Sprint double for McSweeney

AILISH McSWEENEY (Leevale) recorded her second double in a week when she won both sprints at the Munster senior track and field championships at the CIT Track in Cork yesterday where Donnacha O’Mahony (East Cork) rolled back the years to reclaim the 5,000m title.

It might have been a third sprint double in a row for Ailish McSweeney were it not for the fact that she was edged out in a desperately close finish to the 100m at the recent AAI international games in Navan where she went on to win the 200m.

Yesterday she was deprived of what looked like a fast time in the 100m when a downpour caused a problem with the timing equipment but when the race was run again she got a time of 12.11 to once more finish ahead of her clubmates, Orla Coughlan and Donna Hosford before going on to win the 200m in 24.45 and repeat the double of the county championships a week earlier.

It was six years since Donnacha O’Mahony, a cross-country international, last ran a track race but he returned in style by winning the 5,000m for a fifth time in all and he has also won titles at 1,500m.

Before his career was all but ended by a succession of injuries and surgery on a troublesome knee he was a dominant force in athletics and he was on the Irish universities team back in 1991 when Sonia O’Sullivan won her gold and silver medals and Niall Bruton won gold at the world student games in Sheffield. Now he is just happy to be back running again.

Darren O’Donovan (UCC) won the men’s 100m in 11.09 secs before finishing second to Eugene Farrell (DSD) who won the 200m in 21.69 secs.

After winning his heat of the 100m, Jer O’Donoghue (Leevale) felt a twinge in a troublesome hamstring and withdrew from the final.

“I have just come off an injury and did not want to take any chances,” he said.

“I go to Latvia this week and want to go there in the best possible shape.”

Ronan Foolkes (Togher) maintained his amazing record in the 400m hurdles as he added a the Munster senior title to a long list. Unbeaten to date in the event, he won the South Munster and Munster Schools titles before going on to record a very impressive victory in the Kit Kat Irish schools championships in Tullamore.

A cousin of US scholarship students, Jason, Trevor and Alan Foolkes, he only turned to the 400m hurdles recently. Yesterday he was taking time off from his Leaving Cert Exams to compete in the Munsters.

“I tried everything and I enjoyed it but the hurdles appear to be my event,”

he said. “I have a very good coach in John Hayes.”

Another schools star, Rachel Akers (Marian AC) won the hammer title very impressively yesterday, just a week after her double at the Irish schools championships in Tullamore and young Laura Crowe (Tralee Harriers) led all the way to win the women’s 800m tile (2:15.7) from cross-country champion, Natalie McSweeney (Gneeveguilla) and Collette O’Riordan (West Muskerry) who earlier won the 1,500m title.

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