Sarah Healy and Darragh McEhinney turned in superb performances to grab medals for the Irish on the final day of the European Championships in Boras, Sweden on Sunday. It makes them the 17th and 18th medallists for Ireland in the 49-year history of the event, added to Kate O’Connor’s brilliant bronze in the heptathlon on Friday, where she created history for Irish athletics by becoming the first ever athlete to win a heptathlon medal at a major championships. The 18 year old Dundalk St Gerard’s athlete finished second with a national U-20, U-23 and Irish senior heptathlon record of 6093 points.
Healy won silver in a nail-biting women’s 1500m final, taking the lead on the penultimate lap and winding up the pace from there. She led turning for home and just lost out to Switzerland’s Delia Sclabas in the run to the line, the 18-year-old Blackrock athlete claiming a silver medal for Ireland in 4:27.14. Sclabas took gold in 4:25.95.
McEhinney was equally as courageous and no less brilliant in the men’s 5000m final, the Bantry athlete taking the lead with a kilometre to run and pushing the pace out front. He was passed with one lap to run but fought all the way to the finish to come home third in 14:06.05. The race was won by Spain’s Aaron Las Heras in 14:02.76. Jamie Battle came home 14th in the same race in 14:42.37.
The Irish women’s 4x400m team of Simone Lalor, Miriam Daly, Davicia Patterson and Rachel McCann had a magnificent run in the final to finish fifth, breaking the Irish U20 record with their time of 3:37.42. They were less than one third of a second off the bronze medal.
The Irish men’s 4x400m team also acquitted themselves well in the final, the quartet of Ciaran Carthy, Adam Hughes, Jack Raftery and David Ryan finishing sixth in 3:11.51, a season’s best.
In the men’s 4x100m heats, the Irish quartet of Conor Morey, Aaron Sexton, Michael Farrelly and David Murphy finished a fine fourth in 40.67, just edged out of a place in the final and finishing ninth overall.
The Irish women’s 4x100m team of Alannah McGuinness, Yemi Talabi, Katie Monteith and Patience Jumbo-Gula finished fifth in their heat in 46.52. Niamh O’Connor was in action in the women’s 10,000m race walk, but she was unfortunately disqualified midway through the race after a number of infractions.