Two Mullingar athletes on Irish team for European Cross Country Championships
European silver-medallist Ciara Mageean (City of Lisburn AC) heads an Irish squad stacked with Olympic and European championship experience selected for the 28th edition of the SPAR European Cross Country Championships which takes place at La Mandria Park, on the outskirts of Turin, on December 11.
Mageean is joined in the squad by fellow Olympians Michelle Finn (Leevale AC), Andrew Coscoran (Star of the Sea AC), Nadia Power (Dublin City Harriers) and Sunday’s 123.ie National Senior Cross Country champion Sarah Healy (UCD AC).
Last year’s European cross country silver medallist (U23), Darragh McElhinney, (Cork) will spearhead a strong looking U23 team following his superb performance at nationals at the weekend when he claimed his first senior cross country title.
The Glengarrif star will line up alongside fellow European cross country medallist Efrem Gidey (U20 bronze in 2019), Keelan Kilrehill (Moy Valley) and Jamie Battle (Mullingar Harriers), who were both part of last year’s U23 gold-medal-winning team at Fingal-Dublin 2021.
This year’s squad also includes two of last year’s U20 silver-medal-winning team members, Nick Griggs (Mid Ulster AC) and Dean Casey (Ennis Track), who will lead out another strong Irish U20 team.
On the senior women’s team, Ann Marie McGlynn (Letterkenny AC), Roisin Flanagan (Finn Valley AC), Mary Mulhare (Portlaoise AC), and Aoibhe Richardson (Kilkenny City Harriers) join Mageean and Finn in what looks a stacked senior race where Ireland will look to better last year’s 4th place finish.
The senior men’s team also came close to medalling in 2021 (4 points off bronze) and they will look to the in-form Brian Fay (Raheny Shamrock) to provide another of his now trademark gritty displays in his bid for another European top-10 finish.
Hiko Tonosa Haso (Dundrum South Dublin) looked backed to his best at nationals on Sunday and the experienced duo can expect plenty of backup from the quality quartet of Peter Lynch (Kilkenny City Harriers), Pierre Murchan (Dublin City Harriers), Cormac Dalton (Mullingar Harriers), and Irish indoor 5,000m record holder Barry Keane (Waterford AC) who all look to be peaking at the right time.
Sunday’s national senior champions Sarah Healy (UCD AC) and Darragh McElhinney will lead the charge for the Irish U23 teams in Italy and the classy McElhinney will have eyes on the medals once again.
The men’s U23 race looks to have plenty of depth throughout, however, so it will have to be another career best from the UCD athlete to get among the podium places. A strong team showing can be expected and McElhinney is sure to have Gidey and Kilrehill for company as the race hots up.
Irish fans can expect to see Jamie Battle (Mullingar Harriers), Thomas McStay (Galway City Harriers), and Shay McEvoy (Kilkenny City Harriers) all staying on at the finish.
The women’s U23 won’t be found lacking for championships experience and Danielle Donegan (UCD AC), Laura Mooney (Tullamore Harriers), Aoife Ó’Cuill (St Coca’s AC), and Jodie McCann (Dublin City Harriers) will work together in a bid to back up an attempt from Sarah Healy to better her excellent 5th place finish from Final-Dublin last December. Niamh O’Mahoney (An Ríocht AC) makes her championship debut following an excellent 2022 season.
The men’s U20 team looks particularly strong and recent rivals Griggs and Casey are expected go with the leading pack from the gun. Jonas Stafford (Ashford AC) looked in the form of his life in taking the bronze medal in the U20 race in Rosapenna at the weekend, while Sean McGinley (Finn Valley), Callum Morgan (St Malachy’s AC), and Mark Hanrahan (Ennis Track) should head into December 11 full of confidence given recent performances.
Anika Thompson (Leevale AC) made the long trip from Oregon to Donegal at the weekend all the more worthwhile in taking the U20 women’s title impressively. Thompson will head an exciting women’s U20 team, including Roise Roberts (North Belfast Harriers) and Jane Buckley (Leevale AC) back for another bite at the European U20 race following encouraging performances at the grade last year.
Anna Gardiner (East Down AC), Hannah Kehoe (Kilkenny City Harriers), and Fiona Hawkins (Dublin City Harriers) complete another young and exciting team.
The mixed relay team will have no shortage of speed or experience with Olympians Andrew Coscoran (Star of the Sea) and Nadia Power (Dublin City Harriers) joining 1,000m record holders (indoor) Georgie Hartigan (Dundrum South Dublin) and Luke McCann (Dublin City Harriers) as they each look to master the 1500m lap.
Athletics Ireland, National Endurance Co-ordinator, Matt Lockett said: “We must acknowledge the outstanding work from athletes to put themselves in contention for selection for these championships. The depth in cross country running at present is fabulous to see, and is a testament to the work of coaches and athletes.
“We enjoyed a superb home European cross country championships in Dublin last December and we are in no doubt those who have been selected are primed to take on the best in Europe on December 11 once again.”
The SPAR European Cross Country Championships is one of the main seasonal appointments of the European Athletics calendar and is hosted by Italy for the fourth time after the editions of Ferrara in 1998, San Giorgio su Legnano in 2006 and Chia in 2016. Piemonte 2022 follows the edition of Fingal-Dublin last December, when Ireland claimed three medals (two team and one individual), topped off with team gold in the men’s Under-23 race.
Event; Name; Club; Coach
Senior Men, Hiko Tonosa Haso, Dundrum South Dublin, Feidhlim Kelly
Senior Men, Peter Lynch, Kilkenny City Harriers, Taylor Gulley
Senior Men, Pierre Murchan, Dublin City Harriers, Mary McKenna
Senior Men, Brian Fay, Raheny Shamrocks, Andy Powell
Senior Men, Cormac Dalton, Mullingar Harriers, Taylor Gulley
Senior Men, Barry Keane, Waterford AC, Matt Roe
Senior Women, Ciara Mageean, City of Lisburn, Helen Clitheroe
Senior Women, Michelle Finn, Leevale AC, Feidhlim Kelly
Senior Women, Ann Marie McGlynn, Letterkenny AC, Emmett Dunleavy
Senior Women, Mary Mulhare, Portlaoise AC, Michael Mulhare
Senior Women, Aoibhe Richardson, Kilkenny City Harriers, Julia Lucas
Senior Women, Roisin Flanagan, Finn Valley AC, Damon Martin
U23 Men, Darragh McElhinney, UCD AC, Emmett Dunleavy
U23 Men, Efrem Gidey, Clonliffe Harriers, Peter McDermott
U23 Men, Keelan Kilrehill, Sligo AC, Emmett Dunleavy
U23 Men, Jamie Battle, Mullingar Harriers, Joe Ryan
U23 Men, Thomas McStay, Galway City Harriers, Matt lockett
U23 Men, Shay McEvoy, Kilkenny City Harriers, Taylor Gulley
U23 Women, Sarah Healy, UCD AC, Eoghan Marnell
U23 Women, Danielle Donegan, UCD AC, Emmett Dunleavy
U23 Women, Laura Mooney, Tullamore Harriers, Ray Treacy
U23 Women, Aoife Ó’Cuill, St Coca’s AC, Joe Ryan
U23 Women, Jodie McCann, Dublin City Harriers, Clark McCann
U23 Women, Niamh O’Mahoney, An Ríocht AC, Ray Treacy
U20 Men, Nicholas Griggs, Mid Ulster AC, Mark Kirk
U20 Men, Dean Casey, Ennis Track AC, Pat Hogan
U20 Men, Jonas Stafford, Ashford AC, Feidhlim Kelly
U20 Men, Mark Hanrahan, Ennis Track AC, Pat Hogan
U20 Men, Callum Morgan, St. Malachy’s AC, Mark Kirk
U20 Men, Sean McGinley, Finn Valley AC, John Rogan
U20 Women, Anika Thompson, Leevale AC, Ken Nason and Shalane Flanagan
U20 Women, Anna Gardiner, East Down AC, Peter Morgan
U20 Women, Róise Roberts, North Belfast Harriers, Jim McGuinness and Joe Ryan
U20 Women, Hannah Kehoe, Kilkenny City Harriers, Niamh Richardson
U20 Women, Jane Buckley, Leevale AC , Ray Treacy
U20 Women, Fiona Hawkins, Dublin City Harriers, Damon Martin
Mixed Relay, Andrew Coscoran, Star of the Sea AC, Feidhlim Kelly, Mixed Relay, Luke McCann, Dublin City Harriers, Thomas Dreißigacker and Clark McCann
Mixed Relay, Georgie Hartigan, Dundrum South Dublin, Bev Hartigan
Mixed Relay, Nadia Power, Dublin City Harriers, Matt Yates.
Athletics Ireland would like to congratulate all of our athletes and their coaches who have been selected for the SPAR European Cross Country Championships on December 11th. We are very proud of you all and look forward to cheering you on as you represent us once more., We must also acknowledge the great work and effort our members, coaches, volunteers, and the wider athletics community has put in to support our athletes in attaining selection for these championships. We all look forward to roaring on #TeamGreen as the first races commence on December 11.
Cormac Dalton (left) in action at the European Cross Country in 2019.
Jamie Battle – Celtic Cross Country U23 individual gold and Ireland team gold.