Great Ireland Run: Fionnuala McCormack and Gemma Steel set for Dublin battle

Fionnuala McCormack crosses the line to win the women's race in Dublin last year
Fionnuala McCormack won the women's race at last year's Great Ireland Run

Fionnuala McCormack is likely to battle for the women's win at Sunday's Great Ireland Run with another ex-European cross country Champion Gemma Steel.

The duo will lead their respective Ireland and England line-ups which fight it out for the Sean Kyle Cup in the team competition in Dublin.

McCormack's fellow Irish Olympian Kerry O'Flaherty will also be in action.

Irish duo Mick Clohisey and Mark Christie will hope to ward off the English challenge in the men's event.

McCormack and O'Flaherty are joined in the Irish women's team by Laura O'Shaughnessy and Catherine Whoriskey and Claire McCarthy while Steel's England team-mates include 2016 Great Bristol Half Marathon winner Jenny Spink.

Over 8,000 runners will race in the meeting which includes a Great Ireland 5K event in addition to the two main 10K races, which will double as the Irish National Championships for the distance.

The late Sean Kyle (left) and his wife Maeve formed a remarkable coaching partnership at the Ballymena & Antrim club
The late Sean Kyle (left) will again be honoured at Sunday's event in the Phoenix Park

Great Ireland event again pays tribute to Sean Kyle

Last year Great Ireland Run event director, former Irish international athlete Gareth Turnbull came up with the idea of incorporating a team match into the event to pay tribute to the renowned coach Kyle, who formed a remarkable partnership with his wife, the three-time Olympian Maeve Kyle at the Ballymena & Antrim club.

The team component saw an Ireland line-up which included McCormack, lifting the inaugural Sean Kyle Cup, as they defeated a Commonwealth select.

The mixing of the sport's grassroots and elite athletes is something that would have delighted Ballymena athletics doyen Kyle, who died after a long illness in November 2015.

Clohisey represented Ireland at the marathon in last year's Olympics but Christie's personal best for the distance of 29 minutes and 20 seconds suggests he could be the leading men's home hopeful, although his team-mate Kevin Dooney has clocked 29:10.13 for 10,000m on the track.

Sergiu Ciobanu, in some eyes a controversial omission from last year's Irish Olympic marathon team, is also down to race in the Phoenix Park.

This year's English Cross County silver medallist Alex Teuten is in an England squad which also includes sub-30 minutes 10K men Graham Rush, John Beattie and Daniel Cliffe.

Sunday's event will again honour the memory of late Ballymena & Antrim athletics club great Sean Kyle.

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