Athletics: Cuddihy's London hopes in limbo
CAITRIONA CUDDIHY will have to wait until Monday to discover if her Olympic dream is to be resuscitated -- just five days before the opening ceremony for London 2012.
The Kilkenny City Harrier's appeal against her deselection from the 4x400m relay team was heard last night by an Olympic Council of Ireland (OCI) appeals tribunal.
This will mean a substantial delay before she will hear the verdict, but an OCI spokesman said this is normal procedure, outlining that the tribunal members need several days to consider the submissions and must complete a formal written report before they can announce the result.
While it was always expected that Joanna Mills would be invited to make some input into the appeal process, the Irish Independent has learned that all of the athletes on the women's 4x400m squad were given the option to make personal submissions to last night's hearing.
Mills (19), from Ballymena & Antrim AC, was not originally included in the Olympic relay team, but she won a place after an appeal to Athletics Ireland.
That resulted in Cuddihy being dropped -- a decision against which she appealed.
The other members of the 4x400m squad are Joanne Cuddihy (Caitriona's older sister), Marian Heffernan, Michelle Carey, Claire Bergin and Jessie Barr.
Cuddihy's case was heard by Dermot Sherlock (OCI secretary general), William O'Brien (OCI first vice-president) and Susan Ahern (OCI member) -- all three have a vote.
Elsewhere, Derval O'Rourke's pre-Olympics injury scare has lifted after the Leevale star ran a season-best 13.02 when finishing second to America's Lolo Jones in Italy in her first race since she suffered the back spasm that ruled her out of the national championships.
Paul Hession also showed that he is coming into form at the right time by running a season-best 20.54 in Lucerne, where fellow Olympian Deirdre Ryan cleared 1.86m in the high jump.
Conor McCullough smashed the Irish U-23 hammer record at the same meeting, his 75.09m wiping Gary Halpin's 71.10m mark from 1988 off the record books.
Ciaran O Lionaird's return to racing in the Cork City Sports was also very encouraging and the Leevale star will get in another pre-London race on Irish soil next Wednesday at the Morton 'Pre-Games Meeting'.
The Olympic 1500m man is expected to run the mile again in Santry against Australia's Ryan Gregson, who won in Cork in 3:57:9.
The Clonliffe event, which has a 7.15 start, will also feature Ireland's Stephanie Reilly and a dozen foreign athletes who are also London-bound, including America's Nick Symmonds, Australia's Zoe Buckman, Eloise Wellings and Gen Lacaze and American steeplechasers Emma Coburn and Shalaya Kipp.