Monday 18 December 2017

Athletics: Classic win for John Coghlan

John Coghlan
John Coghlan

GREEN was the theme for the record 1,700 registered for the annual St Patrick's Festival 5km in Dublin's Georgian heart last Sunday, with long queues for the face painters before the race began.

While families and visitors enjoyed the atmosphere, the race up front turned into a classic.

Clonliffe's Mark Kennealy has had a tough struggle with injuries over the past year or so, but he made a determined start to the race, leading out a field where his main rival would prove to be John Coghlan of organising club Metro St Brigid's.

This race has played a huge part in the Coghlan family history. Bill Coghlan, then president of Athletics Ireland, came up with the idea of a Streets of Dublin race the idea in the 1980s, and it was his son Eamonn who won it the first time it was held on St Patrick's Day.

Eamonn's son John first won the race two years ago and he put in a class performance to take his second victory on Sunday.

He let Kenneally do the hard work early on making his move with a kilometre to go and coming home the winner in 14 mins 32 secs - just three seconds clear of the Clonliffe man.

Finishing third was John Frazer who was leading his club Crusaders to team victory, while fourth was Irish schools cross-country champion Kevin Mulcaire of Ennis TC.

After three tough races in the past few weeks, Mulcaire will take a break now before attempting to make the 5000m qualifying time for the European Juniors.

As for John Coghlan, he's thinking of taking on the steeplechase this summer. "I've been training over the hurdles so we'll see how it goes."

Of the women, Fionnuala Britton repeated her victory of last year finishing in a time of 15 mins 52 secs, with Letterkenny's Anne-Marie McGlynn running a respectable 16 mins 18 secs for second place ahead of Siobhan O'Doherty of Borrisokane and Orla Drumm of Crusaders.

In fifth place and first master was Catherina McKiernan - not bad for an athlete whose distinguished international career ended 12 years ago.

All five women broke 17 minutes, with sixth placed Maria O'Sullivan of Raheny just a second over the magic barrier.

Among the happy finishers were members of the Lord Mayor's Five Alive Challenge squad who now have only the Dublin City Council Road Races in St Anne's Park on March 28 to go in their five-race challenge.

Leading out the race on his motorbike was a happy Eamonn Coghlan.

"Everything went very smoothly - we had over 1,300 pre-entered which is our highest ever."

Next year, the race faces a new challenge when the Luas tracks finally go down.

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