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Irish 'cross raises money for tsunami appeal

By Tommy Campbell, Irish Independent, Evening Herald, Sunday Independent

As the world continues to reel from the enormity of the tsunami catastrophe, we can be sure of one thing: that the generosity of people from around the globe will help to ease the loss and return the affected areas to normality someday.

Usher Irish Road Club has taken up the baton to make its contribution to the fund on Sunday, January 9, when it promotes a cyclo-cross race, which under the circumstances may see huge numbers turn out. According to Michael Lawless, the organiser of the event, "Since we had an event listed it was prudent that we should divert the entire proceedings on the day to the fund."

The cyclo-cross race will be held in one of the most important treasures of South County Dublin. It is in the 128 hectare, Corkagh Park immediately adjacent to the Naas Road and stretching almost a mile to the village of Clondalkin. It incorporates lands of the former Corkagh Demesne.

"It is indeed a natural setting for an off-road race. The competitors - and hopefully we will get the numbers because of the commitment we are making to raise funds - will tackle the rough with the smooth and the occasional manmade hazard which is par for cyclo-cross. The Park personnel have facilitated me in every way.

"I would like to reinforce their confidence in permitting us to stage the event and that we leave the environs as we found them."

It's more than likely that many of the roadmen will put their training on hold for the day and participate. No doubt the raging hot favourite will be Robin Seymour, who recently lost his title in the discipline (13 wins on the trot).

Proceedings get under way on Sunday at 11 o'clock for the underage participants and then at 12.30, the seniors will tackle the 2.5km circuit for an hour plus of racing. Also please note that the prize list for the day has been suspended and will go towards bumping up the contribution to a cause that the Irish nation has shown great awareness to dig deep, considering the time of year.

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