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Thursday 21 November 2019

Masters for Abbotstown

Yared Derese of Carrick Aces will start at Abbotstown
Yared Derese of Carrick Aces will start at Abbotstown

With the evenings drawing in, the cross-country season is already well underway and will move up a gear on Sunday when the annual Autumn Open takes place in Abbotstown.

It's a busy period for cross-country athletes with the Dublin Championships at Santry on November 3, the Leinster Championships in Ferbane on November 9, and the National Inter-clubs at Abbotstown on November 24. Major target for senior athletes is the European Championships in Lisbon on December 8.

Already over are most of the novice county-championships, with a big turn-out for the Dublin Novice Championships in the Phoenix Park last week.

Leading home 71 finishers in the women's 4km race was Clara Costadura of Crusaders AC with Jodie McCann of Dublin City Harriers second,followed closely by her club-mates Cliona Murphy and Susan McManus third and fourth. Backed up by Edel McNamara, the club finished as first team ahead of Raheny Shamrock and Crusaders AC.

Winning the men's race from an entry of 117, was Efrem Gidey of Clonliffe Harriers who, a week earlier, was first home at the Rathfarnham 5km. Gidey finished comfortably clear of Pierre Murchan from Dublin City Harriers, with Matthieu Proffitt of Donore Harriers third.

Packing well to finish first team was Raheny Shamrock, led home by Robert Frewen in sixth place. Many of those athletes are likely to run on Sunday, with the Jim McNamara Trophy going to the top teams.

With €500 for the winning man and woman, and cash prizes down to fifth place, a strong entry is expected at Abbotstown, although athletes running the Dublin Marathon a week later are likely to give it a miss.

One certain starter is Yared Derese of Carrick Aces, who is the form man on the roads and won the Dublin Half Marathon in 63 mins 44 secs last month.

Last year's top three were Sean Tobin of Clonmel AC, Raheny's Kevin Dooney and Kevin Maunsell, also Clonmel AC.

Winning the women's race was Shona Heaslip of An Riocht AC, who has struggled with injury since then. One woman who may run is steeplechaser Michelle Finn, a comfortable winner of the Cork senior title last weekend less than a fortnight after competing at the World Championships in Doha.

The races will incorporate trial races for the British and Irish Masters' International, which guarantees large entries. Last year, 119 men and 100 women ran in age groups from over to over 80.

First of the master women last year was Teresa Doherty of Finn Valley AC who went on to win the women's race at the international held in Swansea.

First W50 last year was Annette Kealy, double gold medal winner at the recent European Masters. Another previous winner is Niamh O'Sullivan of An Riocht AC, now in the over 55 class.

Winning the men's race last year was Brian Maher of Kilkenny City Harriers; Maher won the international race in 2017. Fifth and first M50 was Shane Healy of MSB AC.

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