Britton Leads Irish Team for the European Cross Country Championships


Double European Cross Country Champion Fionnuala Britton, (Kilcoole AC) will lead the Irish Team of 33 at the 21st SPAR European Cross Country Championships which takes place in Samokov, Bulgaria December 14th.

Britton is only one of two Irish senior athletes to have won medals at European Cross Country Championships taking back to back titles in 2011 and 2012 with Catherina McKiernan (1994) being the other. In last year’s championships in Belgrade, Serbia she placed fourth. The 30 year old will receive her 31st cap for Ireland to place her third on the all-time list of International appearances for Ireland with Anne Keenan Buckley just one cap behind Derval O’Rourke and three caps behind Sonia O’Sullivan.

The Wicklow athlete has competed in a number of domestic Road Race and Cross Country races as part of her preparation including securing victory at the GloHealth Inter County Championships in Dundalk  last weekend. Britton is set to race in the competitive Cross De L’Acier in France next weekend to round off her pre-championships race schedule.

Chris Jones, National Endurance Coach commented: “Fionnuala’s preparations have been building very well and as a former double champion is looking to improve on her fourth placing from last year” 

He added: “Overall team preparations have gone well with altitude training camp in Font-Romeu for both Senior and U23 athletes. The Irish based Junior athletes have been involved in a series of endurance camps on the lead up the championships led by Steven Macklin and Joe Ryan. We will be looking for teams to deliver top five placings”

Britton will be joined on the women’s team, who placed sixth last year by the top finishers at the Inter County Championships last weekend: Michelle Finn (Leevale AC), Laura Crowe (An Riocht), Sara Treacy (Dunboyne AC), Siobhan O'Doherty (Borriskane AC) and Ann Marie McGlynn (Letterkenny A.C.).

The Senior Men’s team who also placed sixth last year will be led by team by Paul Pollock (Annadale Striders) who won the GloHealth Inter County cross championships in a highly competitive race of the day with only 3 seconds separating the top three.   He will be joined on the team by second and third placed finishers from that race, Mark Hanrahan (Leevale A.C) and Mick Clohisey (Raheny Shamrock A.C). The remainder of the team are Kevin Maunsell (Clonmel A.C), Brendan O’Neill (DSD AC) and Kevin Batt (DSD AC).

The Irish team will face a challenging course in Samokov, set on the mountain resort of Borovets it will be undulating and at a slight attitude of 1350m with conditions likely be dry but freezing. The team will travel to the championships on Friday the 12th of December. The US based collegiate students will arrive earlier than the rest of the team into Samokov on the Wednesday giving them time to adjust to the time zone given those who competed in NCAA a 3 week recovery time.

There has been a shift from Team Management for Senior Teams to the appointment of Team Captains who will be announced on the 2nd of December. This decision has been made to allow for the more experienced athletes to take ownership and leadership and to foster a culture of collaboration and performance. The team support for U23 and Junior athletes have been working alongside athletes and their coaches in the lead up to the championships and will support and guide them through the championships.

Chris Jones:  “I am delighted that we have begun to bridge a gap in the women’s U23 category and that we will field a team this year in this category with all of the athletes selected finished within 47 seconds of each other at the Inter counties”. We will continue to work with our Junior athletes to progress to a point where we can field a competitive team. We also see these championships as an important stepping stone on the path towards the European Indoor Athletics championships in March.


Irish Team  21st SPAR European Cross Country Championships  Samokov, Bulgaria  December 14th. (Updated 28th November)


Senior Men

Name                                                    Club                                                       Coach

Paul Pollock                                       Annadale Striders A.C.                        Andy Hobdell

Mark Hanrahan                                   Leevale A.C                                        Martin McCarthy

Mick Clohisey                                     Raheny Shamrock A.C.                     Dick Hooper

Conor Dooney                                   Raheny Shamrock AC                             

Breadan O’Neill                                   DSD AC                                            Chris Jones

Kevin Batt                                          DSD AC                                            Damon Martin


Senior Women

Fionnuala Britton                             Kilcoole A.C.                                       Chris Jones

Michelle Finn                                  Leevale AC

Laura Crowe                                   An Riocht                                             Donie Walsh

Sara Treacy                                   Dunboyne AC.                                      Bud Baldaro

Siobhan O'Doherty                          Borriskane AC

Ann Marie McGlynn                       Letterkenny A.C.                                  Teresa McDaid


U23 Men

Liam Brady                                      Tullamore Harriers                        Robert Denmead

Brandon Hargreaves                        Clonliffe Harriers             

Ryan McDermott                              Annadale Striders A.C.                  Mark Kirk

Kevin Dooney                                  Raheny Shamrock A.C.                Paul Harkins

Dara Chesser                                  Ennis Track

Conor Duffy                                     Glaslough Harriers


U23 Women

Mary Mulhare                                   Portlaoise A.C.                                  Joe Warne

Maria O'Sullivan                                Raheny Shamrock A.C.                      Paul Brady

Rachael Smyth                                  St. Coca's AC                                   Robert Denmead

Orna Murray                                     UCC/Ferrybank                                   Donie Walsh

Shona Heaslip                                   An Riocht AC                                      Niamh O'Sullivan

Ellie Hartnett                                    UCD                                                    James Nolan



Junior Men

Kevin Mulcaire                                  Ennis track A.C.                                 Pat Hogan

Con  Doherty.                                    UCD A.C.                                        Jerry Kilroy

Jack O’Leary                                    Mullingar Harriers                              Joe Ryan

Rick Nally                                        DSD AC

David Harper.                                   Sligo                                                Dermot McDermott

Brendan O’Connor                          An Riocht                                             Martin Tarsey


Junior Women

Hope Saunders                                 Clonliffe Harriers

Orlaith Moynihan                               Clonmel A.C                                       Anthony Moynihan

Clodagh O'Reilly                                Annalee A.C.                                      Denis Noonan

Rhona Pierce                                     Leevale AC                                          Ray Shanahan

Isabel Carron                                     Skerries AC

Sarah Fitzpatrick                                DSD AC

Team Management

Head of Delegation: Kevin Ankrom

Team Leader: Chris Jones

Team Support/Logistics: Gillian Brosnan

Team Physio: Ciara McCallion

Team Soft Tissue Therapist: Declan Monaghan

Men’s Captain: Mick Clohisey

Women’s Captain: Ann-Marie McGlynn

Team Support U23 Men: Paul McNamara

Team Support U23 Women: Geraldine Nolan

Team Support Junior Men: Joe Ryan

Team Support Junior Women: Steven Macklin

Media Support: Kenneth Kiernan 

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