Ireland selects a team of 39 athletes for Tilburg

Sarah Healy
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Ireland's Sarah Healy has already won the 1500m and 3000m titles at the European Athletics U18 Championships in Gyor, Hungary this year

Ireland will be represented by 39 athletes at the SPAR European Cross Country Championships in the Dutch city of Tilburg on 9 December.

Fresh from victory at the Irish Championships at the National Sports Campus which will play host to the 2020 European Cross Country Championships, European 1500m fourth-placer Ciara Mageean is one of the well-known names on the Irish-bound team for Tilburg.

“I've had a really good winter and I'm looking forward to putting in a good showing at the European Cross,” said Mageean, who will contest the senior women’s 8.3km at the Beekse Bergen Safari Resort.

Mageean is part of a strong senior women’s team which also includes fellow 2016 Olympians Kerry O’Flaherty, Sara Treacy and Michelle Finn.

Ireland’s best chance of an individual medal might come in the U20 race as their team is headed by Sarah Healy, the reigning European U18 1500m and 3000m champion. Despite being classified as an U18, Healy still topped the 2018 European U20 lists in the 1500m with 4:09.25.

Healy is joined in the U20 team by Sophie O’Sullivan, who won a silver medal in the 800m on her major championships debut. Sophie is the daughter of 1998 European 5000m and 10,000m champion Sonia O’Sullivan.

Ireland will be fielding teams in all six individual event as well as a team in the mixed relay.

High Performance Director Paul McNamara said: “We’re excited about this team’s prospects for Tilburg, both in terms of making an impact here and now, but also as it’s an important stepping stone on the road to Abbottstown 2020.

“This season has demonstrated improved depth and quality in the under age categories, and as a result we’ve selected both U23 teams for the first time since 2014. Both U20 teams look strong and can certainly build on their solid showing in Slovakia last year.”