DSD just shy of Euro CC podium

By Stephen Leonard

DSD Athletic Club saw their Junior Women finish fourth and their Senior Women sixth at the European Clubs Cross Country Championships in Albufeira, Portugal, on Sunday.

Junior athletes Sophie Murphy (fifth), Abbie Taylor (13th) and Jodie McCann (17th,) were involved in the top ten battle in a classy field over the opening two laps.

Maria McCambridge and Sophie Murphy 10022017

Indeed Murphy, heading into the final lap, was in contention for the gold as five athletes broke away, with Taylor some 20 metres back and McCann 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.

Turkey, however, were permitted two teams in the competition and had the advantage of picking national squads to train together in Istanbul which gave them a big advantage over smaller clubs representing their national associations.

In the end DSD were pipped for bronze medals, finishing fourth ahead of teams from Finland, Lithuania, Belgium, Spain, Switzerland, Portugal, Germany and Czech Rep.

What’s more, Murphy is the only member of the team not qualified for the next two years, giving good reason to expect this young team to challenge for the top spot in Europe.

In the Senior Women’s event, former Olympian and Dublin City Marathon winner Maria McCam-bridge (26th) set a strong pace with Laura Shaugh-nessy (31st), Sarah Mulligan (35th), Fiona Clinton (32nd) and Meghan Ryan (41st).

Despite a gritty performance, McCam-bridge was unable to finish among the top ten, which contained a Kenyan winner and an Ethiopian runner-up.

This is the last time teams will be allowed to sign up overseas athletes to boost their squads, as the ECCC has banned the practice indefinitely.

Sixth place was DSD’s best placing in this competition to date and with some talented juniors coming through, the senior team will be expecting to seriously build on this.

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