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Historic win for Irish U-23s in Portugal

Ireland’s young athletes took top honours in Portugal.

The Irish Men's U23 team of, David Rooney, Michael Mulhare, Brendan O'Neill and David McCarthy celebrate winning gold with coach Anne Keenan-Buckley.
The Irish Men's U23 team of, David Rooney, Michael Mulhare, Brendan O'Neill and David McCarthy celebrate winning gold with coach Anne Keenan-Buckley.
Image: INPHO/Morgan Treacy

THE IRISH QUARTET took an historic gold at the European U-23 Cross Country Championships in Albufeira, Portugal over the weekend.

David McCarthy (11th), Brendan O Neill (13th), Michael Mulhaire (16th) and David Rooney (20th) ensured Ireland finished ahead of France and Spain to earn a wonderful victory.

Waterford native David McCarthy told the Irish Times:

We had high expectations coming into the event and we were hoping for a win.

I’ve been struggling with stomach cramps ever since I got of the plane from America. But I knew we had a strong team and when I saw what was happening behind (with his Irish team mates), I just put the head down and it’s great to come away with a team win.

And the Providence college athlete told  Des Cahill on RTE’s Morning Ireland this morning that it had been a long night of celebration in Portugal.

Not a minute of sleep, the eyes are falling out of my head at the minute. But great celebrations last night and just over the moon with the performance the team had.

I’ve been on European cross teams for a few years but this  is the first year that there was mood in the team that a little different – without getting ahead of ourselves, we felt confident.

We just felt it was going to happen and it did. We just brought it together. And like I always said, myself and the boys felt more like clubmates than anything.

We’re just a great group of friends as well.

And McCarthy admitted those cramps in his abdomen hampered his progress over the weekend:

I’m back home a week now and since then I have this weird cutting pain across my guy. I haven’t a clue what it is.

And it was kind of annoying because any time you’re trying to pick yourself up, this pain hits you and takes you down.

It was disappointing as regards the individual medals – I was coming over here to win a medal and I was disappointed that didn’t happen.

But I’ll be honest any second, third or fourth would not compare with the team result.

Finnoula Britton finished fourth in the women’s senior race won by Portugal’s Jessica Agusto. The Irish men’s junior team finished fifth.

Listen to Des Cahill’s full interview with David McCarthy here

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