Irish athletes retained their First League status at the European Team Championships in Izmir, Turkey, over the weeked.
The likes of David Gillick, Derval O’Rourke, Paul Hession and Jason Smyth had to be content with the minor placings, and yet there were a couple of narrow defeats, including Fionnuala Britton in the 5,000 metres and the women’s 4×400 metres relay.
HostsTurkey took the outright honours ahead of Greece, with both those countries promoted to the Premier Division.
Finishing positions are based on a nation’s combined points of men and women, and Ireland had mostly their women to be thankful for: Britton was involved in the best finish of the day when running Turkish runner Alemitu Bekele to within inches in a thrilling 5,000 metres, losing by less than half a second.
The women’s 4×400 metres relay looked set for victory winning race one in 3:31.25, but were overtaken by Turkey in race two.
O’Rourke finished fourth in her first 100 metres hurdles of the season, clocking 13.11 seconds, with the Norwegian Christine Vukicevic taking maximum points in 12.87. Ciara Mageean also ran well to finish fourth in the 1,500 metres in 4:27.20.
Saturday’s events were marked by another worrying run from David Gillick, who could only manage a seventh place finish in 46.95 seconds.
Paul Hession ran a seasonal best of 20.65 in the 200 metres but still had to be content with fifth place, while the women’s 4×100 metres relay team, already qualified for Daegu, dropped the baton at the first changeover.