It’s getting to the stage where it might be easier to list who didn’t run PBs each week, rather than those who did. Another fantastic weekend for Irish athletes reported on by Lindie Naughton.

Result of the weekend came from Andrew Corscoran of Star of the Sea AC  who ran a 1500m personal best 3 mins 35.66 secs to finish second at the Folksam Grand Prix, in Sollentuna, Sweden on Sunday (June 13).

That time was just fractionally off the 3:35 Coscoran needs to qualify on time for the Tokyo Olympics and should move him up the road to Tokyo rankings to around 44th, with 45 athletes to qualify. Race winner in 3:35.21 was William Keter of Kenya.

In the women’s 1500m, Sarah Healy of UCD AC kicked from the front for victory in a personal best time of 4:07.12. Healy is currently ranked 42nd for Tokyo with 45 athletes to qualify.

On a good day for the Irish,  Thomas Barr of Ferrybank AC won the men’s 400m hurdles in 59.25. Barr, ranked 10th in the world, already had Tokyo qualification in the bag.

Efrem Gidey racing at the European XC in Lisbon previously. Photo: Michael Hynes of Raheny Shamrock

Santry opens up

Santry Stadium was – at last – open for business again at the weekend,  with a large entry for the Athletics Ireland Open Games on Saturday and Sunday (June 11 and 12).

Race of the weekend was Saturday’s men’s 3000m,  where Efrem Gidey of Clonliffe Harriers and Cormac Dalton of Mulligar Harriers battled it out right to the line, with Gidey just edging it 8:11.57; Dalton was second in 8:11.68.

Tadhg Donnelly of Drogheda and District AC was third in 8:12.21 putting him comfortably inside the European U23 qualifying mark of 8:23.00, along with fourth-placed Dean Casey of Ennis TC in 8:15.56 and Fionn Harrington of Bandon AC, who finished ninth in 8:22.00.

Roisin Flanagan of Carmen Runners, back from her US base, proved the class of the women’s 3000m winning comfortably in a personal best 9:06.67. Second in 9:20.05 was Aoife Kilgannon of Sligo AC.

A day later, Flanagan’s twin sister Eilish won the women’s 2000m steeplechase in an Irish record time of 6:13.50, while Roisin was in winning form again in the 1500m with a time of 4:15.50, which was another personal best.

Middle distance is flying too

In the men’s 800m, Cillian Kirwan of Raheny Shamrock  AC  won the A race in 1:48.83, out-sprinting Louis O’Loughlin of Donore Harriers  who finished in 1:49.04. Fastest of the women in a closely fought women’s 800m was Mary Horgan of Crusaders AC in 2:08.08. Carla Sweeney of Rathfarnham WSAF AC was second in 2:08.18  and Maeve O’Neill of Doheny AC third in 2:09.12.

On Sunday, 19-year-old Cian McPhillips of Longford AC won the men’s 1500m comfortably clocking a personal best time of 3:46.27. Shane Bracken of Swinford AC was second in 3:48.28  and Dan Mooney of Letterkenny AC third in 3:50.48.

A clear winner of the men’s 2000m steeplechase in 6 mins 12.8 secs was Ruarcan O Gibne of Ace AC.

Any excuse to re-use this fantastic picture of Cian McPhillips (left) of Longford AC, racing Mark English earlier this year. Photo by Sam Barnes/Sportsfile

Exciting multi-sport action

In the Combined Events Championships, held in conjunction with the Open Games, Elizabeth Morland of Cushinstown AC won all but the final 800m in the women’s heptathlon, taking the title with 5178 points. Lara O’Byrne of Donore Harriers, first home in the 800m, came second with 4731 points.

An exciting men’s decathlon saw Rolus Olusa of Clonliffe Harriers taking the title from three-times former champion  champion Shane Aston of Trim AC.

With only the 1500m to go, Olusa and Aston were separated only by 26 points, with Aston stronger in the three throwing disciplines and Olusa picking up points in the three jumps. Olusa duly held on to successfully win his title.

Irish heptathlon record holder Kate O’Connor of St Gerard’s AC Dundalk  competed only on the first day at the Arona combined events international meeting in Spain on Saturday and Sunday (June 12-14), improving  her personal best in the shot to 14.54m. In late April, O’Connor had set a new Irish heptathlon record of 6297 points in Italy.

There was better news for the Irish men competing in the decathlon. Diarmuid O’Connor  of Bandon AC produced the performance of a lifetime to finish second in the U20 competition with a massive personal best score of  7,316 points –  just 20 points off Barry Walsh’s 34-year old Irish record. Troy McConville finished fifth in the U20 competition with a score of  7,066 points.

Saturday racing

A number of Irish athletes travelled to France for the Meeting International de Nice on Saturday (June 12) .

In the women’s 800m, Georgie Hartigan of Dundrum South Dublin AC finished second in 2 mins 00.88 secs, which was her second time running under 2 mins 1 sec within a week. Harry Purcell of Trim AC finished seventh in the men’s 800m,  with his time of 1:46.41, a personal best, enough to lift him into top place on the current Irish rankings.

In the 3000m steeplechase, both Michelle Finn of Leevale AC and Brian Fay  of Raheny Shamrock were slower than the personal best times  they had run recently, but still picked up valuable rankings points.

Finn’s  time of 9:32.61 saw her finish sixth in the women’s race; only five days earlier she had qualified for the Tokyo Olympics with a time of 9:29.25 in Espoo, Finland.  Fay finished eighth in the men’s race in 8:34.83; he had run 8:29.75 a week earlier.

Lining out in the men’s 5000m was Hiko Tonosa of Dundrum South Dublin AC who finished 12th in 13:48.53 despite having run in the European 10,000m  Cup a week earlier. Sean Tobin of Clonmel AC  faded in the final stages of the races but held on to finish one place behind Tonosa in 13:49.99.

More overseas racing

At the AtletiCA Geneve meet, Nadia Power of Dublin City Harriers AC ran a season’s best 2:01.42 to finish fifth in the women’s 800m. Louise Shanahan  of Leevale AC was eighth in 2:02.36 and Claire Mooney of Naas AC 13th in 2:03.78. In the men’s 1500m, Luke McCann of Dublin City Harriers was fourth in 3:40.28.

At a 10,000m race in Belgium, Matthew Neill of Strive Running Club achieved the Euro U23 10,000m standard with a time of 29:47.43.

A wealth of results from Watford

Jenna Bromell of Emerald AC ran a personal best 2:02.20 when finishing third in the A grade 800m at the BMC Meet in Watford; winner was Ellie Baker in 1:59.54.

In the men’s 3000m, 20-year-old Darragh McElhinney of UCD AC  was third in 8:10.86.  Not too far behind was Eoin Everard of Kilkenny City Harriers, who has moved up the distances this season and finished in a personal best 8:12.23.

John Travers of Donore Harriers was fifth in a season’s best time 3:45.50 in the men’s A grade 1500m, while City of Lisburn master Kelly Neely finished fourth in the women’s B 1500m in 4:25.2, and Rachel Gibson of North Down AC seventh in 4:28.07.

Over 800m, Roland Surlis of Annalee AC was fourth in the A race in 1:46.74, with Mark Milner of Tullamore Harriers  fifth in 1:49.60.  Kevin McGrath of Bohermeen AC who, like Milner, is still U23,  lined out in the B race, finishing second in 1:48.48.

Fastest of the Irish in the 5000m was Ben Branagh  clocking a personal best 14:13. 43 for seventh in the men’s B race.  In the same race, Conan McCaughey of North Belfast Harriers was 17th in 14:25.43 and junior athlete Callum Morgan of St Malachy’s AC 19th in 14:33.13. In the A race, Thomas Moran of Bohermeen AC was 15th in 14:16.37.

Irish athletes at NCAA finals

Pick of the Irish results at the NCAA finals in Eugene (June 8-13) was a personal best time of 3:39.21 for Cathal Doyle of Clonliffe Harriers in the 1500m semifinals. Doyle’s previous best was a 3:42.64 from 2019.

In the men’s 10,000m, Barry Keane  of Waterford AC was 15th in 28:28.18 and Jack O’Leary of Mullingar Harriers 16th in 28:29.39. Both were personal bests. Two years ago, Keane finished ninth in a competitive 10,000m  with a time of 29:01.57 at the European U23 Championships in Sweden. Also on that team were Cathal Doyle and Luke McCann.

In the women’s 5000m, Aoibhe Richardson of Kilkenny City Harriers was  23rd in 16:33.99

Mid-week action

At the Diamond League meet in Florence, Italy on  Thursday  (June 10); Ciara Mageean  of Lisburn AC finished 12th in the women’s 1500m in a season’s best time of 4:04:32. Winner was Sifan Hassan of the Netherlands in  3:53:63.

A day earlier at the BMC Meet in Birrmingham, three Irishmen lined out in the 3000m steeplechase. Jayme Rossiter of Clonliffe Harriers finished fifth in 8:48.55, Finley Daly of Sligo AC sixth in a personal best 9:00.03 and Liam Harris of Togher AC seventh in 9:02.06. Both Daly and Harris are U23 athletes.


Three times Paralympic champion Michael McKillop of St Malachy’s AC took silver  in the men’s combined T37/T38 1500m at the European Para Athletics Championships in Bydgoszcz, Poland on Saturday (June 5).

McKillop was the first T37 across the line, which was won by T38 athlete Redouane Hennouni-Bouzidi from France in a European record time of 4:04.39. McKillop finished in a championship record time of 4:09.85. David Leavy of City of Lisburn AC finished sixth in 4:26.01.