Cross Country

Jones reflects on Britton’s facile win in Antwerp

Fionnuala Britton ensured her selection for the European Cross
Country Championships yesterday with a comfortable victory at the Lotto
Cross Cup in Antwerp, Belgium.

National endurance coach Chris Jones, and personal coach to Britton, described her run as a “solid performance.”

A team of Irish athletes travelled to Antwerp with the opportunity to
gain pre-selection for the European Cross Country Championships in
Serbia, Belgrade on December 8 if they could achieve a top 8 placing –
only one individual per category. 

“Fionnuala had a solid performance,” said Jones. “She was told to do a hard workout. We’re delighted with that.

“We’d
liked to have had a higher quality field. The field wasn’t as strong as
we’d expected. That was a little disappointing but it was still an
international race.”

Conditions were difficult on a sandy surface but the light-footed
Britton had no difficulties in running to victory. Sara Treacy was the
best of the rest in fourth.  

“I think she’s strong,” continued
Jones on Britton’s current form. “She’s very conditioned and probably needs some
quality sessions and definitely a quality race prior to the Europeans.”

West Waterford’s David McCarthy was best of the senior men with a
solid fourth place finish and thus also securing pre-selection for the
Europeans.

 “I think in general it was always going to be mixed (the results) with the surface,” said Jones of the course that is predominantly on a man-made beach with some breaks into a forest. 

“Sara Treacy behind her in fourth was good. And the other girls coming into an international race  were good  as well. It’s part of the process – all part of the building.

 “On the men’s side of things we had two good  runs there with David McCarthy six seconds off second place. And Mark Hanrahan showing some strength in 10th place.

“Then the  rest of  the guys were a little bit  disappointing  in dealing with the surface but you cant be too critical. Some can and some can’t run on that type of surface. You’ve got  to accept it.

“You see some people  running really well on Gerry Farnan  and  then  not running well on that course. There’s probably a lesson learned there today, who should go and who shouldn’t go.

 “Siofra Cleirigh Buttner had a brilliant run. The junior boys were good with Aaron Hanlon and Con Doherty. Add in Sean Tobin and that junior team is good.”

The county championships  also took place yesterday with some of  the  most notable  victories  being Lizzie Lee (Leevale) in Cork, John Travers (Donore) in Dublin and the return of Gary Murray (St Malachy’s) in Donegal.  

The Dublin Cross  Country Championships which were held in St Anne’s  Park in Raheny had a sparse attendance but there was  decent racing with Travers edging Stephen Scullion (Clonliffe) and Sarah Mulligan (DSD) overcoming Aoife Talty (Raheny) in the women’s.

Fionnualla Britton
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Feidhlim Kelly

Feidhlim Kelly

Con Houlihan once told me that tomorrow is now. In taking on this venture I’ve started to try and put his words into action.

I worked for Con from 2007 till his passing in 2012 taking down his copy and a whole lot more. I have a Con Houlihan section which will go in to more depth on that.

I’m a long-time contributor to the Irish Runner magazine and am also working for the Irish Examiner.

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