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Ireland's Olympic hopeful Ciara Mageean wins surprise call for European cross-country championships

 

Long distance: Ciara Mageean will race in Lisbon next month
despite targeting the 1500 metres at the Tokyo Olympics
Long distance: Ciara Mageean will race in Lisbon next month despite targeting the 1500 metres at the Tokyo Olympics

By Brian Hill

World Championship 1,500 metres finalist Ciara Mageean is one of five Northern Ireland athletes named in a large Irish team for the European Cross Country Championships in Lisbon next month.

The 27-year-old's inclusion is a surprise as her main efforts for next year will be concentrated on doing well at the Tokyo Olympics.

However, this year's European indoors bronze medallist showed her versatility over the country a year ago by winning the Irish Trials for the Euro Cross in the Netherlands.

While she did not compete in the weekend's trials in Dublin, the selectors obviously consider that her World class track credentials are sufficient to warrant inclusion.

This year's trial race was easily won by twice European champion Fionnuala McCormack and she is expected to perform well again in Lisbon.

The Kicoole AC woman was 12th in 2017 and this year will be her 16th appearance at these Championships.

She will be joined by her sister, Una Britton, and Armagh's Fionnuala Ross who finished fourth at the weekend.

In the Men's Seniors, City of Derry Spartans athlete Conor Bradley gets his first representative honours at the age of 32 following his fourth place at the weekend behind winner Liam Brady of Tullamore.

In the Under-23 event, there will be interest in the performances of the Flanagan twins who compete for Carmen Runners in Carrickmore.

At the weekend, 22-year-old Eilish Flanagan finished second in her Division in the NCAA Championships in the United States. Last July she took silver in the European Junior steeplechase in Sweden.

Sister Roisin was third in the US race and both girls helped their Adams State University win the team event.

IRELAND TEAM (European Cross Country, Lisbon, December 8) Men's Senior: C Bradley (City of Derry Spartans AC), D Landers (Ennis Track), E Everard (Kilkenny City Harriers), K Maunsell (Clonmel), L Brady (Tullamore Harriers), S Tobin (Clonmel).

Men's U-23: B Fay (Raheny Shamrock), C Doyle (Clonliffe Harriers), C Dalton (Mullingar Harriers), D McGlynn (Waterford), J O'Leary (Mullingar Harriers), P Lynch (Kilkenny City Harriers).

Men's U-20: D McElhinney (Bantry), J Battle (Mullingar Harriers), K Kilrehill (Moy Valley), S McEvoy (Kilkenny City Harriers), T McStay (Galway City Harriers), Plus An Other.

Women's Senior: A Richardson (Kilkenny City Harriers), C Mageean (City of Lisburn), F McCormack (Kilcoole), F Ross (Armagh), M Mulhare (Portlaoise), U Britton (Kilcool).

Women's U-23: C Fagan (Mullingar Harriers), E Flanagan (Carmen runners), F Sweeney (Dublin City Harriers), R Flanagan (Carmen runners), S McAlister (Westport), S Cotter (West Muskerry).

Women's U-20: A O'Cuill (St Coca's), D Donegan (Tullamore Harriers), E Maher (Dundrum South Dublin), J McCann (Dublin City Harriers), M Gallagher (Swinford), S Kelly (Inisowen).

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