A glorious performance was registered by D.S.D., athletes, at the European Clubs Cross Country Championships in Albufeira, Portugal, on Sunday last, with the Junior Women finishing 4th team and Senor Women 6th.
Sophie Murphy (5th), Abbie Taylor (13th) and Jodie McCann (17th,) were involved in the top ten battle, in a classy field, for the first two laps. Going out on the last lap Sophie was in contention for the gold medal, as five athletes broke away, with Abbie about 20 metres back and Jodie fighting grimly to hold on to the lead group. In the second echelon Grace Dervan (29th,) Roseanne McCullough (31st and Niamh Carey (40th ) battled every step of the way to keep the team in contention. Unfortunately, the rules allowed Turkey to have two teams in the competition, being the previous year’s winners, and they had the advantage of picking national squads to train together in Istanbul, giving them a big advantage over smaller clubs representing their national associations. When the points were totalled, we were just beaten for the bronze medals. We finished in 4th place ahead of teams from Finland, Lithuania, Belgium, Spain, Switzerland, Portugal, Germany and Czech Rep. Sophie is the only member of the team not qualified for the next two years and this young team can challenge for the top spot in Europe sooner rather than later.
In the Senior Women’s event, Maria McCambridge (26th) (Olympian and Dublin City Marathon winner,) set a strong pace with Laura Shaughnessy (31st), in the top 20, with Sarah Mulligan (35th), Fiona Clinton (32nd) and Meghan Ryan (41st) striving with might and main half way down the field, knowing that every place counts for the final score. Maria was as brave as a lion, but could not match the top ten, which contained a Kenyan winner and an Ethiopian 2nd, in what is supposed to be a European event. This is the last time these teams will be allowed to sign up overseas athletes to boost their teams, as the E.C.C.C., has banned the practice indefinitely.
Sixth place was D.S.D’s best placing in this competition to date and we can look forward, with optimism, as our junior members can join this squad in the not too distant future.
Big congratulations to our Junior and Senior Women’s teams!