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Mageean gets green light for Rio

By Brian Hill

Ciara Mageean will be heading to the Rio Olympics next year. The Portaferry ace has been given the green light to travel to Brazil after Athletics Ireland adopted a new qualification process.

Under the new procedures, qualifying standards are revised upwards in a number of events. Mageean will compete in the 1,500m while Ciara Everard (800m) and five marathon runners have achieved the qualification standard.

Mageean made the Olympic standard by clocking 4:06.09 in September.

Gary Thornton, Thomas Frazer, Sean Hehir and Eoin Callaghan have met the qualifying criteria in the men's marathon but each country can only send a maximum of three athletes in the event.

Barbara Sanchez has qualified in the women's marathon after running 2:42:43 in Valencia last month.

Meanwhile, former double European Cross Country champion Fionnuala McCormack is the latest big name to be announced for the Greenmount Cross Country International in Antrim next month.

The 31-year-old is second only to the great Sonia O'Sullivan in the list of top female Irish cross country runners.

She has two previous individual European titles to her name and has now moved to the marathon and her 2.33.15 in October meets the qualification time for the Rio Olympics next summer.

She has also experienced success at Greenmount with two wins to her credit.

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