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Mageean goes for European Cross success on a real high

 

Test: Ciara Mageean is in action in Lisbon tomorrow
Test: Ciara Mageean is in action in Lisbon tomorrow

By Brian Hill

World Championship 1,500m finalist Ciara Mageean and her Irish team face a tough task in tomorrow's 8K European Cross Country Championships in Lisbon.

Some 600 athletes from 40 countries will be racing in the various showdowns, with a mixed relay included for the first time in the event's history.

Mageean surprised the Irish selectors by stating she wished to be considered despite her non-participation in the trials. The 27-year-old from Portaferry won the trials last year and was second Irish finisher in the Euros in Tilburg, where she was 43rd.

The 2019 Euro Indoors bronze medallist clearly thinks she can perform a lot better this time in Portugal, especially as the flat, firm course, plus favourable temperatures in the high teens, should suit her track background. However, she has limited experience in these championships, with most of her five outings being at Junior Under-20 level.

Mageean is, of course, still on a high following her NI record in the Worlds in Doha. Her confidence will be boosted further by a recent PB of 15 mins 44 secs in a 5K road race near Burnley.

Twice previous Euro Cross winner Fionnuala McCormack will be making a record breaking 16th appearance in these championships.

The 35-year-old won the trials race at a canter and will be aiming for a top-10 position in Lisbon, particularly following her October PB marathon in Chicago of under 2 hrs 47 mins.

Trials runner-up Mary Muldoon, McCormack's sister Una Britton and Armagh's Fionnuala Ross are also racing.

There will be considerable interest in the Women's Under-23 race which features Carrickmore twins Eilish and Roisin Flanagan.

In the men's events, City of Derry's Conor Bradley will be racing in his first international.

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