Six of the best: The Irish women who won European gold
Fionnuala BrittonFirst place always sets up a strong team performance, and when the 28- year-old from Wicklow defends her individual title, running 27:45 for the 8km course, the stage is certainly set.
Finished eighth, in 28:17, a best ever finish for 26-year-old from Ballinteer, and just three months after running the Olympic Marathon in London, suddenly raises the Irish team expectations.
Had also run the Olympic Marathon in London, and a team-mate of Byrne at Dundrum South-Dublin, comes home in 20th place in 28:38, less than a minute behind Britton, and so it will all come down to the fourth and final scorer.
Now 32, has only recently been concentrating on cross country, and coached by the legendary Donie Walsh at Leevale in Cork, produces a superb run to finish 23rd in 28:42, and that’s ultimately what lands Ireland the gold medal ahead of France, even though they both end up on 52 points.
The 26-year-old English-based runner, who made a big break through this year to finish at the National Intercounties, finishes 36th in 29:22 and also gets to stand on the podium.
The youngest of the lot at only 23, and who also runs a fine race to finish 42nd in 29:45 and share in one of the great moments of Irish cross-country history.