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Saturday 25 March 2017

O Lionaird and Robinson secure entry to four-minute mile club

Ciaran O Lionaird and Paul Robinson gained entry to the exclusive Irish sub-four-minute mile club on Friday night as each athlete delivered a top-drawer performance in the Morton Mile -- the highlight event from an evening of brilliant athletics at the Morton Stadium -- a fitting tribute to the Clonliffe Harriers 125th Anniversary celebrations.

O Lionaird, from Leevale AC in Cork, finished a brilliant third in 3:57.99 and Paul Robinson (St Cocas AC) just edged in under the magical barrier with 3:59.99 which makes him the youngest member of the exclusive club.

But spare a thought for Sean Connolly from Tallaght AC, who missed out on a sub-four performance by the narrowest of margins, 4:00.14.

This was an exceptional performance though by Connolly (28) -- a graduate of Iona College in the USA -- especially when you consider that he ran 2:17.23 for the marathon in Rotterdam last April, an event in which he's hopeful of making Olympic selection.

Connolly, who is coached by Dick Hooper, has October's Dublin Marathon as his main focus and he's hopeful that he can achieve an Olympic 'A' standard time of 2:15 in this year's race.

This weekend Connolly will compete at 5,000m on the track in Heusden, Belgium, where a number of other Irish athletes, including Mullingar's Mark Christie, are set to compete.

"It was tough to miss the sub four-minute mile target by such a small margin," Connolly said, "but it will be worth anything if I can get that Olympic Marathon qualifying standard."

Irish Independent

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