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In The Irish News on March 10 1997: Sonia O'Sullivan takes World Indoor silver in Paris

HISTORY MAKER... Sonia O’Sullivan’s silver medal was the first ever won by an Irish woman at the world indoor championships

SONIA O’Sullivan took silver in the 3000 metres World Indoor Athletics Championship in Paris on Saturday after being beaten for speed in the finishing straight by Romania’s Gabriela Szabo, the Olympic 1500m silver medallist.

The Cork athlete thus becomes the first Irish woman to win a medal at the world indoor championships.

O’Sullivan was out in front at the bell but just 40 metres from the finishing line Szabo took the lead and powered her way home to take gold.

The Romanian’s winning time was eight minutes 45.75 seconds, the fastest time in the world this year.

O'Sullivan was competing in her first indoor event for four years and admitted she should have won the race.

“I ran a very good race but I made just one mistake. I gave her too much room on the inside, although to be fair I had no idea she was there. She just came flying past me and at that stage my legs just went.

“In just about every respect I feel very confident about what happened. This could be the start of a very big year.” The Irish athlete collected $30,000 for winning silver.

Gold would have netted $50,000. Saturday’s showing should help O’Sullivan put her Olympic nightmare behind her.

At the Atlanta games she flopped in both the 5000 and 1500 metres. 

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CLIFTONVILLE Marty Quinn has called on Reds fans to come out and support Mickey Donnelly’s testamonial at Solitude tomorrow night (7.30) when the north Belfast club take on Dundalk.

“Mickey Donnelly has been a great servant of Cliftonville over the years and I am sure the fans will want to show their appreciation,” said Quinn.

Meanwhile, Reds chairman Jim Boyce paid tribute to both sets of supporters at Saturday’s Cliftonville v Glentoran encounter at Solitude.

But Boyce hit out at comments attributed to Glentoran assistant manager Billy Sinclair in a Sunday newspaper in which Sinclair is reported to have criticised the Solitude pitch.

“It’s the first time I have heard of anyone making any adverse comments about our pitch. Most people thought Cliftonville thoroughly deserved to win the game,” said Boyce.

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THEY left it late, very late, in this Harp Lager National League encounter but the winning goal was all the more welcome for that.

Gary Beckett’s 90th-minute strike separated Derry City and Cork City just as they were preparing themselves for extra time.

The last time these two clubs met at Brandywell the visitors won a dreadful game.

And it didn’t appear likely that this was going to be any better with little ball play apart from the long aimless variety.

Both managers must have been preparing themselves mentally for the extra half hour when Derry struck in the 90th minute.

Liam Coyle’s exquisite pass put Tom Mohan into enough space for him to find Gary Beckett and he turned the ball past Harrington but on this occasion inside the post to book Derry a semi-final place for the fourth time in five years.

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