The Irish senior women claimed a superb bronze team medal at the European Cross Country Championships in Turin this afternoon.
The unlikely medal was secured after excellent performances from Eilish Flanagan (Finn Valley AC), Roisin Flanagan (Finn Valley AC), Mary Mulhare (Portlaoise AC), Ann-Marie McGlynn (Letterkenny AC), Aoibhe Richardson (Kilkenny City Harriers) and Michelle Finn (Leevale AC).
In the absence of Fionnuala McCormack and Ciara Mageean the Irish wouldn’t have been expected to medal but the athletes stepped up when it mattered most.
Both Flanagan twins crossed the line side-by-side, with Eilish finishing eleventh and Roisin twelfth. Mulhare also broke into the top thirty, finishing 27th. McGlynn crossed the line in 31st, while Richardson was 46th and Finn came 55th.
The medal marks a return to the podium at these championships for the Irish team after last making it in Lisbon back in 2019.
“We can’t really not be happy with a medal,” Roisin said after the race.
“On a course like that it was definitely tough but knowing that we were in with a chance of a medal made us run a little bit tougher and we’re extremely happy.”
“It was definitely reassuring, looking beside me or behind me and always seeing Roisin throughout the entire race. I couldn’t fall back knowing that she was right beside me,” said Eilish.
There was an excellent mood in the Irish camp before the senior races got going with four medals already secured, inspiring the Irish women to perform.
“The team atmosphere is great, it’s always great at Euro Cross,” Eilish said.
“The boys this morning really got the ball rolling and we just all thrive off of each other.
“We came in here not really expecting a medal because we were without Fionnuala, and Ciara had to drop out.
“We didn’t have that guaranteed low stick, so to pull it off means a lot.”
There was glorious scenes when the team results were announced. Richardson put her hand over her mouth in shock, while McGlynn couldn’t quiet believe the news, ran over to confirm it with Irish supporters before jumping for joy.
Today’s medal is the fifth time in eleven years that the Irish senior women have claimed a medal at these championships, a remarkable record of consistency which will hopefully continue next year when the championships head to Brussels.
For now the super six can enjoy the celebrations tonight!