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All roads lead to Raheny for relays

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All roads lead to Raheny

All roads lead to Raheny once more for the Irish Life Health National Road Relays this Sunday (April 22).

UCD’s women and Raheny Shamrock’s men will bid to defend respective national senior titles with the masters also pounding the concrete in search of medals. View the entries HERE and the timetable HERE.

UCD will be the favourites over the 4 mile relay (1-2-1 order) with Alanna Lally, Ellie Hartnett and Claire Mooney in their ranks. Lally and Mooney are 800m specialists but should fare well over the mile distance – Lally ran well on her debut last year.   

Letterkenny and Leevale were on the podium last year but don’t appear on the entry list. There still remains big name clubs in Crusaders and DSD with big name runners such as Maria McCambridge (DSD), Linda Byrne (DSD), Orla Drumm (Crusaders) and Caroline Crowley (Crusaders). The question will be whether they are in shape to compete.

 North Down were fourth last year and will be looking to break into the medals with Jessica Craig one of their key runners.

Raheny Shamrock will start as warm favourites for the men’s 8 mile title (2-1-3-2 order) but they will have to be on form to defend from Kilkenny City Harriers, DSD and Donore Harriers.

Kieran Kelly, Eoin Strutt, Mick Clohisey and Conor Dooney are a strong Shamrock quartet but Kilkenny will be looking to move from men of bronze to golden boys. Brian Maher, at 40, won the national 10k title last week and appears to be getting better with age. He will have to be on form for the critical 3 mile leg which makes and breaks the title aspirations.

Dundrum South Dublin could be the big threat though with Joe Sweeney and Ethiopian Hiko Haso Tonosa on their entry sheet. Tonosa could do damage on the three mile leg provided in shape.  

Not to be discounted for contention are Donore with Daragh Fitzgibbon who won the University 5,000m title last week along with Eric Keogh and John Travers in the squad.

There will be big numbers in the masters’ races, O35 and O50, and Raheny will be strong in the women’s and men’s races with the likes of Ian Conroy, Damien Martin, Annette Kealy and Adrienne Atkins being instrumental.  

All of the races are over the 4 mile, 1-2-1, distance with Crusaders W35 looking to defend while Raheny Shamrock have their record-breaking M35 team back with Ian Conroy, Michael McMahon and John Dunne.

St Finbarr’s AC make the trip to defend the M50 title with Michael Murphy, Cathal O’Connell and Ken Devine.

It promises to be another great day of racing.  

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