Valley AC lady Sarah Lindsay putting in a notable performance.  Sarah started well, but it was only in the latter stages of the race that she shone, working her way into the lead and ultimately claiming victory in 15:56.65 (1st place).  Charlene McIntyre (Foyle Valley AC) also impressed, claiming the runners up spot in 16:11.65 (2nd place) ahead of Finn Valley AC’s Kathleen McNulty (3rd place – 16:19.85). Following the strong showing from Sarah Lindsay and Charlene McIntyre, as well as their club mate Denise McElhone, Foyle Valley AC were announced as the winners of the Senior Ladies Novice XC title.



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