European Championships: Fionnuala Britton 10th in marathon

Fionnuala Britton
Fionnuala Britton produced a solid performance on her marathon debut

Fionnuala Britton finished 10th on her marathon debut at the European Championships in Zurich.

Britton clocked 2:31.46 which left her over six minutes behind winner France's Christelle Daunay.

City of Lisburn athlete Amy Foster helped the Ireland women's 4x100m set a new national record as they just missed out on qualifying for the final.

Foster and her team-mates clocked 43.84 which cut .09secs off the record set at the 2010 European Championships.

The Northern Irishwoman was joined by Sarah Lavin, Kelly Proper and Phil Healy in the Irish quartet.

Their team was only .04secs behind the Swedish team who were the last qualifiers for the final.

The Irish men's 4x400m broke the 12-year-old national record to qualify for Sunday's final as they secured an automatic spot with a superb third place in 3:03.57.

Hurdles star Thomas Barr brought the Irish in ahead of Belgium as they cut .16secs off the previous national record set by by the quartet of Robert Daly, Paul McKee, Antoine Burke and David McCarthy at the 2002 European Championships.

The Belgians included only one of the Borlee brothers although they did manage to earn a fastest loser's qualification spot.

Barr was joined in Saturday's quartet by Brian Gregan, Brian Murphy and Richard Morrissey.

The Irish will go into the final as sixth fastest and while a medal is likely to be beyond them they will have the target of setting another national record.

In the earlier women's marathon, Britton's team-mate Sarah Mulligan clocked 2:42.43 to finish 36th with the other Irish hopeful Barbara Sanchez 43rd in 2:43.59.

Italy's Valeria Straneo finished 13 seconds behind Daunay to take silver with Portugal's Jessica Augusto taking the bronze.

On Sunday, Northern Ireland trio Paul Pollock, Kevin Seaward and Thomas Frazer will compete in the men's marathon along with Sean Hehir.

Ireland will also have two hopefuls in the 1500m final in Ciaran O'Lionaird and Paul Robinson with the latter possibly having an outside bet for a medal after looking impressive in his semi-final heat on Friday.

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