A big Irish team of 39 athletes has been selected for the 25th edition of the SPAR European Cross Country Championships taking place in the Dutch city of Tilburg on December 9th.
Tilburg has previously played host to the European Cross Country Championships back in 2005 but the venue will be different this time around. This year’s event will take place on a challenging course at the Beekse Bergen Safari Park, situated just to the south-east of Tilburg.
Ciara Mageean (UCD) and Kevin Dooney (Raheny Shamrock) will lead the senior teams having won respective titles at the Irish Life Health National Cross Country Championships at the Sport Ireland National Sports Campus. It will be the same venue for the European Cross Country Championships in 2020.
Mageean is looking forward to the challenge: “I’ve had a really good winter and I’m looking forward to putting in a good showing at the European Cross.”
National U23 champion Brian Fay (Raheny Shamrock) and American-based Ryan Forsyth (Newcastle) will lead a strong U23 men’s team having finished 11th at the NCAA Cross Country Championships last week.
The U20 women’s team will also be in a strong position to challenge for medals led by Sarah Healy (Blackrock) who won double gold over 1500m and 3,000m at the European U18 Athletics Championships last summer. Also in the ranks in Sophie O’Sullivan (Ballymore Cobh) who won silver over 800m at that same event.
It is an exciting proposition to have such a large team announced with a view to Dublin 2020 and that this will provide the perfect platform for them to perform.
High Performance Director Paul McNamara said:“We’re excited about this team’s prospects for Tilburg, both in terms of making an impact here and now, but also as it’s an important stepping stone on the road to Abbottstown 2020.
“This season has demonstrated the improved depth and quality in the underage categories, and as a result we’ve selected both U23 teams for the first time since 2014. Both U20 teams look strong and can certainly build on their solid showing in Slovakia last year. Some of our leading senior women are unavailable but the selected team has a lot of experience and ability and will look to make an impact, while the senior men will look to build on a very positive result last year. The mixed relay is an exciting addition to the squad and should be capable of adding some value to Team Ireland’s prospects”
European Cross Country Championships, Tilburg, December 9
Kevin Dooney (Raheny Shamrock AC), Sean Tobin (Clonmel AC), Kevin Maunsell (Clonmel AC), Mick Clohisey (Raheny Shamrock AC), Stephen Scullion(Clonliffe Harriers AC), Kevin Batt (DSD AC)
Ciara Mageean (UCD AC), Ann Marie McGlynn (Letterkenny AC), Fionnuala Ross (Armagh AC), Michelle Finn (Leevale AC), Sara Treacy (Dunboyne AC), Kerry O’Flaherty (Newcastle & District AC)
Brian Fay (Raheny Shamrock AC), Ryan Forsyth (Newcastle and District AC), Paul O’Donnell (DSD AC), Cathal Doyle (Clonliffe Harriers AC), Garry Campbell (Dunleer AC), Jack O’Leary (Mullingar Harriers AC)
Fian Sweeney (Dublin City Harriers AC), Eilish Flanagan (Carmen runners), Aoibhe Richardson (Kilkenny City Harriers AC), Roisin Flanagan (Carmen runners), Sorcha McAlister (Westport AC)
Daragh McElhinney (Bantry AC), Sean O’Leary (Clonliffe Harriers AC), Jamie Battle (Mullingar Harriers AC), Fintan Stewart (City of Derry AC Spartans), Daire Finn (Dublin City Harriers AC) Feidhlim Kelly, Micheál Power (West Waterford AC)
Sarah Healy (Blackrock AC), Emma O’Brien (Sli Cualann), Jodie McCann (Dublin City Harriers AC), Laura Nicholson (Bandon AC), Stephanie Cotter (West Muskerry AC), Sophie O’Sullivan (Ballymore Cobh AC)
John Travers (Donore Harriers AC), Paul Robinson (St Coca’s AC), Claire Tarplee (St Coca’s AC), Siofra Cleirigh Buttner (DSD AC)
For full team selection including coaches: https://athleticsireland.app.box.com/v/18EXCSelections