Deirdre runs solid race as Fionnuala misses out
IRELAND UNDOUBTEDLY missed not having Fionnuala Britton for the European crosscountry championships held at the weekend in Brussels.
Fionnuala from Brittas Bay would have been one of the country’s big hopes for a medal in the women’s event but unfortunately the fall out from a stress injury in her foot keep her out of the Irish team.
As it was Mary Cullen from Sligo just missed out on a bronze medal, finishing just two seconds behind Portugal’s Ines Monteiro in fourth position, whereas Fionnuala Britton has beaten Cullen in the past and would have revelled in the soft conditions in which the race was held.
There is no question but Cullen and Fionnuala Britton would have been great support for each other as they took on a class European field and could well have encouraged each other into medal positions on the day.
Now Fionnuala, who took silver in the U-23 Europeans two years ago and seventh in the senior race in Spain last year, will take a six-week break and will concentrate on rehabilitative work as she starts her build-up to the world track and field championships in Berlin next August.
The European cross-country championships are being held in Dublin in 2009 and that will be another big target for Fionnuala next year.
Her mentor and coach Pat Diskin said that the heavy conditions would have suited Fionnuala in Brussels at the weekend. ‘Cross country is where her strengths lie and it would have been interesting to see how she would have got on.
‘I have no doubt had she been able to take part Fionnuala would have been up there mixing it with the best of them’, he said.
Deirdre Byrne from Arklow was also competing for Ireland in the women’s race.
The Arklow lady is known as a track and field specialist, a speed merchant, and the soft and heavy conditions would not have suited her style of running.
Nevertheless Deirdre Byrne ran a very solid race, finishing in a very creditable 29th position in a time of 29.18 minutes. She was the second Irish runner to breast the tape behind fourth placed Mary Cullen who clocked a time of 28.04 minutes.
Wicklow’s Tara Jameson was competing in the junior ladies race.
This was the first time for the 17-year-old to compete in an international cross-country event and she did well to finish in 54th position out of a field of 78 athletes.
She was the fifth Irish lady home in the junior event and with two more years competing at junior level ahead of her, Tara is a bright prospect for the future.
Arklow's Deirdre Byrne on her way to finishing 29th in the Senior Women's event during the 2008 European Cross Country Championships in Brussels.