It was a great team performance: Tobin
IRELAND'S senior men's team headed excellent performances by the Irish teams at the European Cross Country Championships in Samorin, Slovakia with a fifth place finish yesterday.
With three to score, Seán Tobin (Clonmel) worked well with Hugh Armstrong (Ballina) and Kevin Maunsell (Clonmel) as they came in 15th, 19th and 24th over the 10km distance.
"It was a great team effort," said Tobin afterwards with Paul Pollock (Annadale Striders) 48th, Kevin Dooney (Raheny Shamrock) 51st and John Travers (Donore Harriers) 72nd.
It was a tremendous performance by the men with the three scores all making their senior debuts - Tobin and Armstrong are 23 with Maunsell an ageless 36. The senior men were only two points off France in fourth.
Fionnuala McCormack (Kilcoole) was making a record-breaking 15th appearance at these championships but she had to settle for a 12th place finish over 8km in the senior women's race.
"Obviously I would have liked to have finished higher but I will be back and hope to get back in the mix. I just couldn't get into it today at the top even though I gave my best throughout," she said.
The Irish women's team finished seventh with Shona Heaslip (An Riocht) 33rd and Kerry O'Flaherty (Newcastle) 37th rounding out the scorers. Michelle Finn (Leevale) in 40th, Fionnuala Ross (Armagh) in 47th and Lizzie Lee (Leevale) in 49th rounded out the team.
The weather was extremely cold with a wind chill factor to boot on a fast course that had plenty of twists and turns along with some man made obstacles.
There was a very positive start to the day with Sophie Murphy (DSD) finishing 10th in the U20 women's 4km race and leading the team to seventh overall out of 20 teams. She was followed home by Stephanie Cotter (West Muskerry) in 27th, Jodie McCann (DSD) in 34th, Laura Nicholson (Bandon) in 39th, Fiona Everard (Bandon) in 62nd and Fian Sweeney (DCH) in 72nd.
Up next were the U20 men, who finished tenth, over 6km and they were lead home by Fearghal Curtin (Youghal) in 22nd, followed by Craig McMeechan (North Down) in 37th, James Edgar (City of Lisburn) in 38th, Darragh McElhinney (Bantry) in 39th, Charlie O'Donovan (Leevale) in 41st and Brian Fay (Raheny) in 49th.
Bethanie Murray (DSD) was the sole Irish representative in the U23 women's 6km race and she ran well to finish 38th.
In the men's U23 8km race with Eoin Strutt (Raheny Shamrock) 49th and Tom O'Keeffe (Kilkenny City Harriers) 60th.