Team Bronze for Efrem and Ireland

Efrem Gidey led Ireland to European U/23 team bronze at the European cross-country Championships in Piemonte, just outside Turin this morning. Efrem finished in 5th place.

The race was won by defending champion Charlie Hicks (GBR), who a couple of weeks back won the NCAA championship. Hicks was always at the head of affairs and was brilliantly backed up by teammate Zak Mahamed, who as a matter of interest competed in the 5000 this year’s Morton Games, as the British team dominated to take gold.

Efrem took it cautiously at the start as the leaders set a frantic pace from the word go, Efrem worked his way through nicely and at one stage got himself on the back of the lead group but the sharp hills certainly hurt both Efrem and national cross country champion Darragh McElhinney in particular, as clearly off form McElhinney struggle from here on. Efrem battled back and finished an excellent 5th place. Next Irish score was Keelan Kilrehill in an excellent 9th with Shay McEvoy completing the scoring 3 in 15th. The other Irish places were McElhinney 26th, Jamie Battle 55th and Thomas McStay 63rd.

Team gold was taken by Great Britain, France took silver with Ireland taking bronze.

Earlier in the men’s U/20 race there were magnificent performances by Nick Griggs (Mid Ulster) in taking 2nd, only caught on the line, and Dean Casey (Ennis TC) 3rd as Ireland took U/20 silver.

Unfortunately flight cancellations meant that many of the Clonliffe supporters never made it to Turin. Not so Gerry Cullen and Jenny Johnson who bussed it to Cork, flew to Milan and then caught the train to Turin. Pretty much a “Planes, trains and automobiles” reenactment!

A fantastic performance by the Irish senior women saw them take brilliant, and unexpected, bronze with a scoring trio of Eilish and Roisin Flanagan and Mary Mulhare.