Saturday 23 September 2017

Athletics: O Lionaird comeback lifts London hopes

LOCAL star Ciaran O Lionaird was the main attraction at the 61st Cork City Sports last night as he made his comeback from injury in the mile and, although he could only manage fourthplace finish, he managed to break four minutes.

Ryan Gregson of Australia won the race in 3:57:98, but O Lionaird's time of 3:58:84 was a big boost for the Leevale clubman heading towards the Olympics.

His preparation has been far from ideal, having spent the past four months recuperating from an Achilles injury that he picked up in March. But he jogged off after finishing the race and underwent a light training session on the track following the meeting's conclusion.

Meanwhile, Robert Heffernan was very happy with his time in the men's 3,000m walk, crossing the line in 11:14:29, with the race coming halfway through his most intense training spell before London.

It was just 0.2 seconds off his personal best in this shorter distance and, heading towards his fourth Olympics, the Corkman was in positive mood.

"I did 40k two days ago, and did 170k on the way into this, so it's the middle of my hardest training block before the Olympics. It was very good because the past six weeks have been very hard training," he said.

"Even mentally, it was a good test because you need a rehearsal. You've to prepare things like going into the call room and getting ready to race. I'm very happy with it."

Joanne Cuddihy finished third in the women's 400m, with a time of 51:86, and said she had experimented a little: "I only came in from Spain yesterday and I was looking at different ways to approach the race, and went out pretty hard -- but I really felt it in the last 50m.

"It's an experiment I won't be trying again."

Irish Independent

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