Britton's on a treble mission

Team Ireland
European Athletics

Fionnuala Britton topped the list of names as Ireland announced their squads for Belgrade.

If it is December, it must be Fionnuala Britton time as the brilliant Irish runner looks to celebrate gold once again.

She will be chasing a hat-trick of titles at the SPAR European Cross Country Championships in Belgrade, Serbia, on Sunday 8 December.

Britton topped the names as Ireland announced their squads for Belgrade where they will send men’s and women’s senior and junior teams and a men’s under-23 team for an event which has turned Britton into a national superstar.

Once more she will be looking to bow out of the calendar year on a huge high, and this time it might have even more significance after she was forced to miss the IAAF World Championships in Moscow over the summer with illness.

Britton, 29, first took gold in Velenje in 2011 when she won over the 8km course in 25:55, beating Portugal’s Ana Dulce Felix, who was second in 26:02, and Great Britain’s Gemma Steel, who was third with 26:04.

Twelve months later in Budapest she made two visits to the top of the podium as she retained her individual crown at the head of an Irish squad which took the women’s team title.

Once more Britton beat Felix into first place, but unlike Velenje it was a much closer race with the Irishwoman winning by 0.02 in 27:45 with Adrienne Herzog, of the Netherlands, third in 27:48.

Felix will be there again to challenge Britton, who was seventh in the Cross de L’Acier in Leffrinckoucke, France, on Sunday.

She has finished third in that event in the past two years but with it being 1.5km shorter than the distance in Serbia she will thrive on the longer course.

Sarah McCormack returns from the team success of 2012 in a squad composed of Sara Treacy, Ann-Marie Larkin, Ciara Durkan and Mary Cullen, who won bronze in the 3000m at the European Athletics Indoor Championships in Turin in 2009.

The senior men’s team is Paul Pollock, Michael Mulhare, Dan Mulhare, Stephen Scullion, David McCarthy and Joe Sweeney.

The men’s under-23 team is led by Irish under-23 champion Ryan McDermott along with Shane Quinn, Jake Byrne, Kevin Dooney, Paul Robinson and John Travers.

The junior teams include 2013 European Athletics Junior Championships finalists Siofra Cleirigh Buttner and Sean Tobin.

The rest of the junior girls’ team is Meghan Ryan, Sarah Fitzpatrick, Clare McCarthy, Amy O’Donoghue and Sarah Collins, the boys’ team is Aaron Hanlon, Ruairi Finnegan, Kevin Mulcaire, Andrew Coscoran and Con Doherty.