AFTER her strong performance at the Antrim International, Fionnuala Britton is aiming to make it a hat-trick of victories at Saturday's Edinburgh International Cross-Country.
Last year, Britton, fresh from her second victory at the European Championships, held on to win on the rolling hills of Holyrood Park despite a fall 800 metres from the finish line.
She faces a stronger field this year, led by European champion Sophie Duarte of France, who is the form athlete. Also lining out is the Ethiopian Almensch Belete, who runs under Belgian colours and finished two seconds ahead of Britton for third place in Antrim.
Portugal's Ana Dulce Félix, one of the great fighters in the sport, and a British team led by Gemma Steel and Charlotte Purdue, fifth and sixth behind Britton in Antrim, are also entered.
In Antrim, other encouraging runs came from Sarah Treacy, who finished ninth, and from newly crowned national novice champion Michelle McGee, who was just eight seconds behind Treacy in 11th place.
First home in the U23 Celtic Challenge race was Raheny's Maria O'Sullivan, who finished five seconds and one place behind McGee.
Michael Mulhare of Portlaoise was first for Ireland in the men's race, finishing seventh, just one place behind behind Britain's Andy Vernon, who was sixth and first European. Inter-county champion Paul Pollock was ninth and Raheny's Mick Clohisey 11th.
Clonliffe's Aaron Hanlon won the men's junior/U17 race, with Andrew Coscoran of Star of the Sea fourth behind two Scottish athletes. Clonliffe finished second of the U20 club teams and won the U17 title, led home by Adam O'Brien.
St Laurence O'Toole's Siobhra O'Flaherty won the women's junior and U17 race by over half a minute, leading Ireland to Celtic W17 victory.
Leinster athletes dominated the boys' U15 race with Patrick Shaw the winner from Shercock's Darragh Drury and Alex Hunter from Ratoath. Leinster Athletics were easy winners of the team medals ahead of St Michael's Enniskillen.
Elsewhere, St Anne's Park Raheny is the venue on Sunday for the Dublin Masters' Cross-Country, one of the best supported cross-country races of the year.