Home News Irish Runners Hunting for Good Performances in Edinburgh Cross Country Saturday

Irish Runners Hunting for Good Performances in Edinburgh Cross Country Saturday


The Irish Athletes making the trip over to Scotland for the Bupa Great Edinburgh International Cross Country on Saturday will be looking to kick start their 2011 campaigns with good performances over the country in highly competitive international races. Joe Sweeney (Dundrum South Dublin AC) and Mark Kenneally (Clonliffe Harriers AC) have been selected to run for the nine-man European Select Team in the International Team Challenge over 8km against the Aviva Great Britain & NI Team and a team from the USA.

This Team Challenge event is a new introduction this year to the annual IAAF date in Edinburgh and both Sweeney and Kenneally will be sure to benefit from the competition they will experience over the hilly Hollyrood Park course tomorrow.

It is a positive reflection of Irish cross country running at the moment that both Sweeney and Kenneally have selected to compete for the European Select Team in Edinburgh.

Kenneally contributed to this healthy reputation with his excellent 8th place finish in the European Cross Country Championships in Dublin in December 2009, and Sweeney competed with credit in the recent Euro Cross in Portugal finishing 21st in a highly competitive race.

Both athletes will be looking to put in international class runs on Saturday with the view to building up their strength and speed as they prepare to hopefully represent Ireland in the World Cross Country Championships in Spain in March.

The hilly and possibly wet conditions in Edinburgh on Saturday will be more challenging perhaps than the recent relatively flat and fast course at the Euro Cross last month, though both Sweeney and Kenneally do not mind getting their feet wet and attacking challenging cross country courses.

The European select is headed by Team Captain Sergey Lebid of the Ukraine, winner of his magnificent 9th Euro Cross title in December. Lebid will be joined by Irishmen Sweeney and Kenneally, as well as Ayad Lamdassam (Spain) Abdellatif Meftah (France), Jeroen D’Hoedt (Belgium), Mourad Amdouni (France) Jesus Espana (Spain) and Youssef El Kalai (Portugal).

The USA team will be led Galen Rupp, while double European Champion Mo Farah will be hoping to score an individual and team victory for Britain in what will be a very competitive 8km Team Challenge race.

Sweeney and Kenneally will also be joined by four other Irish athletes competing in Edinburgh on Saturday.

Mark Christie (Mullingar), Dan and Michael Mulhare (Laois) and Stephen Scullion (Belfast) will all be hoping to compete well in the Men’s International 4k race against a top quality field that includes the 2008 Olympic 1500m Champion Asbel Kiprop of Kenya and the reigning European 1500m Champion Arturo Casado of Spain, as well the UK 1500m number one Tom Lancashire.

Both races featuring our Irish Athletes are being shown live on BBC1 from 1pm to 2:30pm.