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Back in the day: In The Irish News - Apr 27 1998: Cavan girl Catherina McKiernan makes athletics history as first Irish woman to win London Marathon

FLYING THE FLAG...Ireland’s Catherina McKiernan celebrates after winning the women’s section of the London Marathon yesterday
The Irish News Archive

CATHERINA McKiernan became the first Irish woman to win the London Marathon yesterday – with a little help from Liz McColgan.

The two were more than 90 seconds behind the frontrunners at the eight-mile stage.

And it took an alarm call from McColgan, the gritty Scot who was beaten heartbreakingly by a mere second last year, to wake up McKiernan and spark Irish celebrations on the rain-lashed streets of London.

“The first part of the race was too slow and Liz was very nice. She said we’d better do something,” said McKiernan.

“She’s much more experienced than I am and I wasn’t going to argue.”

The conversation sparked a chase which saw McKiernan run down the leaders at the 21-mile mark and after that she fairly stormed away to finish in two hours 26 minutes and 26 seconds.

McColgan, who again suffered from stomach problems similar to last year, battled home 28 seconds behind in second place.

Nobody has needed lifting in recent years more than McKiernan – a shy, reticent girl with an engaging smile from county Cavan who was born within 48 hours of O’Sullivan but who at 28 has long been the bridesmaid of athletics.

Four times a silver medallist in the world cross country championships, McKiernan has had to watch while O’Sullivan pulled in a haul of glittering prizes at great championships around the world. Now McKiernan is the one to watch.

This was McKiernan’s 14th consecutive victory following a remarkable win in her debut marathon in Berlin in September when she recorded a staggering time of 2hrs 23mins 44secs.

Tyrone show class in Vocational Schools final triumph

All-Ireland Vocational Schools Inter-County Final Tyrone 2-17 Offaly 1-5

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TYRONE claimed their sixth AllIreland Vocational Schools county title by thoroughly outclassing Offaly in the curtain-raiser to the NFL final.

The Ulster side should have been out of sight by half-time for despite their 0-9 to 1-1 interval lead, Tyrone hit 12 first half wides - many from in front of the goals.

An Offaly comeback would have necessitated the Leinster Champions hitting scores early in the second half – instead it was the Ulster side who hit the first two points to put further daylight between the teams.

And any doubt about the result was ended when Ryan O’Neill, a late replacement for injured midfielder Eoin Mulligan, finished gloriously to the net in the 44th minute.

Kevin Hughes and Stephen Donnelly hit Tyrone’s first scores of the match and both went on to produce outstanding hours for the Ulster team.

Donnelly is a languid player, who almost seemed to have time on the ball which is always the mark of a classy footballer.

Tyrone were rocked back slightly on their heels by Gary Mangan’s excellent finish to the net for Offaly on 14 minutes but the closing minutes saw Tyrone scoring at will to bring up an impressive 2-17 total.

Six of yesterday’s squad also won All-Ireland vocational schools medals with Holy Trinity, Cookstown earlier this month.

Tyrone: P Ward, M McCarron, F Loughran, J Devine, G Devlin, B O’Neill, P O’Neill (0-1), R O’Neill (1-1), A O’Connor (0-1), D O’Hanlon, K Hughes (0-3), S Donnelly (0-7), A Quinn, E McGinley (0-1), JP Kane (1- 3).

Subs: G Coney for Quinn 36 mins, A McCrory for Devine 58, C McCaughey for McCarron 58.

Offaly: N Kenna, E O’Keeffe, F Bannon, N Mannion, J Kilmurray, G Rafferty, W Coyne, S Brady, K O’Meara, A O’Meara (0-1), I Melia, D Kelly (0-1), E Finnerty, S Cunningham (0-3), G Mangan (1-0).

Subs: G Nutterfield for K O’Meara h-t, C McNeill for Finnerty 54.

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ANTRIM qualified for their first ever National Senior Camogie League semi-final by defeating Dublin 4-15 to 4-10 in a very tight match in Portmarnock yesterday.

By doing so their next obstacle will be Cork who topped their group with yesterday a 2-15 to 2-8 victory over Kilkenny.

Antrim made the early running and two goals left them in control at half-time by 2-7 to 2-3.

Dublin, though, fought back and 15 minutes into the second half only a point separated the sides but Antrim pulled away again with Ann McKee’s frees and some nice points from Catriona Higgins to win by five points in the end.

Antrim scorers: J Adams (1-2), O Elliott (1-1), K O’Neill (1-0), C Doherty (1-0), A McKee (0-7), C Higgins (0-4), S McMullan (0-1).

Dublin scorers: D O’Leary (1-5), L Lynch (1-3), I Kirwin (1-1), E Brannigan (1-0), C O’Beirne (0-1). Referee: Pat Reynolds (Louth)

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PAUL Braithwaite (Northern CC) proved the best of the sprinters as he pipped Gerard Heverin (Belvoir RC) at the line from a five man group at the Castlereagh Grand Prix at the weekend.

In Noel Hammond Classic race at Ballyboughal, Neil Teggart (Banbridge CC) was the finest of the Ulster riders, coming in over the line in eighth place, two minutes and 10 seconds behind race winner Kieran MacMahon (O’Mara Motors Limerick).

Banbridge star Tommy Evans still holds the Callcard yellow jersey and will wear it at the Shay Elliott on Sunday May 10.

In the junior Kelly Roche Classic, John Bann Lavery was second, four minutes and 10 seconds behind the winner Mark Scanlon (Sligo CC).

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