Teams may not be sent to Turin
FURTHER doubt has been cast on Sonia O'Sullivan's participation in the World Cross Country Championship at Turin in March, by a decision of BLE's management committee.
The committee has ruled that in the event of the men's and women's squads finishing out of the top six in the European championship at Charleroi in Belgium on Sunday, Ireland will not be represented in the team events in Turin.
Individual entries may still be submitted but only for those athletes who compete in either the national inter-counties or inter-club championships.
O'Sullivan did not run in the recent inter-counties race at Killenaule and since she will be in Australia when the inter-club championship takes place in February, her chances of running as an individual in Italy, may be lost by default.
Even if Ireland enter a women's team for the world championship, there is only a remote possibility that she will opt to truncate her track programme in Australia to return to Europe.
More likely, by far, are the prospects of Catherina McKiernan competing as an individual it, as hoped, she recovers in time from an achilles tendon problem, to run in the inter-club test.
McKiernan is not yet in a position to resume training but hopes to do so within the next couple of weeks.
Irish prospects of getting among the top six countries at Charleroi have scarcely been helped by the loss of two more of the Atlanta Olympic squad, Marie and Cathy McCandless.
McMahon, who was reported to be running well in the United States, has withdrawn because of flu while McCandless is injured. The vacancies go to Una English and Louise Cavanagh, both of whom ran well at Killenaule without threatening to get among the medals.
The men's team for Belgium, has also been hit with the defection of the American-based Sean Dolman and Cormac Finnerty. Their places go to Peter Matthews and Ken Nason who were third and fourth respectively in the inter- counties race.
The news of Mark Carroll is more encouraging. After being forced to jettison his Olympic 5,000 metres challenge because of injury, he has since recovered and is now primed for a big run on Sunday.