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O'Flaherty marks comeback with third place finish amid Welsh influx



Return: Kerry O’Flaherty

Return: Kerry O’Flaherty

�INPHO/Bryan Keane

Return: Kerry O’Flaherty

Internationals Jenny Nesbitt and Eoghan Totton took the honours at the weekend's well supported Eikon Races at Balmoral Park, Maze, where the fields were substantially enhanced by an influx of Welsh athletes eager to take advantage of the easing of lockdown restrictions here.

Cardiff AC's Nesbitt had little difficulty taking the win in the 5K event in a time of 16 mins 13 secs which was only three seconds outside her personal best.

The 25-year-old, who medalled for GB in last year's Euro Cross Championships, was 20 seconds ahead of Letterkenny's Nikita Burke.

In third place, there was a welcome return to racing for Newcastle's Kerry O'Flaherty. The Rio Olympics steeplechaser has been out of action for over a year following an horrendous foot injury when preparing for qualification for the Tokyo Olympics.

Team-mate Totton - who recorded a spectacular time of 2 hrs 16 mins in last autumn's Dublin Marathon - was another easy winner in the Men's 5k in 14 mins 36 secs.

Acorn's Matthew Neill was second in 15.01, followed by Lisburn AC's Chris Madden (15.17), Oli Lum of Bracknell AC (15.31) and Jim Sloan of East Down (15.36).

Veteran Tommy Hughes (60) was 13th in 16.16, only 24 hours after his attempt on the World Age Group record for 10,000 metres at the Mary Peters track. His time of 34.54, while a minute outside the world best, was still an Irish record.

The 10k event at the Maze was won by Cardiff's James Hunt in a fast 29.43 ahead of Pontypridd's Paul Graham (30.33). There was a further Welsh victory in the Ladies 10k, where victory went to Cardiff's Claire Evans in 34.02.

Letterkenny's Anne Marie McGlynn was again in top form over 5,000 metres in Kildare. She followed her recent NI 10K road record with a PB of 15 mins 50 secs, which beat her previous best by 13 seconds.

The NI 10,000 metres titles at Upper Malone went to Lisburn's James Edgar (30.44) and City of Derry's Catherine Whoriskey (36.43), while Newcastle's Zak Hanna was an impressive third in the big 3.4k international fell racing event in Brescia, Italy.

Belfast Telegraph