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Irish masters facing Swansea test


Fiona Kehoe

Fiona Kehoe

Fiona Kehoe

A strong Irish team heads to Swansea in Wales this weekend for the annual British and Irish Masters Cross-Country with the perennial dream of overtaking the mighty English as best overall team.

Last year, Leevale's Claire McCarthy and Brian Maher of Kilkenny City Harriers were individual winners of the over-35 races, while the women's over-35, 65 and 70 teams all took gold as did the men's over-40 and over-60 teams.

Unfortunately, neither McCarthy nor Maher will defend their titles.

The good news is that Michael Harty of East Cork, the overall winner in 2016, is back in action and running on the M35 team.

Leading the M40 quartet is Ciaran Doherty of Letterkenny, bronze medal winner in the steeplechase at the World Masters Championships in Malaga last September.

After many years on the team, Martin McDonald of Ballyroan Abbeyleix finally took gold in the M60 age group last year and he's back to defend his title. Leading the M65 team is Paul Elliott of Beechmount Harriers, winner of the M60 title in 2014.

A strong W35 team includes new masters such as Fiona Kehoe of Kilmore and Tallaght's Laura McDonnell, with Sara Doohan of Corran AC, third last year, also selected. Teresa Doherty of Finn Valley could make it an over-40 double for the Doherty family.

Previous winners include Annette Kealy of Raheny Shamrock, who leads the over-50 team.

Niamh O'Sullivan of Riocht AC competes in the W55 race, while Pauline Moran and Margaret Glavey, both Mayo AC, lead the W60 and W65 teams respectively. A full W70 team is led by Joan Coyle of DSD.