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Mageean back with 5km glory

UCD's Ciara Mageean made an impressive return to racing when she won the women's 5km at the Irish Universities Cross-Country Championships in Waterford.

On a testing 5km course, Mageean and team-mate Laura Shaughnessy controlled the pace until halfway when Mageean moved to the front, opening a gap that grew to around 300m by the end.

UL's Una Britton finished second, with Ciara Everard, (UCD) producing a fast final kilometre to finish third. It gave UCD an emphatic team victory over DCU -- a first for the college in 12 years. Trinity were third.

Mageean, who has spent the winter recovering from injury, will now set her sights on the Olympic 1,500m qualification mark of 3:46.0. Her best 1,500m time of 4:07.45 from last season is well inside the 'B' standard.

Winning a closely fought men's race was John Coghlan (inset) of DCU. His time of 28 minutes 46 seconds put him six seconds ahead of DIT's Daire Bermingham, while Michael Mulhare (UL) beat Emmet Jennings (DCU) and Jason Fahey (WIT) into third.

DCU maintained their team-winning streak despite the host college, Waterford IT, pushing them hard. UCD finished third.

Next up for Coghlan is Sunday's St Patrick's Festival 5km, which starts from outside Dublin's Mansion House (noon). This year's theme is the family and, with the Big Day Out in Merrion Square, the run provides an ideal start to the day.

Helping create a festive atmosphere will be a live band, jugglers, clowns, face painters, balloon artists, stilt walkers, fire eaters and a parade of motorbikes led by race director Eamonn Coghlan.

Families - either two adults and two children or one adult and three children - can enter the fun run for just €30. Individual entry costs €20. For more, log onto www.stpatricksfestival.ie

Also on Sunday, Maria McCambridge runs the Rome Marathon, aiming to become the third Irish woman to make the London 2012 'A' standard of two hours 37 minutes.