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Dublin: 7 °C Saturday 25 January, 2020

Medals aplenty on successful day for Ireland at European Cross Country Championships

Two individual bronzes and two team silvers in Lisbon.

IT WAS A hugely successful day for Team Ireland at the European Cross Country Championships in Lisbon, with plenty of medals secured. 

efrem-gidey-and-stephanie-cotter Efrem Gidey and Stephanie Cotter both landed individual bronzes for Ireland. Source: Morgan Treacy/INPHO

Efrem Gidey — on his international debut in the green singlet — and Cork’s Stephanie Cotter both landed bronze medals in the underage categories, while Ireland won two silver medals in the team events. 

Two-time champion Fionnuala McCormack fell agonisingly short in the senior women’s race, as the Wicklow star had to settle for a fourth-placed finish. 

One of Ireland’s big medal hopes, McCormack was edged out of the medal positions by Sweden’s Samrawit Mengsteab in the final kilometre. 

While Turkey’s Yasemin Can won it out and Norway’s Karoline Bjerkeli Grovdal claimed the silver medal, there was a consolation prize for McCormack and joy for the Irish as herself, Ciara Mageean (20th) and Aoibhe Richardson (17th) ensured a second-place team finish.

“Obviously not an individual finish, but a team one makes up for it all,” McCormack — whose sister, Una Britton, was also part of the team — said afterwards. “Not just our team, but all the teams over the last few hours today.”

Mageean added that it was “probably the toughest race I’ve ever ran in my life.”

Earlier, Cotter was third in the U23 women’s race to take bronze, while her team were also second in the standings. Six ran, but it was twin sisters Eilish and Roisin Flanagan whose placings counted as the team landed silver.

Earlier, Clonliffe Harriers’ Giddey sealed bronze in the men’s U20 race. 

The 19-year-old, who is originally from Eritrea and came to Ireland two years ago after time in refugee camps, finished with a time of 19.01, behind second-placed Ayetullah Aslanhan of Turkey and Norway’s Jakob Ingerbrigtsen.

“Before I was thinking that I need a top ten place,” Giddey said afterwards. “Third place… I’m so happy, I don’t believe it. That’s amazing.”

His team narrowly missed out on bronze, with the Portuguese pipping them following a recheck of results.

Elsewhere in the men’s senior race, Sean Tobin was the first of the Irish home (18th). It was his third straight top 20 at Euro Cross Country.

Before today, Ireland hadn’t won a medal at the European Cross Country Championships since 2015. They finished up with four — and fourth on the medal table.

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Emma Duffy

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