The Irish senior women’s team defied all expectations by taking another bronze medal in yesterday’s European Cross Country Championships in Heyres, France.
The team was led in style by twice European champion Fionnuala McCormack who finished fourth over the 8k course.
The Irish team took an unexpected bronze 12 months ago when they just pipped France for a rostrum position. There was no such uncertainty this time as the GB team took gold with an easy 33 points victory. France landed silver with 78 points, while Ireland were comfortably third on 83 points ahead of Spain on 95.
The finishing positions were McCormack (4th), Lizzie Lee (13th), Caroline Crowley (23rd)and Ciara Durkin (43rd). Both Michelle Finn (54th) and Newcastle’s Kerry O’Flaherty (55th) also received bronze medals although they were not members of the scoring team.
In the men’s 10k senior race Annadale’s Paul Pollock was the second Irish finisher in 45th place behind Mick Clohissey who was 37th.
Pollock from Holywood said: “I am clearly still not 100% fit following injury. I was well up in the 20s in the middle of the race and ahead of Mick.
“Unfortunately I then faded back over the closing stages. However the marathon in Rio is in my sights and I will be racing in the London Marathon next April.”
In the Women’s U23 event Emma Mitchell of Banbridge finished 36th behind team mate Shona Heaslip who was 33rd.
Seventeen-year-old James Edgar of Lisburn AC was 70th in the Junior 6k event.
Athletics NI officials were at this meeting with a view to signing up athletes for the big Greenmount Cross meeting next month.