8 NORTHERN ATHLETES TARGET IRISH CHAMPIONSHIPS AHEAD OF EUROPEANS
23 June 2016
8 Northern athletes will be targeting this weekend's GloHealth Irish Senior Championships in Dublin with the key objective to impress the Irish selectors for the European Championships in Amsterdam in 10 days’ time. The team is expected to be announced on Monday.
5 women already have the qualification standard and are certain to be selected bar injury. 3 men will be striving to qualify at Santry which will feature most of Ireland's top athletes.
Lisburn AC's Amy Foster is once again Ireland's top sprinter following her sizzling 11.42 secs time over 100 metres in Florida last month. She will be looking to snatch the title back from Ferrybank's Kelly Proper who inflicted a rare defeat on the Newtownards woman last year. Amy could have the advantage this time as Proper has yet to compete over the distance this season.
In the equivalent Men's event multi Paralympic champion Jason Smyth of Derry City is a mere 0.01 secs short of the Euro qualification mark following his 10.39 secs time in the US. He should capture another Irish title with last year's runner up Jonathan Browning of Ballymena also in the mix.
In the Women's 1,500 metres all eyes will be on Rio bound Ciara Mageean who will be seeking to add another fast time to her record breaking season following her PB over 800 metres in Belfast last week. The Portaferry woman will be hoping that defending 1,500 metres champion Sarah Treacy will help her to beat her season's best time of 4 mins 8 secs.
In the Women's 400 metres hurdles Ballymena's Christine McMahon is in the clear spotlight following her recent outstanding 56.42secs time which is a mere 0.22 secs short of Rio qualification mark. The 23 year old dental graduate should secure a hat trick of titles ahead of Ferrybank's Jessie Barr.
The Women's steeplechase entries include Rio bound competitors Kerry O'Flaherty of Newcastle, Michelle Finn of Leevale plus Treacy. Kerry will be seeking to improve on her sub 10 mins time from Lucerne a few days ago.
High hurdler Ben Reynolds will be hoping to put a frustrating season behind him and achieve what for him should be an easy Euro qualification time of 13.90 secs. He should easily defend his title ahead of Carrick's Gerard O'Donnell.
Other Northern winners should include Finn Valley's Tori Pena who is qualified for Rio in the Pole Vault and Adam McMullan who is currently ranked 16th in Europe in the long jump. His season's best of 7.84 metres is just short of the very difficult 7.95 metres Euro standard.