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Athletics News - Friday 4 Jan 2013

CROSS COUNTRY followers could witness a very exciting days athletics in Tinryland on Sunday, January 6th when the Carlow Senior Cross Country titles and the Johnny Jones Cup are contested over 10km (1.00pm).

The Senior event will be more than likely be between last year's winner Brian Kirwan of LOT and 12 time winner Pat Byrne of the host club who is looking to regain his title. The defending champion Kirwan has been in fine form of late and was 26th in a highly competitive field in the National Inter Counties Cross Country Championships in Meath several weeks ago and will assume the tag of favourite for this event. Byrne who won his first title in 2000 and won in consecutive years up until 2011, will hope his knowledge of the course, his recent fine showing in Irish Colours at the International Masters CC in Belfast and big race experience will see him in contention all the way to the line . If he is again successful on Sunday next, he will equal the all time record of the legendary Tommy Payne who has taken 13 titles in the last three decades.

The main opposition to Kirwan and Byrne for the title will come from the likes of the very exciting local prospect and recent National Under 19 winner Danny Lawlor of LOT, father and son Tommy and Colin Payne along with Kevin Lawlor of LOT. Tommy Payne who holds the record for 13 wins in the Odlum Cup was a bronze medal winner in his age group at the recent Masters International Cross-country in Belfast where teams from Ireland, England ,Wales & Scotland took part.

Kirwan will also help lead a Laurence O'Tooles squad which has all the credentials to take the Odlum Cup for the 26th time.The battle for team honours will be equally exciting as Byrne will be leading a strong Tinryland team of Dwayne Farrell, Tommy Payne, Colin Payne, Larry Murphy, Eddie Walsh, JJ Murphy, Jeremiah O'Sullivan and John Dillon who are aiming to ensure that the Tinryland club retain their title. For the first time in a number of years a third team will take part when Bagenalstown AC will field a team.

The Youthful O'tooles side has an abundance of talent and will have a useful line up of runners consisting of Kirwan and Lawlor who will be backed up by the likes of Graham Power and Kevin Lawlor.

The Senior Womens 5km event (12.30 pm) should be one of the most exciting in recent years with Deirdre Doyle of Tinryland (who won in 2007 and 2008 and 2010-2011) aiming to retain the title with challenges from the likes of Eilish Connery, Mary Ann O'Sullivan and last years winner Vera Nekrassova. Doyle, is currently studying in DCU and there should be an exciting contest with Mary Ann O'Sullivan seen as a very strong contender to win her first title in this hotly contested Carlow race.

Mary Ann has performed impressively all season and recently selected to represent Ireland in the European Junior Cross Country championships in Hungary but had to later withdraw due to injury.

Tinryland will field a team capable of winning the overall title and the Lambert Cup.

Others to figure for LOT should include the likes of Breda Browne and Brid Long.

A special event this year is the Mini Odlum 1 mile mixed race for Boys and Girls under-16 at noon before the Womens 4km at 12.30pm and Senior Mens 10km at 1pm. There will be medals for all finishers in the Odlum Mile event

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