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Mageean looks to build on first title


Ciara Mageean. Pic: Sportsfile

Ciara Mageean. Pic: Sportsfile

Ciara Mageean. Pic: Sportsfile

Ireland's Ciara Mageean says she is aiming for a much improved performance in next month's European Cross Country Championships, after a disappointing return in 2016.

Mageean and Kevin Dooney will lead an Irish team of 39 at the championships on December 9 in the Dutch city of Tilburg, where hopes are high for the first Irish medals since 2015.

The last three team medals won by the Irish came in the senior women's race (in 2012, 2014 and 2015), helped by star performances from Fionnuala McCormack, though the Kilcoole athlete is missing this year after recently giving birth.

But Mageean, who claimed her first national cross country title on Sunday, is hopeful of leading this year's team with a strong showing at the event in Tilburg, the Netherlands.

"I'm feeling good and looking forward to stepping out there in an Irish vest - I'll be fighting hard," said Mageean, who ran herself to a standstill and finished 31st on her last outing in 2016.

"I went out like a bat out of hell and died in the last bit. My ambition is to go out with the same amount of ambition but not finish the race like someone who just ran an ultra (marathon)."