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Darragh McElhinney takes silver as Irish U23 team win gold at European Cross Country Championships

Earlier in Dublin, the Irish U20 men’s team claimed silver.

darragh-mcelhinney-micheal-power-and-darragh-mcelhinney-celebrate-after-winning-the-mens-u23-race-and-darragh-mcelhinney-placing-second-in-the-mens-u23-8000m Ireland's Darragh McElhinney celebrates with his team. Morgan Treacy / INPHO Morgan Treacy / INPHO / INPHO

DARRAGH MCELHINNEY took silver, while the Ireland team won gold in the men’s U23 race at the European Cross Country Championships in Dublin.

Cork man McElhinney produced a stunning performance, and was right in the mix across 8000m through a tough course at Abbotstown.

It was an exciting finish, with Great Britain’s Charlie Hicks coming out on top in 24:29 after leading for much of the race. McElhinney took command at times, before Ruben Querinjean made it a three-horse race in the closing stages.

McElhinney looked like he would have to settle for bronze, but a powerful finish saw him pick off Querinjean and take second in 24:33.

The UCD star spearheaded the Irish team to glory as they edged out Great Britain and Northern Ireland; Keelan Kilrehill next in in sixth, with Michael Power 13th, Donal Devane 40th, Jamie Battle 44th and Thomas Devaney 67th.

Earlier, Ireland won team silver in the men’s U20 6000m — and were just one point off gold, which GB & NI sealed. Abdel Laadjel was the highest Irish finisher in sixth, with Dean Casey and Nick Griggs in 13th and 16th respectively. Scott Fagan crossed in 21st, Sean Kay was 5oth and Cathal O’Reilly 77th.

With three medals from four races so far, the Irish record of four from Lisbon 2019 looks like it could be broken.

There was no medal joy for Sarah Healy or the U23 women. The excellent Healy finished fifth overall after a brave run, in which she was in the lead group all the way but fell just short down the home straight. The team were also fifth.

“I’m not overjoyed with it, the medals were within touching distance so that’s hard,” Healy told RTÉ Sport afterwards.

“Fifth is still really good, the girls had a really good run and it’s amazing to be here today. I told myself I wasn’t going to be crying afterwards like I was in the summer [at the Olympics] so it’s okay.”

Aoife McGreevy and Emma McEvoy were the highest Irish finishers in the women’s U20 4000m in 23rd and 24th respectively, though likewise, there was no medal joy for the team.

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