Mick Clohisey aims to defend his title and tally up a hat-trick of wins in Sunday’s (November 5) Dublin Senior Cross Country Championships at Santry.

Two years ago, the Raheny Shamrock athlete came in ahead of his clubmate Freddy Sittuk with Brandon Hargreaves of Dundrum South Dublin third and Sergiu Ciobanu of Clonliffe Harriers fourth. Last year, he shook off the challenge of clubmate Conor Dooney who finished second.

Most recently Clohisey finished fifth in at the Great South Run, a 10-mile road race in Portsmouth.

Kevin Dooney, also Raheny, was third with Raheny taking the Padraig Keane Memorial Trophy as the first team.

The Dooneys showed that they are in good form at the recent Autumn Open, with Kevin finishing fourth and Conor fifth. The winner was Hiko Tonosa, originally from Ethiopia, who is running in DSD colours and beat Valdas Doploskas of Balbriggan and District into second place.

Doploskas who is Lithuanian, arrived in Ireland last January after qualifying for the marathon at the Rio Olympics. He has made quite an impact on the Irish road running scene since then. Should this pair prove eligible to run, they could well threaten up front.

Ciara Mageean of UCD made a return to her cross country roots to win the women’s title last year, beating the defending champion Caroline Crowley of Crusaders. A surprise third was Barbara Cleary of Donore Harriers who went on to win the Dublin Masters title two months later.

Both Crowley and Cleary are injured at the moment, which could leave the way open for the consistent Ciara Durkan of Skerries AC, who was fourth and best of the Dublin athletes at the Autumn Open.

DSD are the defending women’s team champions and were led last year by Maria McCambridge, who has raced sparingly in recent months and opted out of the Dublin Marathon last week. The south Dublin club has a roster which includes Olympian Linda Byrne and mountain running international Sarah Mulligan, neither of whom were on the winning team last year.

The key event in Northern Ireland at the weekend is the McConnell Shield, which is no longer part of the Athletics NI Cross Country League.

Neil Johnston of Springwell Running Club and Mark McKinstry of North Belfast Harriers are expected to toe the line, while in the women’s race at the 83rd edition of the event, Jessica Craig of North Down AC and Laura Bickerstaff of Dromore AC are expected to battle it out.