Double European cross country champion Fionnuala Britton stormed to an impressive victory at the Gerry Farnan Cross Country Festival in the Phoenix Park on Sunday.
The Kilcoole AC athlete flowed effortlessly around the rolling hills of the famous Munich loop to take victory in a time of 15:45.
The manner of victory and powerful display by Britton signifies that preparations are going well for the upcoming European cross country championships in Belgrade, Serbia onDecember 8th. Britton was followed over the line by fellow 2012 European cross country team gold medallist Sara Louise Treacy (Moynalvey AC), second in a time of 16.26. Track star Laura Crowe (An Riocht AC) used her speed to blaze through the field and claim third position in a time of 16.36. In the battle for fourth spot Ann Marie McGlynn (Lifford AC) just held off Ciara Durkin (Skerries AC), with both athletes given the same time of 16:44.
Three members of the 2010 U23 gold medal winning European cross country team filled the top three positions in the senior men’s race. An exciting battle developed betweenMichael Mulhare (Portlaoise AC) and David McCarthy (West Waterford AC) over the five lap contest. Both athletes looked superb as they negotiated the sun drenched course in the Phoenix Park. It was Mulhare who had the superior strength as he pulled away from McCarthy to take the victory in a time of 24:30. McCarthy hung on bravely for second place in a time of 20:51 with the fast finishing John Coughlan (MSB AC) having a brilliant race to place third in a time of 24:53. Mark Hanrahan (Leevale AC) made a welcome return to top class competition to finish fourth in a time of 25.10.
In the junior women’s race Siofra Cleirigh Buttner (Dundrum south Dublin AC) showed a clean pair of heels to the opposition as she eased to victory in a time of 11:22. Clodagh O’Reilly (Annalee AC) broke up the DSD domination to take second spot ahead ofMeghan Ryan (DSD AC) in third. Sean Tobin (Clonmel AC) dominated the junior men’s race as he romped to victory in a time of 19:53, ahead of Clonliffe Harrier Aaron Hanlon(20:21) in second and 1500m athlete Ruairi Finnegan (Letterkenny AC) showing good strength to take third in a time of 20:31.
The top four finishers in Senior and Junior races and the top two U23 finishers from today’s races will now move on to represent Ireland at the Lotto Cross Cup in Antwerp, Belgiumon the 3rd of November.