On a great day for the sport, Sophie O’Sullivan and Sarah Healy put Irish athletics in the spotlight they finished first and second in the 1500m at the European U23 Championships in Espoo, Finland
That wasn’t all – at the Diamond League meet in Poland, Andrew Coscoran lowered his own Irish 1600m record . A day earlier, Brian Fay had broken the Irish 5000m record.
Quite a lot to take in.
Let’s start with the women. While there have been Irish one-twos before, notably by Frank O’Mara and Paul Donovan at the 1987 World Indoors in the 3000m, this was a first ever by two Irish female athletes.
The pair had good track record with Healy double gold at the European U18 Championships in 2018 and O’Sullivan 800m at those same games. On paper, Healy was the quickest with a best time of 4:01.75 set at the Europa Cup only last month and she would lead the race early on, with the taller O’Sullivan shadowing her every move.
Only when they turned the bend into the finish straight did O’Sullivan make her move and kick for the line. She reached it in a personal best 4 mins 7.18 secs, with Healy just behind her in 4:07.36. Cue huge celebrations!
Meanwhile in Chorzov, Poland, the big beasts of the sport were competing at a Diamond League meet.
None these days are much bigger than Jakob Ingebrigtsen of Norway who was down to run the 1500m and was hoping to break the world record. Despite, twinkly lights and three pacemakers, he fell short by less than one second although his time of 3:27.14 was a European record and world lead.
Finishing a hugely creditable fourth behind him was Coscoran who knocked two seconds off his own recently minted Irish record with a time of 3:30.42.
As for Raheny Shamrock’s own Brian Fay, his time of 13:01.40 had not only broken the Irish 5000m record but was enough for second place in the 5000m at the KBC Nacht Meet in Heusden, Netherlands and earned him qualification for the forthcoming European Champion Championships in Paris and next year’s Olympics in Paris.
Back at the European U23 Championships, there were plenty of other performances to celebrate from likely stars of the future. Abdel Laadjel of Donore Harriers finished fourth in the men’s 10,000m with a time of 29:33.33.while in the men’s 800m, Cian McPhillips of UCD AC looked on target for a medal and lost out in the chase for the line, ending up seventh in 1:48.04.
In the women’s steeplechase final, Ava O’ Connor of Tullamore Harriers finished eighth in a personal best 10:01.34.
Over 5000m, Jane Buckley of Leevale AC clocked 16:02.22 to finish ninth in the women’s race, while Shay McEvoy of Kilkenny City Harriers was tenth in the men’s race with 13:52.76.
US resident Anika Thompson of Leevale AC had worked her way up to third place in the women’s 10,000m by 4.4km mark, but fell back a few laps later and ended up 11th in 35:26.71.
After Sarah Lavin of Emerald AC got the Morton Games in Santry off to the perfect start on Friday (July 15) with victory in the 100m hurdles and John Fitzsimons of Newbridge AC won the 800m in 1:46.55m, Nicholas Griggs of the Belfast Candour club set a national U20 mile record of 3:55.73 when finishing third in the Morton Mile. Close behind was Cathal Doyle of host club Clonliffe Harriers who finished fourth in 3:56.05, also a PB.
A day later, also at Santry Shona Heaslip of An Riocht AC proved the class of the field in the national women’s 10,000m championships held as part of the AI Games. Despite the squally conditions, Heaslip finished in 33:22.65. Cliona Fagan of Dublin City Harriers was second in 34:42.09 and Clare Fagan of Mulligar Harriers third in 34:45.03.
Winning the men’s 10,000m title in 29:50.85 was David Glynn of Waterford AC. David Mansfield of Clonmel AC was second in 31:08.97 and Conán McCaughey of North Belfast Harriers third in 31.29.5.
On the second day of competition, Jacke Fenton of St Abban’s Ac won the U20 3000m in 8:26.93. Lughaidh Mallon of Lagan Valley was second in 8:30.38 and Niall Murphy of Ennis TC third in 8:33.09. In the men’s 1500m, Cathal O’Reilly of Kilkenny City Harriers beat his club mate Eoin Everard in the men’s 1500m, with the pair timed at 3:48.51 and 3:49.35.
Dublin club athletes dominated the Fingal 10km in Swords on Sunday (July 16) which was the the second race in the annual Dublin Race Series, organised in conjunction with the Dublin Marathon.
Race winner in 30 mins 36 secs was Emmet Jennings of Dundrum South Dublin AC who was followed home by Sergiu Ciobanu of Clonliffe Harriers AC in 30:58 and last year’s winner Peter Somba of Dunboyne AC in 31:26. A close fourth in 31.30 was Graham Gilshinan of Portmarnock AC.
First woman and also first W40 was Ciara Hickey of Brothers Pearse AC in 34:37, almost a minute clear of DSD’s Meghan Ryan in 35:36 and Raheny Shamrock AC’s Kate Purcell in 35:42. Earlier this year, Hickey won the Sportsworld 5-Mile and she hopes to line out in October’s Dublin Marathon, despite a recent injury scare.
In the age categories, Mary Jennings of Waterford AC, mother of race winner Emmett, won the W60 category in in a time of 50:47. Jennings is a six-times winner of the National Marathon.
A total of 2,225 completed the race. Next round in the Dublin Race Series is the Frank Duffy 10 Mile on 19 August.
Peugeot Race series hotting up
Mick Fogarty of Ferbane AC was the winner of the Edenderry 10-mile – the penultimate round of the Peugeot Race Series.
Fogarty finished in 53 mins 50 secs, followed by Gavin Kelly of Clane AC second in 55.37 and Andrew Nevin of Mullingar Haries third in 56.17. Laura Mooney of Tullamore Harriers was first woman in 58.18, followed by Dundrum South Dublin pair, Sarah Mulligan in 62:51 and Nimah Devlin 62:58
Although some key members of the squad opted to run the Fingal 10km, Peugeot League leaders Dundrum South Dublin AC still pulled off a narrow team victory over their closest rivals, Clane AC. They now cannot be caught for the overall title. Making up the DSD team were Mulligan, Devlin, David Gormley, Maria McCambridge, Aidan Murphy and Ruben Bartelik.
Third team was Tullamore Harriers, with Mullingar Harriers, currently third on the overall table, in fourth place. An impressive eleven teams of six entered. Final round in the Peugeot Series is the Cork City 10-Mile on August 20.
Winners of the Bere Island Misummer Run 10km on Saturday (July 15) was Eoin Keegan in 36:24. First woman was Angier Meffan-Main in 48.39
Leevale AC’s Mark Walsh led home 254 finishers at the Tracton AC 4-Mile at Minane Bridge, Co Cork, on Friday (July 1). His time was 20 mins 49 secs. Second and first M50 was Vivian Foley of Eagle AC in 50:58, with Donal Coakley of Leevale AC third in 21:04.
In the women’s race Lizzie Lee was making it a Leevale double winning in 23:08, followed by Catherine Murphy of Eagle AC in 24:41, and Meadhbh Moynihan of Leevale AC in 24:55.
Winners at the Clerihen Ladies GAA 8km, also Friday, were Conor Flaherty of Clonmel AC in 28:01 andf Kate Veale of West Waterford AC in 31.33. Cian Dunning and Deirdre O’Sullivan were the winners of the 5km.