Emer McKee and Brandon Downey win NI Primary School Cross Country League

 Brandon Downey and Emer McKee took first place in the Flahavan's Athletics NI Primary School Cross Country League boys and girls races
Malcolm McCausland

AFTER months of training and two qualifying rounds, Emer McKee from St Joseph’s Primary School, Ballyhackamore and Brandon Downey from Sacred Heart Primary School, Omagh were crowned winners of the Flahavan’s Athletics NI Primary School Cross Country League after securing first place in the girls’ and boys’ races respectively.

Over 400 local athletes, aged between nine and 11 years old, competed in the final, which was held at Mallusk Playing Fields on Wednesday January 22. St Brigid’s Primary School, Mayogall, Magherafelt was recognised as the overall bestperforming boys’ school and King’s Park Primary School, Lurgan was recognised as the overall best-performing girls’ school.

The league, which is committed to encouraging children to lead a healthy and active lifestyle, was launched by Olympian and 2018 European Championships athlete Kerry O’Flaherty and para-athlete James Hamilton.

Both athletes presented the successful competitors with their medals and, speaking at the event, O’Flaherty said: “It’s been wonderful to see so many runners competing in this year’s league. The standard of the competition this year has been fantastic and is testament to the primary schools’ dedication and hard work throughout the year.’’

Hamilton added: “All the competitors should be very proud of their efforts this year. It’s fantastic to see so many young people coming into the crosscountry community and laying the foundations for a potential athletics career.”

Alice Quirke, brand manager for Flahavan’s, said: “We’re proud to have sponsored the league for the past nine years and during that time we’ve seen thousands of young athletes progress through the competition, with many going on to have successful athletic careers. Everyone at Flahavan’s – you should be very proud of your efforts!”

Following the final, the top 20 girls and top 20 boys are invited to join the Flahavan’s ANI Junior Endurance Squad to support their development as athletes in the year ahead.

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