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Senior men head good Irish performances at Euro Cross

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Senior men head good Irish performances at Euro Cross

The senior men’s team headed excellent performances by the Irish team at the European Cross Country Championships in Samorin, Slovakia with a fine fifth place finish (December 10).

With three to score, Sean Tobin (Clonmel) worked well with Hugh Armstrong (Ballina) and Kevin Maunsell (Clonmel) as they came in 15th, 19th and 24th respectively over the 10km distance. You can watch a video interview with them on the Athletics Ireland Facebook page HERE - there are also interviews with Sophie Murphy and Fionnuala McCormack. 

“It was a great team effort,” said Tobin afterwards with Paul Pollock (Annadale Striders) 48th, Kevin Dooney (Raheny Shamrock) 51st and John Travers (Donore Harriers) 72nd.

It was a tremendous performance by the men with the three scores all making their senior debuts – Tobin and Armstrong are 23 with Maunsell an ageless 36. The senior men were only two points off France in fourth.

Fionnuala McCormack (Kilcoole) was making a record-breaking 15th appearance at these championships but she had to settle for a 12th place finish over 8km in the senior women’s race. “Obviously I would have liked to have finished higher but I will be back and hope to get back in the mix. I just couldn’t get into it today at the top even though I gave my best throughout.”

The women’s team finished 7 with Shona Heaslip (An Riocht) 33 and Kerry O’Flaherty (Newcastle) 37 rounding out the scorers. Michelle Finn (Leevale) in 40, Fionnuala Ross (Armagh) in 47th and Lizzie Lee (Leevale) in 49th rounded out the team.

The weather was extremely cold with a wind chill factor to boot on a fast course that had plenty of twists and turns along with some man made obstacles.

There was a very positive start to the day with Sophie Murphy (DSD) finishing 10th in the U20 women’s 4km race and leading the team to 7th overall out of 20 teams.  She was followed home by Stephanie Cotter (West Muskerry) in 27th, Jodie McCann (DSD) in 34th, Laura Nicholson (Bandon) in 39th, Fiona Everard (Bandon) in 62nd and Fian Sweeney (DCH) in 72nd.

Up next were the U20 men over 6km and they were lead home by Fearghal Curtin (Youghal) in 22nd, followed by Craig McMeechan (North Down) in 37th, James Edgar (City of Lisburn) in 38th, Darragh McElhinney (Bantry) in 39th, Charlie O'Donovan (Leevale) in 41st and Brian Fay (Raheny Shamrock) in 49th.

Bethanie Murray (DSD) was the sole Irish representative in the U23 women’s 6km race and she ran well to finish 38th.

There were two Irish runners in the men’s U23 8km race with Eoin Strutt (Raheny Shamrock) 49th and Tom O’Keeffe (Kilkenny City Harriers) 60th.

These were very positive results for Ireland with four teams placing in the top ten  at these championships and an excellent base to build from with all of the runners performing pretty much to form.

High Performance Director Paul McNamara said: “I’m really pleased with the performances. There were some heroic performances out there starting with Sophie Murphy and then right through to the senior men who were magnificent. We have a strong tradition in cross country and for a country of our size we performed at a very high level.”

Team results

U20 Women – 7th

U20 men – 10th

Senior women – 7th

Senior men – 5th

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