By Mark Jones
Belfast’s John Ferrin was the shock winner of last weekend’s National cross-country championships in Stranorlar, Donegal.
Better known for his exploits on the road, the two-time winner of the Belfast marathon surged through from the back of field to take the honors.
Making light of sleet and gale force winds, Ferrin left the more experienced Noel Cullen and David Burke in his wake to run the final 5,000 meters of the 12k course on his own. The 32-year old was rewarded with a place on the Ireland team for next month’s World Cross-country championships in his native city.
Mullingar took the men’s team title and Breda Dennehy was an impressive winner of the women’s championship when she finished nine seconds clear of Anne Keenan-Buckley and Teresa Duffy.
Meanwhile, Ciara Sheehy set a new Irish senior and junior 200 meters indoor record at the British junior championships in Birmingham. The West Dublin runner smashed Emily Maher’s three week old record with a time of 23.96 seconds. Sheehy also won the 60 meters.
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Dubliner Peter Coughlan set a new Irish indoor 60m hurdles record at the Virginia Tech Invitational meeting last weekend. Coughlan ran an impressive 7.67 seconds beating which qualifies him for the World Indoor championships in Japan.
Meanwhile, Mark Carroll was also in record breaking form when he was a distant third during Haile Gebrseelassie’s world 5000m indoor best time of 12:50.38 seconds in Birmingham, England. Carroll still managed to break John Treacy’s long standing Irish mark with a new national record of 13:31.93.
Cork City’s chances of keeping up the pressure on champions St Patrick’s Athletic at the top of the National Soccer League appear to be receding fast following last weekend’s surprise 1-0 defeat by Derry City at Turner’s Cross.
Darren McCaul scored the all important goal close to the final whistle and Cork are now five points adrift of St Pat’s with both teams having played 24 games.
The Republic of Ireland failed in their bid to retain the European Under 16 soccer championship when they were beaten twice in the qualifying tournament in Isr’l.
An opening 3-0 defeat by Isr’l came as a blow, but then the Irish
youngsters bowed out after losing 2-0 to Turkey.
Ken Doherty just failed in his bid for a first major snooker tournament success since his World championship win two years ago when he was beaten in the final of the prestigious Benson and Hedges Masters at Wembley last weekend.
Doherty looked to be on his way to an overdue victory when he lead Scotland’s John Higgins by eight frames to six in a thrilling final session, however, current world number one Higgins reeled off the remaining four frames to take the title.
Ireland’s Paul McGinley moved into the top ten of the European Tour money list when a final round 67 gave him a share of third place in the Dubai Desert Classic. McGinley finished five shots behind the winner David Howell of England, but he is now in eighth place on the money list and 11th in Europe’s Ryder Cup standings.
Darren Clarke, who plays in next week’s inaugural WGC Andersen Consulting Matchplay championship at La Costa, finished poorly with a pair of 77s, which left him a massive 22 shots adrift of first time tour winner Howell.