European Cross Country: O'Flaherty, Mageean and Pollock named in Ireland team

Ciara Mageean reached the 1500m semi-finals at the Rio Olympics
Ciara Mageean's 1500m clocking of 4:01.46 left her 12th in the end-of-season world rankings

County Down athletes Kerry O'Flaherty, Ciara Mageean and Paul Pollock have been named on the Ireland team for next month's European Cross Country Championships in Sardinia.

O'Flaherty and Mageean booked their spots in Chia on 11 December by finishing second and third at Sunday's Irish Championships in Dublin.

Pollock's fifth in Sunday's men's race was enough to secure his spot.

Fionnuala McCormack will be Ireland's main hope for individual glory.

The 2011 and 2012 champion looked to be in excellent form judging by her victory at the IAAF permit meeting in Alcobendas in Spain on Sunday.

Paul Pollock on Twitter
Paul Pollock's reaction to his fifth place Abbotstown

With other Rio Olympians Mageean, O'Flaherty and Michelle Finn also in the team along with Sunday's surprise winner Shona Heaslip, the Irish women will be hopeful of earning another team medal after their bronze 12 months ago.

Pollock didn't appear quite at his best as he finished behind winner Mark Christie, Mick Clohisey, Mark Hanrahan and Liam Brady at Abbotstown.

A week earlier, Pollock had raced in the Delhi Half Marathon in India in markedly different conditions to the mud in Dublin.

Clohisey's Raheny team-mate Kevin Dooney will complete the six-man Irish senior men's team while the women's senior selection includes Kerry woman Heaslip's An Riocht team-mate Laura Crowe.


Senior Men: Mark Christie (Mullingar), Mick Clohisey (Raheny), Mark Hanrahan (Leevale), Liam Brady (Tullamore Harriers), Paul Pollock (Annadale), Kevin Dooney (Raheny)

Senior Women: Shona Heaslip (An Riocht), Kerry O'Flaherty (Newcastle), Ciara Mageean (UCD), Fionnuala McCormack (Kilcoole), Laura Crowe (An Riocht), Michelle Finn (Leevale)

U23 Men: Karl Fitzmaurice (Ennis), Mitchell Byrne (Rathfarnham)

U23 Women: Bethanie Murray (DSD), Amy O'Donoghue (Emerald)

Junior Men: Jack O'Leary (Mullingar), Peter Lynch (Kilkenny), Darragh McElhinney (Bantry), Fearghal Curtain (Youghal), Barry Keane (Waterford), Charlie O'Donovan (Leevale)

Junior Women: Sophie Murphy (DSD), Amy Rose Farrell (Blackrock), Emma O'Brien (Inbhear Dee/Sli Cualann), Carla Sweeney (WSAF), Jodie McCann (DSD), Aisling Joyce (Claremorris)

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