Hehir heads the Raheny bidders
WITH Joe Sweeney not defending his title, Seán Hehir (pictured) of Rathfarnham WSAF could lead home a record entry of over 2,000 at Sunday's AXA Raheny 5-Mile race.
Hehir, who won the National Half Marathon title last September, has had a near perfect streak since then with his only blip coming at the Dublin Cross-Country Championships where he lost out to John Coghlan of MSB.
Last year, Hehir finished fourth in the race, just behind Annadale's Paddy Hamilton -- Northern Irish athletes are strong supporters of this race.
One to watch is Raheny '5' regular Sean Connolly of Tallaght. A winner in 2009 and 2010, Connolly finished second last year behind Sweeney in his best ever time of 23 minutes 54 seconds. Connolly's Tallaght clubmate Tomas Fitzpatrick is another athlete likely to be in contention after a solid win at the Heath 10km in Co Laois last week.
Leading the charge for host club Raheny Shamrock is Mick Clohisey, fresh from his victory at the Leinster Cross-Country Championships.
Raheny junior Kevin Dooney will hope to improve on his 10th place of last year.
Of the women, last year's winner, Deirdre Byrne of Slí Cualann, made a solid return to racing over the holiday period and could defend her title.
Linda Byrne, winner in 2010 from Fionnuala Britton and Maria McCambridge, would be a strong favourite to win if she opts to run.
With Aoife Talty and Elish Kelly both injured, Raheny's best hope lies with the veteran Annette Kealy, a previous winner of the race.
Because of the record numbers expected, online entry remains open until Saturday. No entries will be taken on the day.
Entries will be taken for the popular children's 800m (10-13 years) and mile (13-16 years) races.
To ease congestion, runners are asked to use public transport to get to the race HQ at Raheny GAA club -- less than 800m from Raheny Dart Station and also on the 29A, 31, 31A, 32, 32A and 32B bus routes.