European XC 2021 (12th Dec)
Mullingar athletes play their part at memorable European Cross Country
Postponed from 2020 due to the Covid pandemic, the European Cross Country Championships finally rolled in to the Sport Ireland Campus in Abbottstown, Co. Dublin on Sunday 12th December and before a sell-out crowd in a thrilling day of competition, Ireland won three medals, two team (u/20 men silver, u/23 men gold) and one individual (Darragh McElhinney, silver), on an historic occasion for Irish athletics. Buoyed up by the enthusiastic vocal home support, the Irish athletes rose to the occasion and with fantastic performances from the first race to the last, Ireland finished third Country overall on the points table behind Great Britain and France and fifth Country overall on the medal table. Playing a valuable part in the memorable day was two of Mullingar’s finest athletes – Jamie Battle and Cormac Dalton.
Jamie Battle was a late call up for the u/23 men team but having missed a team medal on count back in the under 20 race in Lisbon in 2019, he was determined to make amends this year. Competing with great determination over the tough 8,000m course he put in a strong performance to finish fifth man for the Ireland team that placed first in great style and Jamie was absolutely delighted to receive a European gold team medal for his efforts.
Jacob Ingebrigsten of Norway was the big ticket attraction and red hot favourite in the senior men 10,000m race and he didn’t disappoint with a memorable performance to win the European senior title with ease. Cormac Dalton was part of a strong Irish team and negotiating the tough mucky course with his customary determination and drawing on his growing International experience ran an absolutely brilliant race to finish in a fantastic twenty eighth place, the third finisher for Ireland, helping the team to an excellent fourth place behind France, Spain and Norway, only four points away from the bronze medals. Very well done to Jamie and Cormac on their excellent performances for Ireland, helping to make the day so memorable for Ireland.
Hosting an event like this was a massive undertaking for Athletics Ireland and required significant time and energy from every quarter to make it such a success. Mullingar was happy to help play its part behind the scenes, with Joe Ryan as the junior team coach, and the 400-strong army of volunteers included Catriona Duffy, Greg Duggan, Margaret Daly and Aisling Lane who were part of the call room team.