Home News Irish athletes looking to secure European spots

Irish athletes looking to secure European spots


from Clare McCoy Many of Ireland’s top cross country runners will be in action on Sunday at the Woodie’s DIY Inter County Cross Country Championships looking to secure their place on the Irish team for the European Cross Country Championships.

Irish team hopefuls will take to the course on Kilbeggan Race Course in Westmeath knowing that a top three position will guarantee them a place on the Irish squad for the European Cross Country, which takes place in Santry Park, Dublin on December 13th.

The Irish management will be in attendance at Kilbeggan on Sunday and Team Manager, Anne Keenan-Buckley, is looking forward to the races on Sunday. “This weekend we will get an opportunity to see how our runners perform in a pressure situation. With some of the age groups we will have a good idea who will be in the squad but in something like the Junior Men’s race there are 9 or 10 athletes who could make the team,” Keenan-Buckley said.

The weather conditions in Westmeath could also have a big impact on Sunday’s races but Keenan Buckley believes that should not affect the athletes too much. “Good athletes should be able to compete on any course and run well. This is the first time we have held a championship here but it will be the same for everyone and I would imagine the course will be quite heavy considering the amount of rain that has fallen.”

The Team Manager thinks it could be a good indicator of the Santry Park course. “Santry, if dry can be a very fast course, but if it is as wet as it has been then it could be a mudbath, so we may see something similar on Sunday.”

Several of Ireland’s top athletes, such as Martin Fagan, Mark Christie and Alistair Cragg won’t be in action in Kilbeggan for different reasons but may still be a key part of the Irish team for Santry. However one athlete that will be in action on Sunday and will carry Irish hopes in Santry is Mary Cullen. The North Sligo AC athlete has been in excellent form and will hope to continue this at Kilbeggan.

“Mary has been very impressive recently and been showing some great form. The fact that she has stayed at home instead of returning to the US has been of great benefit to her. She was in Spain recently in what was a world class field where she finished fourth and was the second European. Even her road race times have been excellent and I think she even be in better shape than she was last year so everyone will be watching Mary on Sunday,” Keenan-Buckley said.

The Woodie’s DIY Inter County Cross Country Championships will take place in Kilbeggan Race Course, Westmeath on Sunday 22nd November.

The SPAR European Cross Country Championships will take place in Ireland for the first time on the 13th December in Santry Demesne, Dublin. For more information and regular updates on the event and to sign up to the mailing list for the SPAR European Cross Country Championships then log on to www.Dublin2009.ie.

Dublin 2009 has teamed up with RacePix, www.racepix.com/euroxc , to keep a photo diary of the events leading up to the SPAR European Cross Country Championships. All the photos of events leading to Santry can be viewed on the new page including this weekend’s European Cross Country trials at the Woodie’s DIY Inter County Cross Country Championships in Kilbeggan.

Athletics Ireland is supported nationally in running this event by the Irish Sports Council, Dublin City Council, Fingal County Council, RTÉ, Failte Ireland and Clonliffe Harriers. Tickets for the event can be purchased from www.ticketmaster.ie

Woodie’s DIY Inter County Cross Country Championship – Kilbeggan Race Course, Westmeath

Timetable –
Senior & U-23 Women: 13:45
Junior Women: 14:30
Junior Men: 14:50
Senior & U-23: 15:15


For further information:
Declan Lee – O’Herlihy Communications – 01 660 2744 / 087 695 7451
Frank Greally – Athletics Ireland – 087 256 9690