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 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.