Deirdre runs solid race as Fion­nu­ala misses out

Bray People - - Sport - Mark KENNEDY

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.

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