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Dooney brothers help Raheny stay top


Raheny’s Kevin Dooney

Raheny’s Kevin Dooney

Raheny’s Kevin Dooney

For clubs, the title of National Cross-Country team champion is much coveted as the celebrations after Sunday's races at Abbotstown made quite clear.

In the men's race, Raheny Shamrock were determined to show that last year's victory was no flash in the pan.

Although missing top man Mick Clohisey through injury, it almost made no difference. Kevin Dooney ran the bravest of races to finish second and with older brother Conor ninth, Eoin Strutt 13th and Mark Kirwan 18th, the team finished on 41 points - well clear of second placed Kilkenny City Harriers on 69 points.

In a team race full of surprises, a storming run by Eoin Everard, who pulled himself up to eighth place, followed by Under-23 champion Tom O'Keeffe 12th, masters' champion Brian Maher 14th and Thomas Hayes 35th gave Kilkenny an unlikely silver.

Just nine points behind was Dundrum South Dublin, who last year could only manage 10th place. This year, Joe Sweeney's seventh place made all the difference.

Leevale's women had last won the title in 2015 and in their case, it was the return of Lizzie Lee that proved crucial. Although Michelle Finn was their first placer in third, it was Lee's fourth with solid backing from Claire McCarthy 10th and Sinéad O'Connor 18th, that assured them victory.

Defending champions DSD, led by Maria McCambridge, had all four of their runners finishing between 9th and 14th, but it was not enough.

Riocht, a team that included race winner Shona Heaslip as well as her coach Niamh O'Sullivan and the reliable Laura Crowe, finished third of the teams.