Wednesday 7 December 2016

Clare's Sean Hehir best of the Irish at London Marathon

Cathal Dennehy

Published 24/04/2016 | 18:49

Runner pass through Parliament Square during the 2016 Virgin Money London Marathon. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Sunday April 24, 2016. See PA story ATHLETICS Marathon. Photo credit should read: Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire
Runner pass through Parliament Square during the 2016 Virgin Money London Marathon. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Sunday April 24, 2016. See PA story ATHLETICS Marathon. Photo credit should read: Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire
Athletics - 2016 Virgin Money London Marathon - London - 24/4/16 Kenya's Eliud Kipchoge celebrates winning the men's race, setting a course record time Action Images via Reuters / Paul Childs.

Sean Hehir was the leading Irish finisher at the London Marathon today, the Clare man taking 15 seconds off his personal best to run 2:17:20.

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The men’s race was won by Kenya’s Eliud Kipchoge, who missed the world record by just eight seconds when running 2:03:05, while the women's title went to Jemima Sumgong in 2:22:58.

Hehir led a horde of Irish elites who were taking their last shot at Olympic qualification, with Thomas Frazer the second fastest home in 2:19:17, followed by Stephen Scullion with 2:20:39 and Gary O’Hanlon in 2:21:42. Laura Graham was the leading Irishwoman in 2:48:03, while Fionnuala Ross ran 2:49:57.

However none of the quartet is expected to figure when Athletics Ireland pick their team for the Olympic Marathon on May 23, and that selection picture remains murky.

While Lizzie Lee, Fionnuala McCormack and Kevin Seaward all appear certain to be picked, the remaining spots are up in the air. The third fastest Irishwoman is Belfast’s Breege Connolly, who ran her qualifying time of 2:37:29 a year ago in London, but has shown scant evidence of form in 2016.

On the men’s side, Sergiu Ciobanu, Mick Clohisey and Paul Pollock have all made legitimate cases for selection. Of those, Clohisey is fastest, but Ciobanu ran his qualifying time in the earliest performance window, which was said to be of higher priority for selectors.

Pollock, meanwhile, is fourth fastest on marathon times, but trounced both Seaward and Ciobanu at the World Half Marathon Championships last month, where he finished 14th.

Elsewhere over the weekend, Georgina Drumm was elected President of the association at the Athletics Ireland Congress on Saturday, beating Ray Flynn by a count of 171 votes to 23. “I’m delighted to be elected,” said the Louth woman, who took over from Ciarán Ó Catháin. “I’m looking forward to working with the CEO, the staff and volunteers.”

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