Annadale Strider’s Eddie McGinley and Paddy Hamilton will make their debuts over the 26 miles distance in today’s Airtricity Dublin City Marathon.
The event which includes the national championship is likely to be won by an Irish runner as for the first time in many years there will be no elite overseas athletes.
McGinley had prepared carefully. He bettered his track times for 5,000 and 10,000 over the summer, placed third in the Belfast Half Marathon last month and then had an impressive win in the Armagh 10 Miles.
Hamilton, twice the winner of the Seeley Cup, easily came first in the Lisburn 10K in June. He took another victory in Cavan a week ago and certainly has the potential to run a fast time.
Both will have their eyes on the Commonwealth standard of two hours eighteen which has already been achieved by Paul Pollock and Tom Frazer.
The opposition to the Annadale pair will come from Joe Sweeney also making his deadline, Sean Hehir who ran 65:11 for the half marathon in Cardiff and regular Northern Ireland visitors Sergiu Ciobanu and Gary O’Hanlon who both run for Clonliffe.
Maria McCambridge from Letterkenny can defend her Ladies title which took in 2:35:28 last year. Claire McCarthy and Olympian Pauline Curley will be in the medal halt.
Ciaran Doherty made the journey from Letterkenny worthwhile with a scintillating victory in the Bobby Rea Memorial Cross Country at Kilbroney Park, Rostrevor.
The double Masters International Champion looked very comfortable as he romped to victory by twenty seconds.
A four man group quickly separated from the rest in the event which was backed by Newry and Mourne District Council in windy and wet conditions with Doherty, Joe McAllister, Brendan Teer and Alan O’Hara running strongly.
It was Doherty from McAllister and Teer at half distance with the Letterkenny runner opening up to cross the line well clear. McAllister making his return after an injury lay off took runner up just ahead of a determined Teer with Jarlath Falls moving through hard to clinch fourth ahead of O’Hara. Gareth Hill completed the top half dozen.
Danielle Fegan from Armagh had an outstanding Ladies win. She ran in a group containing Heather Foley, Rachel Gibson, Eva Laverty, Marina Campbell and Gemma Turley before making her break.
Danielle sprinted down the final straight to great applause to win by twenty eight seconds. Heather, Rachel, Eva, Marina and Gemma followed. Ray Curran won the M60 race held at the same time with Gerry Lynch and Davy Seaton leading the M65s and Brian Smith taking the M70.
Earlier there had been great competition in the Ulster and Northern Ireland Even Age Group Championships at the same venue. Clodagh O’Reilly was superb as she took the Under 18 Girls from Zoe Carruthers. Jonny Whan moved up to take the Under 18 Boys. Christy Conlon and Patrick McNiff took gold and silver at U16 with Amy Hamill leading Madison Bowyer in the Girls.