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Record number of NI stars set to challenge for Euro honours

By Brian Hill

Athletics Ireland yesterday announced that a record 14 competitors from Northern Ireland have been selected in the 50-strong Ireland squad for the European Championships in Amsterdam, which begin in nine days' time.

Lisburn AC's Amy Foster is the only Irish representative in the 100m following her fifth National title in Dublin at the weekend.

On the men's side, multi-Paralympic champion Jason Smyth of Derry and Ballymena's Jonathan Browning have been selected for the sprint relay following their respective gold and silver runs in Dublin.

Holywood's high hurdler Ben Reynolds produced the goods at Santry and has been rewarded following his winning time of 13.89 seconds. Another very pleased athlete is QUB's Andrew Mellon, who will be part of a very strong 400m relay squad.

Rio-bound Ciara Mageean has been picked for the 1,500m, which is her Olympic event. The 24-year-old former World Junior silver medallist said: "I'm really looking forward to going to the Euros and getting in the mix."

Ballymena's Christine McMahon will be racing in her 400m hurdles specialist event as well as the relay. Newcastle AC steeplechaser Kerry O'Flaherty will be using Amsterdam as preparation for the Rio Olympics.

Finn Valley's pole vaulter Tori Pena has also been named.

These nine will now join the list of Northern Ireland athletes who will be competing in the Half Marathon in Amsterdam.

Annadale's Paul Pollock, Kevin Seaward of St Malachy's and Gary Murray of Clonliffe have high hopes of performing well in the team event. North Belfast pair Breege Connolly and Gladys Ganiel are racing in the women's event.

Belfast Telegraph

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