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Cross Country team announced


from RTE sport website Alan McCormack heads up the Irish Men’s Senior Team for the European Cross Country Championships in Brussels on 14 December. This follows his win at the weekend in the Woodie’s DIY National Inter County Men’s Senior Championship. The men’s team also includes US based athletes Andrew Ledwith and Martin Fagan, who have had remarkable performances of late. Ledwith’s third placing in the highly prestigious NCAA Cross Country Championships in Indiana, USA on Monday represents a big breakthrough for the Fr Murphy’s AC athlete. He is currently on an athletic scholarship at Iona College.

Martin Fagan of Mullingar who won European Athlete of the month for October will travel home from his training base in Arizona and will be confident of improving on last year’s seventh placing in the European Championship.

Mark Carroll, (Leevale AC), who is also based in the US will add his considerable experience to the team, while Mark Christie (Mullingar Harriers) and Gary Murray (St Malachy’s), who finished second and third respectively in Tramore, will complete the squad.

Mary Cullen of North Sligo AC will lead the Women’s senior team. Cullen has been showing impressive form in America and should be capable of challenging for a top position.

Fionnuala Britton had to miss out on competing in Tramore at the weekend due to injury, but the Sli Cualann runner has been selected to run in Brussels subject to full racing fitness.

The rest of the women’s team is made up of Deirdre Byrne (Sli Cualann) and the Dundrum South Dublin trio of Hazel Murphy, Aoife Byrne and Ava Hutchinson.

‘We have good strength and depth across all the teams for this year’s European Championships,’ Irish Team Manager, Anne Keenan Buckley said.

‘Andrew Ledwith’s third place in the US Collegiate Cross Country Championships on Monday was a massive performance and Martin Fagan is also in medal contention form. Mary Cullen and Linda Byrne should perform well in their respective Women’s Senior and Under-23 events. I think that we can look forward to some impressive performances and the possibility of a team medal.’

The men’s Under-23 team will include three US based runners; David McCarthy (West Waterford) who finished 19th in the NCAA event, Ciaran O’Lionaird, (Leevale AC) and Richie Yeates, (Raheny Shamrock AC).

They will be joined by Mick Clohisey (Raheny Shamrock AC), Paul Pollock (Abbey AC), John Coghlan, (Metro St Brigid’s AC) and Jason Fahy, (Olympic Harriers).

National Inter County senior women’s champion Linda Byrne of DSD will lead the U-23 women’s team of Holly Knight, (Finn Valley), Ciara Durkan, (Skerries AC), Eimear O’Brien, (Sligo AC), Aisling Baker, (DSD) and one other athlete still to be selected. Linda Byrne finished sixth in this event last year and on present form she can now challenge for a medal in Brussels.

Holly Knight finished 11th in the women’s race at the NCAA Cross Country Championships in Indiana and should also be capable for challenging for a high placing.

Teams for European Cross Country Championships in Brussels on 14 December:

Men Seniors: Alan Mc Cormack (DSD), Mark Christie (Mullingar Harriers), Gary Murray (St Malachy’s), Mark Carroll (Leevale AC) , Martin Fagan (Mullingar Harriers), Andrew Ledwith (Fr Murphy’s A.C).

Reserve – Joe Mc Allister (St Malachy’s).

Senior Women: Mary Cullen (North Sligo AC), Fionnuala Britton (Sli Cualann), Deirdre Byrne (Sli Cualann), Aoife Byrne (DSD), Hazel Murphy (DSD), Ava Hutchinson (DSD).

Reserve – Kerry Harty (Newcastle AC).

Men U-23: Michael Clohesy (Raheny Shamrock), Paul Pollock (Abbey AC), John Coghlan (MSB), David McCarthy (West Waterford AC), Richie Yeates (Raheny Shamrock)
Ciaran O’ Lionaird (Leevale AC).

Reserve – Jason Fahy (Olympic AC).

Women U-23: Linda Byrne (DSD), Ciara Durkan (Skerries AC), Eimear O’Brien (Sligo AC), Holly Knight (Finn Valley), Aisling Baker (DSD).