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Britton to defend Euro Title

Fionnuala Britton

Fionnuala Britton

Defending champion Fionnuala Britton will lead the Irish charge at the 19th SPAR European Cross Country Championships in Budapest, Hungary, on 9 December.

The 28-year-old has been shaping up well to defend her title in the Hungarian capital. She finished fourth in a very competitive field at the VIII Cross de Atapuerca in Burgos, Spain, earlier this month and an equally creditable third place finish in a classy field in the Cross de l’Acier, France, at the weekend.

Britton will be joined by Lizzie Lee, Ava Hutchinson, Sarah McCormack, Linda Byrne and Sarah Louise Treacy on the senior women’s team.

Joe Sweeney has been rewarded with a place on the men’s team following his performance at the Woodies DIY Inter County Cross Country National Championships which took place in Ratoath, Co Meath, last Sunday. Sweeney finished a magnificent fifth last year at the SPAR European Cross Country Championships in Velenje; he will be joined on the team by David Rooney, Brendan O’Neill, Sean Hehir and Brian Maher.

“We have solid teams competing at this year championships with chances of quality performances at junior and senior level. For many of our juniors this is their first year competing in this age category and they will be looking to gain experience from this competition,” said team manager Teresa McDaid.

In the under-23 women’s category, Una Britton, sister to Fionnuala, will lead the charge for the Irish team. Britton will be joined on the line by Laura Behan, as both these athletes finished first and second respectively at the under-23 trials last Sunday.

Chris Johnston will lead the under-23 men’s team, after winning his category at the national championships at the weekend. He will be joined on the team by David Fitzmaurice, Patrick Hogan, Sam Mealy, John Travers, Sam Mealy and Shane Quinn.

Siofra Cleirigh Buttner has been named in the junior women’s team. The world junior 800m semi-finalist won the national cross country in fine style at the weekend. She will be joined on the team by Sarah Collins, Linda Conroy, Mary Mulhare, Claire McCarthy and Mary Ann O’Sullivan.

Stephan Kerr will lead the junior men’s team after storming to victory at the national championships. He will be joined by Sean Tobin, Ian Guiden, Killian Mooney, and Eoghan Totten.

Ireland team for Budapest:
Senior Women: Fionnuala Britton, Lizzie Lee, Ava Hutchinson, Linda Byrne, Sara Treacy, Sarah McCormack
Senior Men: Joe Sweeney, Michael Mulhare, Sean Hehir, Brian Maher, David Rooney, Brendan O’Neill
U23 Women: Una Britton, Laura Behan
U23 Men: Chris Johnston, Dave Fitzmaurice, Patrick Hogan, Sam Mealy, John Travers, Shane Quinn
Junior Girls: Siofra Clerigh Buttner, Linda Conroy, Mary Mulhare, Claire McCarthy, Sara Collins, Mary Ann O’Sullivan
Junior Men: Stephan Kerr, Ian Guiden, Sean Tobin, Killian Mooney, Eoghan Totten

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