Fionnuala Britton has been named The Irish Times/Irish Sports Council Sportswoman of the Month for December following her impressive performance in the senior race at the European Cross Country Championships in Portugal

Britton came agonisingly close to winning a medal in the Algarve, finishing fourth, but given the same time as the runner in third place.

Frustrating as the outcome was, it was a hugely encouraging performance from Britton who suffered a loss of form and confidence after her early successes.

Although she narrowly missed out on a medal in Portugal, Britton was further heartened by her run a week later at an IAAF Cross Cup event in Belgium where she came second.

She was two seconds behind the winner, Kenya’s Caroline Chepkwony, beating two of the women who finished ahead of her in the Europeans – Jessica Augusto and Dulce Felix.

Britton is currently in South Africa for three weeks of high-altitude training in preparation for her next big target, the World Cross Country Championships in March.