Saturday 3 December 2016

McCormack's title claim is boosted by strong outing

Cathal Dennehy

Published 14/11/2016 | 02:30

McCormack clocked 25:26, bringing her home almost a minute clear of closest pursuer. Photo by Sam Barnes/Sportsfile
McCormack clocked 25:26, bringing her home almost a minute clear of closest pursuer. Photo by Sam Barnes/Sportsfile

Fionnuala McCormack underlined her title claims at next month's European Cross- Country Championships title by finishing fifth in a world-class field at the Cross International de Atapuerca International in Spain yesterday.

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The two-time former champion was the first European home in a race dominated by East Africans, with Ethiopia's Senbere Teferi taking victory in 24:48. McCormack clocked 25:26, bringing her home almost a minute clear of closest pursuer Sofia Ennaoui of Poland.

Next up for the 32-year-old will be the National Cross-Country Championships in Abbotstown in two weeks, though her sights will be trained on the Europeans in Chia, Italy, on December 11, when McCormack will hope to reclaim the title she last won in 2012.

Elsewhere, a number of Irish impressed on the US collegiate scene over the weekend. Chief among them was Sarah Collins, who helped Ray Treacy's Providence Friars to victory in the North East region by finishing fourth. Ballina's Hugh Armstrong finished 13th in the men's race to help Providence to fourth place.

Clonmel native Sean Tobin helped Mississippi to the team title in the South Region, finishing 10th individually, while Dublin's Síófra Cléirigh-Buttner helped Villanova to second in the Mid-Atlantic Regional with a seventh-place finish. All will be in action at this week's NCAA Cross Country Championships in Indiana.

At the Irish Schools Combined Events Championships in Athlone, Daniel Ryan took his fifth title, winning the senior boys' event with a tally of 3725 points. Anna McCauley won the senior girls' title with 3573.points from Ruby Millet's 3515.

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