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Saturday 14 December 2019

Tobin aims to go one better

BACK FOR MORE: Sean Tobin will aim to win the National Cross-Country Championships in Abbotstown on Sunday. Photo: Sam Barnes/Sportsfile
BACK FOR MORE: Sean Tobin will aim to win the National Cross-Country Championships in Abbotstown on Sunday. Photo: Sam Barnes/Sportsfile

After finishing a close second last year, Clonmel's Sean Tobin is determined to go one better at Sunday's National Cross-Country Championships in Abbotstown.

Tobin has had a mixed year, but showed that he's right back in form when running a time of 14 mins 19 secs at last Saturday's Malahide Parkrun.

Other athletes likely to be in contention include Tobin's Clonmel clubmate Kevin Maunsell, who always targets this race and has rarely been out of the top five in recent years.

He had a final blow-out last weekend at the Stook 10km, near Gowran in Co Kilkenny, where he was just outpaced by brother William, with the pair finishing first and second in 32 mins 24 secs and 32:27.

Another man in good form is Yared Derese of Carrick Aces AC who clocked a course record time of time of 30 mins 36 secs when wining the Viking 10km in Annagassan Co Louth last Saturday, while also entered is Hugh Armstrong of Ballina AC. He finished third in 2017 and was third Irishman in the Dublin Marathon last month.

Defending team champions are Raheny Shamrock and selected for their team are marathon man Mick Clohisey, a previous winner of this race, along with last year's winner Kevin Dooney, his brother Conor, Brian Fay and Cillian Kirwan.

Clonliffe Harriers finished second last year and their squad includes Dublin champion Efrem Gidey, Cathal Doyle, who was second behind Gidey in Dublin, Colm Rooney and Ian Guiden, who won the Dublin club title. Clonliffe with 32 wins in this competition has a distinguished record in the race.

Leading the Dundrum South Dublin team is Hiko Tonosa, third at the Dublin Championships, along with Paul O'Donnell and Robert Corbally.

Entered for the women's race is Fionnuala McCormack of Kilcoole AC, fresh from her personal best 2:26.47 at the Chicago Marathon last month. McCormack has always loved cross-country running and has two European and eight national titles to prove it. She has also been a key member of the Irish teams that won European gold in 2012 and bronze in both 2014 and 2015.

Form athletes taking her on should include Michelle Finn, winner of the Bobby Rea International in Northern Ireland a few weeks ago, and Fionnuala Ross of Armagh AC, third last year.

Defending champion is Ciara Mageean now with City of Lisburn AC. Second behind her was the ageless Ann Marie McGlynn, second of the Irishwomen at last months Dublin Marathon.

Leevale AC will defend their team title, with a strong squad led by Finn and including her sister Carol, Michelle Kenny and Sinead O'Connor, a frequent winner on the roads over the summer.

Leading the entry for the junior women's race is defending champion Sarah Healy of UCD, who lined out for her college at last weekend's Irish University Road Relays as indeed did her UCD clubmate Darragh McElhinney, who will defend his junior men's title.

Others likely to run in the junior women's race include Jodie McCann of Dublin City Harriers and Aimee Hayde of Newport AC.

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