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Morrison best of the bunch

A fifth place for Aileen Morrison proved the highlight of the European Triathlon Championships held in conjunction with the Waterways Ireland TriAthlone.

The full-time triathlete from Derry was in second place after the 1,500m swim and stayed out of trouble as part of an 18-strong 'bunch' in the 40km cycle.

For the final 10km run, Morrison moved through the pack from 13th place to fifth with a time of 1:58.52. Successfully defending her title was Switzerland's Nicola Spirig in 1:57.58.

Irish Olympian Emma Davis had started well, leaving the water just behind Morrison. She produced a powerful cycle, lying sixth at one point, but picked up a 15-second penalty for a transition infringement and faded to 26th place.

Development athlete Kerry Spearing suffered mechanical difficulties but battled on to a 31st-place finish.

Earlier in the day, Laura Casey finished strongly after being forced to change her wheel in the junior women's race.

Britain's Alistair Brownlee was so dominant in the men's race that he could afford to walk the final few metres of the 10k run.

For the Irish men there was disappointment. Bryan Keane, who had been second on the same course a year earlier, had a disastrous swim, leaving him 53rd overall. Working from the third bunch on the 40km cycle stage, he made up five places and then had a strong run to pull him up into 37th place.

He will compete in a World Cup event this weekend in Holten, Holland, and then in London a week later.

Not too far behind was James Lock, who had a solid swim, putting him 34 seconds behind the leaders. He came off the bike in 54th place and held on to that position on the 10km run. Not starting at all was Gavin Noble, who is injured.

In the junior men's race, both Irish athletes recovered after crashes. Ben Shaw finished 23rd and Russell White 47th.

In the age-group championships, Lizzie Lee, who has turned to athletics over the past year, won the over-30 women's sprint (750m swim, 20km cycle, 5km run). Other Irish winners were Conor Murphy, over 25, and Mark Nolan, over 30.