| 11.4°C Dublin

sweeney singing in phoenix rain

Undeterred by the rain, a record 239 athletes from clubs all over the country turned out for a memorable Gerry Farnan/Sheila Brennan Cross-Country, hosted by Metro St Brigid's in Dublin's Phoenix Park.

That came after a packed programme of juvenile league races and the Dublin U18 championships -- cross-country is back and it's thriving!

First up were the women and with most of the top Irish women aiming for next Monday's Dublin Marathon, Fionnuala Britton of Slí Cualann was in a class of her own.



course

Over the three-mile course, she built up a lead of over a minute on DSD's Aoife Culhane, with Leevale's Lizzie Lee a close third.

Leading home the masters in fourth place was Clare Gibbons McCarthy of St Finbarr's, who was fighting for a place on the Irish team for next month's British and Irish International in Scotland.

Raheny's Annette Kealy, in eighth place, was first over 40, followed by May Scully of Mullingar and Ríocht's Niamh O'Sulivan who was first over 45.

First over 55 and sixth veteran overall was former world track champion Carmel Parnell of Leevale. Raheny Shamrocks, led by Elish Kelly, sixth, and Orla O'Mahoney, seventh, took first in the team category.

Almost as dominant in the men's five-mile race was Joe Sweeney (pictured) of DSD.

The current national champion pushed the pace from the start, with Michael Mulhare of North Laois, Leevale's Mark Hanranhan and Eddie McGinley of Annadale doing their best to hold on. By the finish, Sweeney had over a minute to spare on Mulhare, who could help the Irish U23 team take another medal at the European Cross-Country Championships in December.

Hanrahan finished third ahead of the fast-finishing John Coghlan, from the host club MSB, and McGinley.



adrift

In a closely-fought team competition, DSD beat Annadale by a single point, with Raheny two points adrift for third -- 16 clubs had entered teams.

First master home was Annadale's former Irish champion David Morwood, who was 16th overall, narrowly beating Peter Matthews of DSD, the current British and Irish champion. Third home was Raheny's Mick Traynor, who will lead the over-45 team in Scotland.