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Rob and Marian's joy at baby girl

IT was a marathon labour, but the wife of world champion race walker Rob Heffernan has crossed the finish line with a beautiful baby girl.

Marian, who's also Rob's coach, had been in labour for almost 25 hours.

And the golden couple of Irish athletics said it was the perfect conclusion to an incredible 12 months and they were "over the moon".

The little girl, who weighed in at a healthy 8lbs, was born just after 4pm in Cork University Maternity Hospital (CUMH).

The couple have not picked a name, but said they would listen to suggestions from their children, Cathal and Meghan.

"It's brilliant. I'm thrilled. It caps a wonderful year for us all," said Rob.


"Life doesn't get any better than this. I have a new baby daughter and I am so proud of my wife Marian and the staff at CUMH."

Marian went into labour on Saturday afternoon just before Rob was about to start a training session.

The couple rushed to CUMH and, unlike her speedy dad, the baby was in no rush to be delivered.

Congratulations have flooded in from around the world.

Rob struck gold at the World Athletics Championships in Moscow last year when he won the 50km walk.

His aim now is to have a tilt at an Olympic medal at the Rio games in 2016.

Marian is a talented athlete herself, but put her career on hold to help coach her husband.

Rob said that without her advice and commitment, he would never have won gold in Moscow.

The Togher AC star is only Ireland's third world champion and the second from Cork after Sonia O'Sullivan.

In a remarkable year, Rob delivered a record-breaking performance at the Cork City Sports, won gold in Russia and was honoured at Cork's Person of the Year awards last week.