David O’Flaherty and Diane Wilson excel at Hill & Dale opener
by Ryan Maxwell from NIRunning
On Thursday 17th April 2014, Newcastle AC welcomed athletes to the scenic Castlewellan Forest Park in County Down for the opening race of their popular Hill & Dale Series.
As the athletes set off on the 5 mile course (which incorporated 900ft of ascending), it was Newcastle AC’s Seamus Lynch who headed the pack. However, before long, Seamus was joined at the front by club mate David O’Flaherty. The duo battled it out for top spot as a group containing Neil Carty (North Belfast Harriers), David Steele (Newcastle AC) and Paul Carlin (Newcastle AC) gave chase. As the race progressed, David O’Flaherty began to move clear of Seamus Lynch; not looking back, David, who was a podium finisher at the recent Castlewellan Spring Lakes 10k, gradually increased the gap, before breaking the tape in 31:28 (1st place) to win. Seamus took a well-deserved 2nd place in 32:08, before David Steele outpaced Neil Carty to take 3rd place in 32:30.
The ladies race was a close affair throughout, with Diane Wilson (Dromore AC), Shileen O’Kane (Lagan Valley AC) and a lady more known for her performances on the road, Catherine O’Connor (East Down AC), all in contention. The trio appeared to work off each other well, but in the end, it was the current NIMRA Champion, Diane Wilson who took victory in 39:12 (1st place). Catherine O’Connor followed in 39:38 (2nd place), while the ever consistent Shileen O’Kane claimed the final podium place in 39:54 (3rd place).
Top 3 Men: 1st David O’Flaherty (Newcastle AC) 31:28, 2nd Seamus Lynch (Newcastle AC) – 32:08, 3rd David Steele (Newcastle AC) – 32:30
Top 3 Ladies: 1st Diane Wilson (Dromore AC) – 39:12, 2nd Catherine O’Connor (East Down AC) – 39:38, 3rd Shileen O’Kane (Lagan Valley AC) – 39:54