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Sunday 4 December 2016

McCormack to make return

Fionnuala McCormack (née Britton), pictured during the SPAR Great Ireland Run, will compete in Sunday’s crosscountry event after running in the Chicago Marathon
Fionnuala McCormack (née Britton), pictured during the SPAR Great Ireland Run, will compete in Sunday’s crosscountry event after running in the Chicago Marathon

Fionnuala McCormack and Paul Pollock, who won the National Intercounty cross-country titles last year, lead the entry for Sunday's Glo Health National Interclub Cross-Country Championships, switched from its usual spring date.

The top six men and women in Sunday's races at Santry will make up the Irish team for the European Championships in France next month. Also up for selection are junior men and women.

McCormack comes into this race just a few weeks after her run at the Chicago marathon which qualifies her for next year's Olympic Games. She's done little cross-country running this season so far, but as a double European champion remains the one to beat.

Taking her on is a strong field led by Michelle Finn of Leevale, Dunboyne's Sara Treacy and Kerry O'Flaherty of Newcastle who have all qualified for the women's steeplechase at next year's Rio Olympics.

Also pencilled in is UCD's Ciara Mageean, who won the national 1500m title over the summer, but was marginally slower than Finn at last weekend's Irish University Road Relays.

Top six

Also aiming to make the top six is Letterkenny's Ann Marie Glynn, who captained the Irish women to bronze at the Europeans last December. McGlynn used last Saturday's British and Irish Masters Cross-Country as an opportunity to test out the Santry course.

Paul Pollock of Annadale has been keeping relatively quiet since making the Rio time at the Berlin Marathon despite an injury but finishing fourth of the Irish men.

He will take on Raheny's Mick Clohisey who is the form man at the moment, having won the Dublin title in style a few weeks ago.

Second that day was Clohisey's training partner Freddy Sittuk and the pair are aiming to win a first ever men's senior club title for Raheny Shamrock. Backing them up is a strong Raheny squad that includes Conor Dooney, Dave Rooney, Mark Kirwan and Cillian O'Leary.

Clonliffe Harriers, who won the men's interclubs for a 30th time in March, are led by Sergiu Ciobanu, individual winner of the 2013 race. The club can also call on Jayme Rossiter and Tudor Mircea.

A man with his eye on the main prize in Donore's John Travers who spent three weeks training with Ciobanu in Romania last month.

Others in contention could include Kevin Seawrad of St Malacy's, Kevin Maunsell of Clonmel, Conor Bradley of Derry, and Brandon Hargreaves of DSD.

Leading the entry for the junior races are defending champions Hope Saunders of Clonliffe and Kevin Mulcaire from Ennis TC.

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