THERE was great excitement in sports circles here last week as the First Lady of Irish Athletics, Sonia O'Sullivan dropped in for a surprise visit.
Her first stop was to Castleisland Boys' National School on Friday morning and she made a second, well heralded visit to An Riocht Athletic Club on the Sunday afternoon.
Sonia was accompanied by Ger Keane â?“ who is fast building a worldwide reputation for his physiotrerapy skills on high performance, high profile athletes.
It was just a few weeks with a year ago that Ger arrived at the boys' national and to An Riocht with Sonia's English counterpart, Paula Radcliffe as she had also been receiving the benefits of his healing hands at his 'Physical Therapy Clinic here in Castleisland.
It was An Riocht AC manager, Denny McSweeney who surprised Sonia O'Sullivan with a welcome speech which included every honour the Cobh born athlete had won in a glittering and very public career.
She was taken aback with Denny's fluency in the affairs of her sports career and without reference to paper or prompt.
Mr. McSweeney then presented her with a club tracksuit top and, in expressing her gratitude, she said that she was delighted that it was in her favourite colour.
To the many young, aspiring athletes who gathered around her with autograph books she gave them her time with grace and patience. And God only knows what influence her presence will have on them in the years ahead.