Fionnuala McCormack takes 4th at European Cross Country Championships

Fionnuala McCormack takes 4th at European Cross Country Championships
Grace Fisher
Grace Fisher

Fionnuala McCormack (Kilcoole AC) produced one of the all-time great Irish performances to finish fourth in the senior women’s race at the SPAR European Cross Country Championships in Brussels this afternoon (Dec 10th).

Competing at her 18th European Cross Country Championships, the context of McCormack’s result was made all the more impressive in that only last weekend she secured the qualifying time for her fifth Olympics at the Valencia Marathon, less than six months after giving birth to her third child.

Speaking after the race, McCormack, who finished in fourth place for the fifth time at these championships said: “It’s hard to sum it up. It’s never easy to come fourth and I’ve done it so many times at this stage and I really wanted to be on that podium again so I’m going to have to come back again now.”

McCormack continued: “You want to get on the podium so it’s a bit disappointing, but it was great to be in contention and to be chasing down the medals. The support out there was unbelievable, and it was a great race to be a part of. I had in my mind that I really wanted to do this, and my preparations were the same as two years ago so I was happy with my recovery and I think the race went pretty well.”

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The senior women’s medals went the way of Karoline Bjerkeli Grovdl (NOR) 33:40, Nadia Battocletti (ITA) 34:25, and Abbie Donnelly (GBR) 34:42, with McCormack crossing the finish line 18 seconds behind the leading trio over the new 9,000m distance.

The women’s U20 team finished fifth overall with standout performances from Anna Gardiner (East Down AC) in eighth and Kirsty Maher (Moy Valley) in twelfth, while the U23 team finished eighth, with one of the highlights of the day being the brilliant display of cross country running from national champion Danielle Donegan (Tullamore Harriers) who worked her way through the field to secure an eighth place finish.

Today’s performances continue a remarkably consistent medal-winning-run for Irish athletes at European Cross Country Championships. Ireland has won 14 medals over the last 4 editions of these championships; a stat made all the more impressive when set against the 13 medals won in the previous 25 editions.

U20 Women Race

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Individual Medals

1 725 FITZGERALD Innes GBR 6 APR 2006 18:19

2 708 THØGERSEN Sofia DEN 6 JUL 2005 18:38

3 721 LE CORRE Jade FRA 20 OCT 2005 18:49

Team Medals:

  • Great Britain & NI 22
  • Germany 34
  • Sweden 37

Irish finishing positions (Team 5th): 

  • Anna Gardiner (East Down AC) 7th
  • Kirsty Maher (Moy Valley) 12th
  • Amy Greene (Finn Valley AC) 29th
  • Hannah Kehoe (Kilkenny City Harriers) 45th
  • Maebh Richardson (Kilkenny City Harriers) 54th
  • Avril Millerick (Youghal AC) 59th

U23 Women Race (6000m)

Individual Medals:

1 828 KEITH Megan GBR 23 APR 2002 25:32

2 820 MONONEN Ilona FIN 18 DEC 2003 26:55

3 819 BLOMQVIST Nathalie FIN 20 APR 2001 27:06

Team Medals:

  • Great Britain & NI 27
  • Germany 50
  • Spain 50

Irish Finishing Positions (Team 11th):

  • Danielle Donegan (Tullamore Harriers) 8th
  • Anika Thompson (Leevale AC) 46th
  • Ava O'Connor (Tullamore Harriers) 63rd
    • Aoife Coffey (Lucan Harriers) 66th
    • Aoife O'Cuill (St Cocas) 70th
    • Eimear Maher (Dundrum South Dublin AC) 72nd

Senior Women Race

Individual Medals:

1 658 GRØVDAL Karoline Bjerkeli NOR 14 JUN 1990 33:40

2 647 BATTOCLETTI Nadia ITA 12 APR 2000 34:25

3 628 DONNELLY Abbie GBR 2 SEP 1996 34:42

Team Medals:

  • Great Britain & NI 18
  • Spain 37
  • Belgium 38

Irish Finishing Positions (Team 8th) :

  • Fionnuala McCormack (Kilcoole AC) 4th
  • Fionnuala Ross (Armagh AC) 30th
  • Fiona Everard (Bandon AC) 34th
  • Mary Mulhare (Portlaoise AC) 39th
  • Eilish Flanagan (Finn Valley AC) 44th
  • Roisin Flanagan (Finn Valley AC) 49th

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