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Kelly joy in park 3,000m

ELISH Kelly of Raheny Shamrocks ran away with the women's 3,000m race at the Dublin Masters' Cross-Country Championships which attracted record numbers to St Anne's Park.

Kelly quickly emerged from the pack and built up a strong lead with only her Raheny clubmate Annette Kealy attempting to stay with her. She came home a clear winner, with Kealy second and first W45 and Sportsworld's Jean Wilson third.

Raheny also won the team title, thanks to strong back-up runs from Bríd Ní Chonaill and Orla Gormley, who had won the Bull Run in Clontarf on St Stephen's Day. In the older-age groups, June Comiskey of Raheny won the W65 title, while Donore's Ann Woodlock was first W75.

Both women began running for the very first Dublin Women's Mini Marathon over 30 years ago.

Former footballer John Dunne of Donore, who only started running in 2012, won a competitive men's 6000m. Dunne realised that he might be a decent enough runner when he completed the 2012 Dublin Marathon in two hours, 49 minutes. A few months later, he joined Donore where he is coached by John Downes.

In only his third ever cross-country, Dunne held back and ran a smart race. "My plan was to stick with the leaders and then take my chances," he said.

After making his break on the last of four 2km laps, he finished a comfortable winner ahead of Rathfarnham's Paul Fleming and Brian Leahy of Raheny. Declan Fahy of Clonliffe was first M40 and Civil Service's Paul Cowhie first M45. First over 65 was Paddy Reilly of Liffey Valley, with Donore's Terry Mee first M70.

On a great day for Donore, they also took the men's M35 team title ahead of Clonliffe and Rathfarnham WSAF. Rathfarnham took the M55 team title with Raheny second.

Teams from new clubs Balbriggan and Portmarnock were in action and Balbriggan took their first ever championships medals. Chris Keeling won the M55 title, while Bernie Martin was second W55. Despite the cold and wet conditions, record numbers turned out for both races, underlining the growing appeal for all ages of club running.

*International triathlete Bryan Keane of Leevale won the men's race at the Munster Cross-Country Championships in Tipperary. Mini Marathon winner Siobhan O'Doherty of Borrisokane took the women's title.


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