In brief: Fagan passes on Euro squad
MARTIN Fagan has passed up a place on the Irish team for the European Cross-Country Championships in Portugal on December 12, writes Cliona Foley.
Athletics Ireland confirmed yesterday that the Arizona-based Mullingar Harrier was offered a place on the team but declined to take it up because he does not feel his form is competitive enough.
They initially named two reserves on the senior men's team and have now slotted Galway's Gary Thornton into the vacancy, leaving Clare veteran Seamus Power as the sole reserve.
In the U-23 men's category, believed to be Ireland's best 'team' medal shot in Albufeira, three athletes on scholarship in America -- Cork's Ciaran O'Lionard, Waterford's David McCarthy and Dubliner David Rooney -- have all been picked to start alongside last weekend's medallists Brendan O'Neill, John Coghlan and Mick Mulhare. The latter's brother Dan is on the senior team.
Ciara Mageean was ninth in the 2009 women's junior race and, after winning a silver at world juniors and reaching the Commonwealth final since, is strongly fancied to make the podium this time.
Australia's Matt Giteau will lead an all-star line-up for the Barbarians in the MasterCard Trophy match against South Africa at Twickenham on Saturday.
It is Giteau's third appearance in four years for the Barbarians but his first as captain. Fly-half Giteau will be partnered at half-back by fellow Australian Will Genia in a starting line-up which includes six Australians and five All Blacks plus Italy's Salvatore Perugini and Martyn Williams from Wales.
Two uncapped players are also included, New Zealand No 8 Colin Bourke from the Chiefs and Western Province captain and second-row Anton van Zyl.
Time-trial world champion Fabian Cancellara has joined Tour de France runner-up Andy Schleck at the new Luxembourg pro cycling team.
The Swiss signed a three-year contract. Team manager Brian Nygaard described Cancellara and Schleck as as "one of the best teams in the sport."
"We have added one of the most significant athletes and personalities in professional cycling," Nygaard said.
Cancellara added: "I knew that the project in Luxembourg would have all the ingredients I would need to continue improving myself."