Saturday 23 February 2019

Masters take over St Anne's

Donore’s Barbara Cleary. Photo: Sportsfile
Donore’s Barbara Cleary. Photo: Sportsfile

Last year, a massive 400 turned out for the Dublin Master's Cross-Country Championships and a similar entry is expected on Sunday, making it probably the biggest cross-country race in the country.

The venue, as always, is St Anne's Park Raheny (1.0), where the women will run 3km and the men double that.

Predicting the eventual winners is never easy, since athletes move through the age groups every year and also injured athletes can disappear for long periods.

Last year's women's champion, Barbara Cleary of Donore, for instance, has hardly raced since finishing third in the National Masters last February. Nor has men's champion John Dunne of Raheny been racing much recently.

However, Ian Conroy of Raheny Shamrock, third last year and fourth at the National Masters a month later, proved his current good form when finishing third with partner Killian Mooney in the annual Castlereagh Christmas Cracker pairs race in Down last weekend.

Also in good shape are Niamh Boland and Adrienne Jordan of Crusaders, who finished third and fourth in the New Year's Day 5km. Crusaders are the defending W35 champions.

Among those moving into a new age group is Annette Kealy of host club Raheny Shamrock, who finished fifth overall last year and will surely lead her club to over-50 team victory. Another individual worth watching is Shane Healy of MSB.

Of the men's teams, Rathfarnham WSAF were on target for team gold last year when key team member Shane O'Neill pulled up injured, ending their title hopes.

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