The Irish Life Health National Senior Indoor Championships promises to deliver some exciting races this weekend (February 16/17) as athletes bid for national glory and book places at the European Indoor Championships.
Sport Ireland’s National Indoor Arena in Abbotstown is the perfect setting for a competitive and spectator friendly environment. The event will be live streamed on Athletics Ireland Facebook (www.facebook.com/AthleticsIreland/) for the full weekend of action.
Star athletes included on the entry list are Thomas Barr (Ferrybank), Phil Healy (Bandon), Mark English (UCD) and Ciara Mageean (UCD).
Exciting Sprints in Store
Molly Scott (SLOT) has had an excellent indoor season and heads the rankings in the women’s 60m with 7.36 seconds. Lauren Roy (City of Lisburn) is another who has impressed with 7.39 – both times are under the European indoor standard of 7.40. Joan Healy (Leevale), Ciara Neville (Emerald) and Patience Jumbo-Gula (St Gerard’s Dundalk) will be among those looking to compete.
Sophie Becker (St Joseph’s) heads the 200m rankings with 24.07 followed by Sharlene Mawdsley (Newport) on 24.21. With Becker likely to focus on the 400m it will be an interesting event with Rhasidat Adeleke (Tallaght) also on the entry list.
Reid Looks to Defend Sprint Titles
Joseph Ojewumi (Tallaght) and Cillin Greene (Galway City Harriers) head the men’s 60m and 200m rankings (6.77 and 21.47) respectively but will face stiff competition from last year’s double winner Leon Reid (Menapians) and Marcus Lawler (St Laurence O’Toole). Ojewumi will look to win his first national senior title along with copper-fastening his place to the European Indoors – his first major championship.
Healy and Barr to Thrill
Phil Healy (Bandon) continues her ascent in the women’s 400m leading the rankings with 52.31 but Sophie Becker (St Joseph’s) has made significant progress and also holds a European Indoor qualifying time with 53.66.
The men’s 400m sees Thomas Barr (Ferrybank) continue his indoor campaign where he hopes to compete in his first major indoor championships in Glasgow. Barr will target a sub 47 second clocking
Andrew Mellon (Crusaders), Brandon Arrey (Raheny Shamrock), Luke Lennon Forde (Clonliffe Harriers) and Cillin Greene are among the likely contenders.
Mageean and English Expected to Lead the Pack
Ciara Mageean (UCD) is the outstanding distance runner on the women’s side this season having rewritten her own national indoor 1500m and mile records with 4:06.76 and 4:28.31 respectively. She is set to compete over 3,000m and will prove difficult to stop.
Siofra Cleirigh Buttner (800m) looks like the favourite in the women’s 800m heading the entries on 2:03.30 with Claire Mooney (UCD) and Nadia Power (Templeogue) also in contention for medals.
Sarah Healy (Blackrock) is entered for both the 1500m and 3,000m and it is unclear what event she will tackle on the weekend. Claire Tarplee (St Coca’s) and Amy O’Donoghue (Emerald) will be among the contenders.
Mark English (UCD) is back on song having won the 800m at the Athlone International Grand Prix in 1:46.94 and will be a tough nut to crack. Zak Curran (DSD) and Conal Kirk (Annadale Striders) both secured European indoor standards behind him in Athlone and will be there to pounce if there is a slip up.
Kieran Kelly (Raheny Shamrock) will bid for his third national indoor title in-a-row as he bids to defend the 1500m title he won last year. Eoin Everard (Kilkenny City Harriers) looks like one of his chief competitors should he run the metric mile.
There is a big entry for the men’s 3,000m with John Travers (Donore Harriers) looking to continue his good form fresh from his sub 4 minute mile clocking in Athlone.
In the race walks, Kate Veale (West Waterford A.C.) will be favourite to retain her senior women’s 3,000m title with Alex Wright (Leevale A.C.) also the hot favourite in the men’s 5,000m walk.
Scott and Doherty set for Hurdle Duel
Molly Scott (SLOT) and Kate Doherty (DSD) could have an exciting duel in the women’s 60m hurdles with only one hundredth of a second separating them on the season’s times – 8.34 to 8.35.
Matthew Behan (Crusaders) will be aiming for gold in the men’s 60m hurdles – the only man to run under 8 seconds this season.
Jumping for Podium Position
Ruby Millet (St Abban’s) heads the women’s long jump entries while Shane Howard (Bandon) leads the men’s long jump entries with Keith Marks (Clonliffe Harriers A.C.) his next nearest competitor.
Saragh Buggy (St Abban’s) continues to dominate the women’s triple jump and her mark of 13.11m leads the way this indoor season. Mark Burton (Queens University AC) is the leading men’s triple jumper on the list with 14.19m.
Sommer Lecky (Finn Valley) and Pippa Rogan (Sli Cualann) look set to have a close battle in the women’s high jump having both cleared 1.84m.
The men’s high jump is open this year with Shane Aston (Trim),Ciaran Connolly (Le Cheile) and Ryan Carthy Walshe (Adamstown) among the contenders.
Clodagh Walsh (Abbey Striders) has the highest clearance in the women’s pole vault entries with a host of others competing for national medals. Matthew Callinan Keenan (SLOT) is the lead entry in the men’s pole vault
Walsh and Breathnach look for show of strength once more
Michaela Walsh (Swinford) and Sean Breathnach (Galway City Harriers A.C.) will look to impress once more in respective shot put competitions this year. Breathnach hasn’t a mark on the list this year but should prove a tough competitor should he compete.
More details on www.athleticsireland.ie