ATHLETICS: Eight runners picked to represent Northern Ireland and Ulster at Armagh International

Northern Ireland's Laura Graham.
Northern Ireland's Laura Graham.

Eight athletes have been selected to represent Northern Ireland and Ulster in the Armagh International Road Races at The Mall on February 15.

The women’s team is comprised of Laura Graham, Emma Mitchell, Kerry O’Flaherty and Fionnuala Ross while James Edgar, Neil Johnston, Danny Mooney and Scott Rankin will be the men’s squad.

Laura Graham is the Irish marathon champion and Belfast winner, Emma Mitchell has been setting track records and came first at the Seeley and Greencastle; Kerry O’Flaherty is a World and Olympic steeplechaser while Fionnuala Ross, from Armagh, was a brilliant ninth in the Greenmount International before winning the Scottish Inter Districts.

Former junior star James Edgar is in the Commonwealth team for triathlon, Neil Johnston won at Ballyclare and the North West, Danny Mooney is a multi 1,500 champion while Scott Rankin holds the Northern Ireland and Ulster 10K title.

The programme starts with age group races from 6:30pm and builds up to the women’s international 3K at 8:05pm and men’s international 5K at 8:25pm.

Director of Coaching and Athlete Development, Jackie Newton, said: “This event offers a great opportunity for our athletes to compete against other high performance runners on home ground.

“Armagh AC do extraordinary in attracting deep fields of competitive athletes from home and overseas including Poland, Finland, the USA and New Zealand.”

The event, now in its 28th year, set a world record last time for the greatest number of runners breaking 15 minutes in the men’s 5K.

Olympic and world finalist Laura Weightman set a women’s record of 8:59 for the 3K and returns once more.