Ulster trio bid to boost Irish chance for Euro glory
European track medallist Ciara Mageean plus fellow Olympians Kerry O'Flaherty and Paul Pollock intend to play a key role in the Irish teams competing in this weekend's televised European Cross Country Championships in Chia, Italy.
All eyes will once again be on the women's team to see if they can secure a hat-trick of medals following bronze in each of the past two years.
The team will be led as usual by former double European cross country champion Fionnualla McCormack who will be racing at Greenmount in the New Year.
Under 23 international Shona Heaslip was a surprise winner of the Irish trials while Newcastle's O'Flaherty and Mageean from Portaferry fought a tough battle for the runner-up spot, the former triumphing by a second.
In the men's race the Irish challenge will be fronted by Mark Christie.
Holywood's Pollock will be making every effort to improve on his fifth place finish in the Trials.
Pollock, Ireland's top Rio marathon runner, had however just returned from an energy sapping race in Delhi.