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Cullen return marker

Mary Cullen of Sligo made a spectacular return to racing when she finished first woman in the AXA 30th Raheny 5-Mile last Sunday. Her time of 25 mins 35 secs puts her second on the all-time Irish list to Sonia O'Sullivan.

Cullen, who was injured for most of last year after winning the national cross-country, was pencilled in for the European Cross-Country Championships but withdrew. She is thinking of running indoors in the next few weeks and could cause some damage – she holds the national indoor 3,000m record of 8:43.74.

Also in good shape is Mark Christie of Mullingar Harriers, whose winning time of 23 mins 57 secs was the fastest in some years, but still outside Gerry Curtis' course record of 22.39, set in 1987. Both Michael Mulhare of Portlaoise, 2nd, and Mick Clohisey of host club Raheny Shamrock, 3rd, were close to breaking 24 minutes.

Finishing second woman was the ageless Catherina McKiernan, who claims to be a "fun runner" these days but still ran a time of 27.53 and beat national novice champion Michelle McGee of Brothers Pearse, who was a close third in 27.57.

DOUBLE

Raheny Shamrock made it a senior team double, with Donore first of the master men and Tallaght best of the master women. A record total of 2,600 had signed up for the race, with 2,285 finishers and 664 in the children's races.

On a busy weekend for road running, starters in the John Treacy 10-Mile in Dungarvan faced hail and driving rain, but still produced some impressive performances. Upfront, the tall figure of Tomás Fitpatrick from Tallaght was prominent from the start and he held off Rathfarnham's Seán Hehir to win in 49 mins 48 secs – just 20 seconds off the course record. Hehir finished 11 seconds adrift, followed by James McCarthy of East Cork.

Making a surprise comeback in fourth place was England-based Seán Connolly of Tallaght, who had taken a long break from running.

Siobhán O'Doherty of Borrisokane was first woman in 56 mins 53 secs, followed by Gladys Ganiel of North Belfast Harriers. Maria McCambridge started the race but was forced to drop out at three miles. A total of 1,592 completed the race.


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