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Page last updated at 17:55 GMT, Sunday, 22 November 2009

McKillop wins Irish junior title

Paralympic gold medallist Michael McKillop on his win at the Irish Cross County Championships

Paralympic gold medallist Michael McKillop has qualified for the European Cross County Championships by winning the Irish junior Inter-Counties title.

Belfast man McKillop clinched a remarkable win in the Under-20 race on Sunday by about 50 metres from Dubliner Liam Tremble at a muddy Kilbeggan.

He matches the feat of Jason Smyth who was the first Irish Paralympian to qualify for a major able-bodied event.

Smyth competed in this year's European Under-23 track championships.

Michael McKillop
Michael McKillop was a clear winner in heavy conditions at Kilbeggan

McKillop, who has a mild form of Cerebral Palsy, will now be on the six-man Irish team for the European Championships which are to be held at Santry in Dublin on 13 December.

In Sunday's race, Cork's Ryan Creech set a fast pace early on, stretching the field.

With 1.5 kilometres to go, the leading pack was down to four and McKillop went ahead of Tremble and maintained his form on the last lap to win impressively.

Omagh Harrier Noel Collins and Finn Valley's Ian Ward will also be hoping to earn selection for the Europeans after finishing fifth and sixth behind McKillop.

Portaferry runner Ciara Mageean won the women's junior event from Laura Shaughnessy of Loughrea AC and Emma Mitchell of Banbridge AC.

Ballymena & Antrim's Eimear Black will also be hoping to earn a European spot after placing fifth in the junior women's event.

Sligo's Mary Cullen won her first senior cross country title while Meath's Andrew Ledwith clinched victory in the men's race, where Joe McAllister finished outside the top 10.

see also
McKillop aims to match Smyth feat
17 Nov 09 |  Athletics
Sprinter Smyth claims Irish title
02 Aug 09 |  Athletics
Smyth claims second Beijing gold
16 Sep 08 |  Disability Sport
Smyth wins 100m gold in Beijing
13 Sep 08 |  Disability Sport
McKillop claims gold for Ireland
10 Sep 08 |  Disability Sport
McKillop mission
03 Sep 08 |  Disability Sport

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