Valiant Britton can't crack Steel in Edinburgh
Fionnuala Britton's new-found rivalry with Gemma Steel continued apace when the Englishwoman beat her at the BUPA Great Edinburgh Cross Country on Saturday after a great race.
The Wicklow runner, who finished ahead of the European silver medallist in Antrim a week earlier, made a brave attempt at holding onto the title she had won for the past two seasons by forcing the pace early on.
But she never managed to shake off Steel or Britain's European junior champion Emilia Gorecka, whose impressive senior debut has seen her compared to Paula Radcliffe.
The two Britons broke away at the start of the final lap but Britton overtook Gorecka on the final climb to finish second, nine seconds adrift of Steel, who won in 20:51.
European champion Sophie Duarte only finished fourth and was never in contention. Ireland's Sarah Treacy (Moynalvey AC) finished 22nd in 21.39.
Portlaoise's Michael Mulhare continued his great progress under Britton's coach Chris Jones with an impressive fifth place in the senior men's 8km, leading the chasing group throughout after an. he and finished second of the European team.
The race was won by America's Chris Derrick (24.11), ahead of Britain's Andy Vernon (24.21) and Belgium's Bashir Abdi (24.27), with America's Bobby Mack (24.28) just ahead of Mulhare (24.32). David McCarthy was 11th in 24.49.
Kenenisa Bekele could only manage fifth in the men's 4km race won by the USA's Garrett Heath. Ireland's Stephen Scullion was 10th.
Elsewhere Kilkenny City Harriers' Michael Bowler retained his Irish Indoor combined title with 3,528 points ahead of Star of the Sea's Kourosh Foroughi (3,390) and Eoin Kelly (St Abban's, 3,263).
The women's title all hung on the 800m where Lagan Valley's Laura Frey secured the overall with 2,869 points ahead of Bohermeen's Karen Dunne (2,821).
In the junior women there was another great tussle between Mid-Sutton's Sarah McCarthy and Belgooly's Grace McKenzie which the Dubliner won with 3,572 from McKenzie's 3,372 and Mark Rogers (St Peters) ran away with the junior men's on 3,175 points.