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Irish soccer hero Kevin's gruelling race for charities

Former Republic of Ireland star Kevin Kilbane has shown that he's kept fit since retiring from football two years ago, by taking part in a gruelling endurance race on Croagh Patrick.

The 37-year-old was among 1,700 competitors taking on the Sea2Summit Adventure Race in Mayo for two good causes, Down Syndrome Ireland and the John Giles Foundation.


Brave participants undertook a running and cycle race on and around Croagh Patrick and also ran along the rugged coastline.

Both charities mean a great deal to the former Irish international, especially as his ten-year-old daughter has Down Syndrome. Kilbane said the event was a wonderful experience.

"It was fabulous for all of us and the amount of money and awareness that we have raised has been breath-taking," he said.

"Johnny Giles does a lot as well and I am so happy that I could help that foundation because it does such great work with grassroots football.

"So with that and Down Syndrome Ireland they are two charities that are very close to my heart."

Kilbane racked up an astonishing 110 caps during his Ireland career that saw him play during the 2002 World Cup in Japan and South Korea.

The competitors in the race set out from the Castlecourt Hotel in the town on Saturday morning. Favourite for the race, Cavan man Dessie Duffy won the Supreme Event (56.5km) on a time of 2:51:32 hours while Fiona Meade won the women's category in 3:31:42 hours.

Kilbane ran the Spirit Event (30km) in 2:03:11 hours. The winner was Jerry O'Sullivan and Sonia Knox won the women's equivalent.

"To see some of the guys coming down the reek, it was incredible the speed of some of them. The race itself was hell at times but it was just a fabulous day," added Kilbane. "The people over here have shown so much warmth towards us. All of these people have been a pleasure to work with."