Belfast's Upper Malone Showcases Local Talent - Roberts and Gililand Triumph at Irish Universities Cross Country Championships

March 10, 2024

The Irish Universities Cross Country Championships landed in Belfast on the 9th of March 2024 and the Upper Malone venue, owned by Queen's University and also known as the Dub, became the stage for two local women to shine.

Roise Roberts from North Belfast Harriers was runner up last year and this year her determined run saw her go one better, winning for DCU in a time of 18:19. The Law and Spanish student has also competed in the U20 European Cross Country Championships and has really become a force to be reckoned with since her move to take up a scholarship at DCU. She is highly appreciative of the set up at the university, living with other athletes, facilities,.coaching and support.

In second place, five seconds down, was another local woman, student doctor Hannah Gililand, competing for the hosts, Queen's University Belfast. Hannah runs for Annadale Striders in the city and her coach is the legendary Paul Lawther of the same club. Paul still holds the 3000m steeplechase record at the famous Mary Peters Track, a stone's throw away from the course. Also among the spectators was the Ballymena Bullet, Eddie King, former middle distance ace and now sports therapist to the aforementioned Hannah Gilliland.

Celine Gavin of TCD was third in a time of 18:41 amd had the pleasure of leading her university to the team prize. Second was UCD and third DCU.

There was not so much success for Northern Ireland in the men's race. In first place was UL's Niall Murphy with a time of 26:37 followed by an Ulsterman, Sean McGinley of DCU (also Finn Valley AC). In third was Pierre Marchan from TCU. Seven seconds covered the first three.

The team results saw a win for UL followed by DCU and UG.

Overall team results (male and female combined) saw DCU take the title, UL in second amd TCD in third.