The Clonmel athlete impresses in Tilburg as the Irish senior men’s team finish seventh.

Sean Tobin ran a gutsy race to work his way through the field and finish 10th in the senior men’s race at the European Cross Country Championships in Tilburg on Sunday (December 9).

After the earlier races, the muddy course became increasingly torn up in the rainy conditions, but Tobin, who finished 15th last year in Samorin, battled through to take the honours of the leading Irish senior athlete at the continental championships.

After the first 1500m lap, Tobin and Kevin Dooney were together in about 25th place with Kevin Maunsell not far off the pace.

As the race progressed and the soft underfoot took its toll, Tobin moved through the field, picking his way through the mud and staying out of trouble. By 3000m, he was lying in 17th, with Dooney 22nd and Maunsell 37th. At halfway, Tobin was 12th, with Dooney 25th and Maunsell 41st.

Tobin continued to pick off the runners in front of him and was in 11th place at the bell, with just 1300m to go.

The Clonmel athlete made up one further place on the final lap, finishing 10th – an improvement of five places on 2017. His time of 29:22 meant he was just over half a minute behind race winner Filip Ingebrigsten of Norway, who broke the four-year Turkish winning streak when he crossed the line for victory in 28:49.

Belgium’s Isaac Kimeli took silver and Turkey’s Aras Kaya bronze.

Irish national champion Dooney, who has been sharing his journey this year on Fast Running, was next across the line for Ireland in 26th place to vastly improve on his 51st placing 12 months ago.

Photo: Andy Peat

Maunsell finished 34th to complete the scoring three athletes and secure seventh place overall for the Irish team.

It is a good step forward,” said Tobin afterwards. “Coming off nationals I was quite tired and made the most of my recovery in the last two weeks.

“I came out and had a solid performance. I was always trying to be conservative and not push too hard of the bends or slow down too much. It was a solid performance, we’ll take it for now and keep moving forward.”

Kevin Batt was next in 55th place, followed by Irish marathon champion Mick Clohisey in 67th and Damien Landers in 78th place.

In the senior women’s race, Sara Treacy was the first Irish athlete across the finish line in 26th place as Kenyan-born Yasemin Can of Turkey clinched a third successive title ahead of Switzerland’s Fabienne Schlump and Karoline Bjerkeli Grøvdal of Norway.

Treacy, who was competing in her 10th European Cross Country Championships, was followed home by Irish champion Ciara Mageean in 43rd place, while Michelle Finn was 51st as the team finished 11th overall.

“I love being here I love being at this level of competition,” said Treacy. “It brings out the best in me. I race better with good competition. I just loved it out there, I really enjoy getting stuck in. There was a whole load of pain in the middle of the race but that is normal for cross country or any race.”

Ann-Marie McGlynn was the next finishing Irish athlete in 57th ahead of Fionnuala Ross in 61st and Kerry O’Flaherty in 64th.

The final event of the day was the mixed relay race with the Irish quartet of Paul Robinson, John Travers, Siofra Cleirigh Buttner and Claire Tarplee finishing ninth.

Earlier in the day, Ryan Forsyth ran an impressive race to just miss out on an individual medal, finishing fourth in the under-23 men’s event.

A report from the Sunday morning’s action, including Forsyth’s performance in the men’s under-23 race, can be found here.

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