Irish National Athletics Championships this weekend
26 July 2019
The Irish Life Health National Athletics Championships takes place this weekend at the Morton Stadium in Santry where athletes will be competing for titles, selection for the European Team Championships in August and IAAF ranking points for those with an eye on Tokyo 2020.
Ciara Mageean (Steve Vernon), who broke her own Northern Ireland records for the 1500m and the mile just two weeks ago, will look to defend her 800m and 1500m titles. Ciara’s main opposition in the 800m could come from Siofra Cleirigh – Buttner, from Dundrum South Dublin and Katie Kirk (Mark Kirk). Siofra ran a personal best of 2:01.67 in the A race at the Watford BMC Grand Prix recently just in front of Ciara who ran 2:01.81. At the same meeting, Katie ran in the B race and recorded 2:06.25. The 1500m includes European U23 bronze medallist, Nadia Power from Templelogue and U20 silver medallist, Sarah Healey from Blackrock as well as Ciara and Siofra.
Commonwealth Games bronze medallist, Leon Reid (James Hillier) will look to defend his 200m title and will face Marcus Lawler of St Lawrence O’Toole and Stephen Gaffney of Rathfarnham. This is promising to be a very exciting race with all three having recorded fast times in the last two months. Leon ran 20.68 at the European Clubs Senior Championships in May and backed this up with 20.70 at the Spitzen Leichtathletik meet in Luzern two weeks ago. That same week, Marcus took bronze at the World University Games where he ran 20.55 and Stephen Gaffney ran 20.39 at the Goldensporen meeting in Belgium.
Paralympic champion, Jason Smyth of Derry City goes in an equally competitive 100m field that includes Marcus Lawler and Stephen Gaffney as well as Joseph Ojewumi (Tallaght) and Mark Smyth (Raheny Shamrock)
South Belfast’s marathon runner Stephen Scullion (Stephen Haas) will also look to defend his 10,000m title. Stephen has already been selected for the Marathon at the World Championships in Doha. Stephen’s main competition this weekend is likely to come from Raheny’s Mick Clohisey.
Adam Kirk-Smith (Bashir Hussain), who has just returned from altitude in Switzerland, will aim to retain his title in the 3000m Steeplechase but faces stiff competition from Brian Fey (Raheny Shamrock) and Jayme Rossiter (Clonliffe Harriers) who have both posted faster times then him so far this season.
Michelle Finn of Leevale ran 9:41.23 for the Steeplechase on Wednesday night, in Finland, and so looks to be favourite in this event. Kerry O’Flaherty (Richard Rodgers) has been training at altitude for the last few weeks and will be aiming for a season’s best here.
Annadale’s Conall Kirk (Mark Kirk) who took bronze a year ago in the 800 metres will face fierce competition with Mark English (UCD), John Fitzsimons (Kildare) and Zak Curran (DSD) all in the mix.
After a very busy European U20 Championships for Davicia Patterson (Ian Neely) where she raced three rounds of 400m (finishing with a 4th in the final) and two rounds of 4 X 400m, she will switch to the 200m for the championships this weekend where Ciara Neville of Emerald is the favourite.
In the Women’s Javelin, new European U20 Heptathlon silver medallist Kate O’Connor (Laura Kerr) will look to repeat the fabulous throw that broke her own NI Senior record when she recorded 52.92 metres in the U20 European Championships Heptathlon competition.
Finn Valley’s Sommer Lecky (Niall Wilkinson) is also just back from the European U20 Championships where she tied for 5th place in the High Jump with a jump of 1.84 metres. Sommer will face strong competition from Phillippa Rogan of Sli Cualann who cleared 1.89 at the Elite de Montgeron meeting in France last month.
Irish U23 Pole Vault record holder, Ellen McCartney (Ellie Kormis) of Lisburn AC, vaulted 4.01 metres for first place at the U23 Championships at the beginning of the month and will look to repeat that victory here.
Favourite for the 400m is Clonliffe’s Luke Lennon-Ford but NI champion, Andrew Mellon (Brendan McConville) and Ballymena’s Craig Newell (Ian Neely) should also be in the mix.
In the 400m Hurdles Ferrybank Olympian, Thomas Barr, is favourite and Jason Harvey (Paul McKee) who has recently run 51.75 secs will also look to be on the podium.
Adam McMullen makes a welcome return to Championship competition after a long lay off with injury. He has jumped further than the rest of the field previously with a personal best of 7.99i but Sam Healy (Leevale), Colm Bourke (Raheny Shamrock) and Shane Howard (Bandon) have all recorded better season’s bests this year. Adam jumped 7.43 at the Team Trophy on 23rd June, Sam jumped 7.62 and Colm 7.58 at their Conference Championships, Arizona, in May and Shane jumped 7.64 at the Regional Championships in Tullamore in June.
Good luck to all Northern Ireland & Ulster athletes this weekend!