The 36-year-old Leevale athlete looks after the interests of the Irish athletes based in the US on behalf of Athletics Ireland these days, but he ran himself into contention for a place on the team which he helped put together when he won a 5k road race in Wakefield, Rhode Island last week in a course record time of 14 mins 39 secs.
A former runner-up in the NCAA cross-country championships while on scholarship at Providence College, he was yesterday included in the senior men’s team for the European cross-country championships alongside Andrew Ledwith, who finished third in the NCAA cross-country championships in Indiana on Monday.
Carroll was selected on a number of occasions for the European cross-country championships but was unable to compete for various reasons although he represented Ireland at the world cross-country championships in Belfast and Leopardstown.
Martin Fagan, who represented Ireland in the marathon at the Olympic Games in Beijing, was pre-selected for the European championships on foot of his superb form on the road and will be rejoining his Mullingar clubmate Mark Christie, who was second in the inter-counties on Sunday.
The first three in last Sunday’s inter-counties championships in Tramore — Alan McCormack (DSD), Mark Christie (Mullingar) and Gary Murray (St. Malachy’s) — all got automatic selection.
Ciarán O Lionaird (Leevale) was selected for the U23 team but he withdrew yesterday after discussing the situation with his coach at Michigan, Ron Warhurst. He had finished 68th in the NCAA’s the previous day but later told Mark Carroll he had a stomach upset during the race and, after a long season, wished to get ready for the indoor season. David McCarthy from Waterford, a student at Providence College, finished a superb 19th in Indiana to justify his pre-selection for the U23 team where he will be joined by fellow Providence athlete, Richard Yeates (Raheny Shamrock), 168th in Indiana and the top three U23s from Sunday’s race Tramore.
The junior men’s team will be led by Craig Murphy (Togher) who was 48th in the world championships earlier this year, while Shane Quinn (Ferrybank), son of the former Olympic steeplechaser Brendan Quinn, is an exciting addition to the junior men’s team. He won the U-18 race in Tramore on Sunday.
Mary Cullen (North Sligo), who finished fourth in the women’s race some years ago, highlighted her form with another victory at the weekend. She was first woman home in the Turkey Trot 5 miles in Fitchburg, Massachusetts, 25:54, and seventh overall with just six men ahead of her. Her training partner in Ray Treacy’s group Roisín McGettigan, who made the steeplechase final at the Olympic Games in Beijing, was second woman home in 27:19.
Fionnuala Britton, the national champion, has been named in the senior women’s team as well but had to withdraw from the inter-counties on Sunday with a foot injury.
Hollie Knight, whose Irish parents live in Devon, was pre-selected for the women’s U23 team after she declared for Ireland and she, too, justified that decision when she finished 11th in the NCAA’s on Monday. There is a vacancy on that team and it could go to either Laura Huet (Stonybrook), 176th in Indiana or Breffni Twohig (Providence) who was 201st.
Linda Byrne (DSD), who won the senior women’s race on Sunday, leads the U23 team, while newly-crowned junior champion, Sara Treacy will lead the junior women’s team which includes the Ffrench O’Carroll twins, Charlotte and Rebecca.
The Irish teams for the European Cross-Country Championships in Brussels on December 14 are:
Men senior: A McCormack (DSD), M Christie (Mullingar Harriers), G Murray (St. Malachys), M Carroll (Leevale), M Fagan (Mullingar Harriers), A Ledwith (Fr. Murphys).
Reserve: J McAllister (Malachys).
Men U-23: M Clohisey (Raheny Shamrock), P Pollock (Abbey) , J Coghlan (Metro St. Brigid’s), D McCarthy(West Waterford/Providence College), R Yeates (Raheny/Providence College), C Ó Lionard (Leevale/Michigan State). Reserve:J Fahy (Clare).
Junior Men: C Murphy (Togher), D Mulhare(North Laois), D Flynn (Clonliffe), P Flynn (Ferrybank), I Ward (Finn Valley), S Quinn (Ferrybank). Reserve: P Hogan (Ferrybank).
Senior women: M Cullen (North Sligo), F Britton (Sli Chulainn), D Byrne (Sli Chulainn) , A Byrne (DSD), H Murphy (DSD), A Hutchinson (DSD). Reserve: K Harty (Newcastle).
Women U-23: L Byrne (DSD) , C Durkan (Skerries), E O’Brien (Sligo), H Knight (Finn Valley) , A Baker (DSD) , An Other.
Junior women: S Treacy (Meath), C Ffrench O’Carroll (DSD) , R Ffrench O’Carroll (DSD) , C Mageen (Lisburn), L Mc Carthy (Waterford), T Jameson (Sli Chulainn). Reserve: P Barry (Ferrybank).
Team leader:Anne Keenan Buckley (Northth Laois).
Coaching staff:Jim Davis (Liffey Valley), Bro. John Dooley (Nenagh), Teresa McDaid (Letterkenny) . Medical officer: Dr Bill Cuddihy (Kilkenny). Physiotherapist: Nessa Smyth (Dublin). Head Of Delegation: Patsy McGonagle (Finn Valley).