Britton leads full squad of 33 for Ireland to European cross country championships

Britton leads full squad of 33 for Ireland to European cross country championships

Fionnuala Britton will earn her 31st international cap at next month’s European cross country championships in Bulgaria.

The two-time European cross country winner leads an Irish team of 33 to the championships on December 14, just outside Sofia.

It is the first time since 2010 that Ireland have fielded full teams in all six races as Britton looks to pick up her third European cross country title.

Thirty-year-old Britton, winner in 2011 and 2012, faces stiff competition from the Netherlands' Ethopian-born Sifan Hassan.

“Fionnuala’s preparations have been building very well and as a former double champion is looking to improve on her fourth placing from last year,” said coach Chris Jones.

The men’s team will be led by Paul Pollock and includes former Australian junior international Kevin Batt.

“My father was always at me to run for Ireland,” joked Batt after declaring for Ireland during the summer. “I’m delighted to wear the green singlet.”

It is the first time since 2010 that Ireland will send full under 23 teams to the competition, having not entered any under 23 women in 2013.

“I am delighted that we have begun to bridge a gap in the women’s U23 category and that we will field a team this year in this category,” said Jones, who is also Athletics Ireland's endurance coach.

“We will continue to work with our junior athletes to progress to a point where we can field a competitive team.

“We also see these championships as an important stepping stone on the path towards the European Indoor Athletics championships in March.”

Irish Team 21st SPAR European Cross Country Championships Samokov, Bulgaria December 14.

Senior Men

Paul Pollock - Annadale Striders

Mark Hanrahan - Leevale

Mick Clohisey - Raheny Shamrock

Kevin Maunsell – Clonmel

Breandan O’Neill –DSD

Kevin Batt - St Coca’s AC

Senior Women

Fionnuala Britton - Kilcoole

Michelle Finn - Leevale

Laura Crowe - An Riocht

Sara Treacy - Dunboyne

Siobhan O'Doherty – Borriskane

Ann Marie McGlynn - Letterkenny

U23 Men

Liam Brady - Tullamore Harriers

Brandon Hargreaves - Clonliffe Harriers

Ryan McDermott- Annadale Striders

Kevin Dooney - Raheny Shamrock

Dara Chesser - Ennis Track

U23 Women

Mary Mulhare - Portlaoise

Maria O'Sullivan - Raheny Shamrock

Rachael Smyth - St. Coca's

Orna Murray - UCC/Ferrybank

Shona Heaslip - An Riocht

Ellie Hartnett - UCD

Junior Men

Kevin Mulcaire - Ennis track

Con Doherty - Westport

Jack O’Leary - Mullingar Harriers

Rick Nally – DSD

David Harper - Sligo

Brendan O’Connor - An Riocht

Junior Women

Hope Saunders - Clonliffe Harriers

Orlaith Moynihan - Clonmel

Clodagh O'Reilly - Annalee

Rhona Pierce - Leevale

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