Fionnuala Britton retains her European Cross County title

Fionnuala Britton crosses the line in Hungary

Ireland's Fionnuala Britton became the first athlete to successfully defend the women's senior title at the European Cross Country Championship as she triumphed in Budapest on Sunday.

Britton produced a classy run to win by two seconds from Portugal's Ana Dulce Felix.

The Wicklow woman's win also helped the Irish senior women clinch a surprise gold medal in the team event.

Britton won her first title in Slovenia 12 months ago.

The Irish runner clocked 27 minutes and 45 conditions in freezing conditions in Budapest on a snow-filled course.

Felix was two seconds back in the silver medal position with the Netherlands' Adrienne Herzog a further second adrift in third.

In the women's team competition, Ireland finished level on 52 points with France but the Irish took the gold medal on countback.

The Irish other finishers were Linda Byrne in eighth, Ava Hutchinson 20th, Lizzie Lee 23rd plus the non-scoring Sarah McCormack in 36th and Sara Treacy in 42nd.

Joe Sweeney's hopes of a high finish in the senior men's race were dashed as he finished in 27th - one minute and four seconds behind winner Italy's Andrea Lalli.

Top Irishman was Brendan O'Neill in 22nd with David Rooney 38th, Michael Mulhare 44th, Sean Hehir 52nd and Brian Maher 73rd.

In the junior men's race, Armagh's Stephen Kerr was the top Irish finisher in 37th - 55 seconds behind Polish winner Szymon Kulka - while Newcastle runner Eoghan Totten was a further 17 seconds back in 61st with Killian Mooney 89th and Ian Guiden 107th.

John Travers was top Irishman in the Under-23 event in 44th with Patrick Hogan 52nd, Dave Fitzmaurice 76th, Samuel Mealy 80th and Letterkenny man Christopher Johnston 86th.

In the women's Under-23 race, Laura Behan was 54th while Fionnuala Britton's sister Una was 58th.

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