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DSD ready to raid Europe

Although summer is slow in arriving, the track and field season is already well under way, with the Dublin Graded League attracting record numbers to its first two meets, athletes travelling abroad in search of times and the first National League round taking place on Sunday.

Defending women's champions Dundrum South Dublin have the luxury of skipping this – they'll be at the European Club Championships over the weekend, representing both club and country.

Last year, DSD finished sixth in the A division, beating teams from France and the Netherlands and keeping Ireland in the top division. The club heads for the Algarve in Portugal with a team including high jumper Deirdre Ryan, distance runner Maria McCambridge and middle-distance athlete Claire Tarplee, backed by Herald School Sports Star of the Year Siofra Cléirigh-Buttner in her first competition at this level.

Also likely to pick up points are sprinters Claire Bergin and Sinéad Denny, and javelin thrower Anita Fitzgibbon, with all-rounders Claire McGlynn and Gráinne Moggan filling a number of all-important gaps. Favourites to win are defending champions Luch Moscow.

Defending men's champions Clonliffe have decided not to send a team this year. With vital members originally from countries such as Poland, Latvia and Moldova, the club falls foul of a rule that allows only two 'non-nationals' per team.

Meanwhile, a victory by Michael Mulhare of Portlaoise in the 3000m proved the highlight of the special meet held to launch the new Danny McDaid track in Letterkenny. Mulhare's time of 8:18.92 put him ahead of Donore's John Travers, Galway's Gary Thornton and Mark Kenneally of Clonliffe.



Best of the Irish in the men's mile was Derry's Conor Bradley in 4:04.22, just a fraction ahead of Eoin Everard from Kilkenny. Fionnuala Britton ran in a mixed 3000m, breaking nine minutes, while Laura Crowe of Riocht ran 2:04.30 to win the 800m.

At last week's Dublin Graded meet in Santry, UCD's Ciara Everard won the 1500m in a new personal best time of 4 mins 25 secs – 11 seconds off her previous best.

Abroad, Paul Robinson ran 3:37.99 for 1500m in Eagle Rock California – the fastest 1500m by an Irishman this season so far – while in Loughborough, England, Rose-Anne Galligan was second in the 800m in 2:03.19.

pIrishtown Stadium is now closed for competition while necessary track repairs take place. It means members of Dublin southside clubs face long treks to Tallaght, Santry and Greystones to train.