ATHLETICS IRELAND'S selection dilemma for this weekend's European Indoor Championships in Sweden has been solved by David McCarthy's withdrawal.
The West Waterford athlete has been forced to pull out at the eleventh hour with a combination of flu, laryngitis and an ear infection.
Four Irishmen, including McCarthy, had qualified at 3,000m, with only three places available, so McCarthy's withdrawal clears the way for Clonliffe's John Travers and North Belfast's Stephen Scullion to join Leevale Olympian Ciaran O'Lionaird in the event.
"I'm devastated I can't compete but I haven't been able to run since the weekend before last. I am still on antibiotics so I just wouldn't have done justice to the training I've done," said McCarthy, who qualified at both 1500m and 3,000m.
The Waterford runner graduated from Providence College last summer but is still trained by their director of track and cross country operations Ray Treacy and was competing in America up to recently.
Ireland will still have a substantial team of 11 athletes in Gothenburg, led by Clonliffe's Brian Gregan, O'Lionaird and his Leevale team-mate Derval O'Rourke and Kilcoole's Fionnuala Britton.
Gregan is ranked first in Europe over 400m this year and O'Lionard tops the 1500m rankings but has opted for 3,000m, where he is a serious medal contender.
Former world indoor champion and three-time European medallist O'Rourke is a proven championship performer.
Cross-country has been Britton's forte, but she has made great progress on the track recently and is ranked eighth in the 3,000m field.
The Irish team also includes City of Lisburn's Amy Foster (60m), UCD's Ciara Everard and Newbridge's Rose-Anne Galligan (both 800m), DSD's Claire Tarplee (1500m) and Finn Valley's Tori Pena (pole vault).
Letterkenny's Mark English, a world junior finalist at 800m last year, had also qualified but is not competing after choosing to concentrate on the European U-23 Championships in July.