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Byrne reaps rewards with runner-up spots Hooper has Raheny mission McIlroy to return at Odyssey Doherty, Chesser win Munster Fancy Firhouse run Saturday?

DCU's Linda Byrne was beaten in a sprint finish by Valentine Kipketer from Kenya at the Mastboscross 7.3k women's race in Holland last weekend. A week earlier, in Faro Portugal, Byrne was second behind local favourite Ana Dias in a 6.5k road race, which coincided with a DCU warm-weather training camp.

Clare Fitzgerald of Tralee Hariers, a student at Manhattan College, set a new Irish junior shot putt record of 13.91m at the Armory meet in New York. Also in the USA, David Rooney opened his indoor season with a time of 8 minutes 21 seconds for 3,000m.

Kiprop favourite for Antrim

Boniface Kiprop of Uganda, second last year after losing a shoe midway, hopes to go one better at Saturday's Antrim International.

Leading the women's entry is European champion Hayley Yelling.

Strong Irish underage teams are entered with North Laois's Michael Mulhare and Liam Tremble leading the Irish U-23 men's team and Ryan Creech, John Travers and Emmett Jennings all selected for the junior men's team. DSD pair Bryony Treston and Maria Walsh are part of the women's U-23 team, while Mary Mulhare heads the junior women.

Hooper has Raheny mission

Can any male athlete out there beat 23 minutes or any female athlete 26:30 at the Axa Raheny "5" on Sunday January 31?

That's the challenge thrown out by race director Pat Hooper.

"We have just set up a new Marathon Mission to improve standards and these are the kinds of times any marathon runner should be running," says 1980 Olympian Pat. Online entry at €20 is at www.rahenyshamrock.com and over a thousand have already entered.

McIlroy to return at Odyssey

Former Olympic athlete James McIlroy, a cousin of golfer Rory, is planning a comeback at the Woodie's DIY Irish Indoor Championships at the Odyssey Arena on February 6-7.

McIlroy, now 33, abruptly retired from the sport two years ago, despite a number of excellent indoor performances. This included victory over Kenyan 800m star Richard Kiplagat at the Odyssey.

Doherty, Chesser win Munster

Siobhan Doherty of Borrisokane was a clear winner of the women's race at the Munster Cross-Country Championships in Carrignavar, Co Cork. In the men's race, the clear cut winner was Rory Chesser of Ennis.

Fancy Firhouse run Saturday?

Cherryfield Park in Firhouse is the venue on Saturday for the Eircom BHAA cross-country races (11.30). Registration is at the Ballyboden St Enda's clubhouse, where newcomers are welcome to register for the year for a one-off fee of €15.