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Athletics: Ciaran O'Lionaird wins 1500m title

Updated: Sunday, 20 Jul 2014 19:50 | Comments

Ciarán O'Lionaird celebrates after crossing the line
Ciarán O'Lionaird celebrates after crossing the line

Ciaran O’Lionaird was named as the Athlete of the Meet at the Senior Track and Field Championships after winning the 1500m.

With four qualifiers for the European Championships; Paul Robinson (St Coca’s AC), David McCarthy (West Waterford AC), Ciaran O’Lionaird (Leevale AC) and John Travers (Donore Harriers), the winner was guaranteed a spot on the team for Europeans making for an intensely competitive race.

The leading pack was tightly packed with a lap to go when Robinson took the lead with O’Lionaird hot on his heels.

Both athletes were shoulder to shoulder coming into the home straight with O’Lionaird just edging past Robinson with 50m to go to take the title in 3:43.80.

Robinson crossed the line in 3:44.16 with Travis continuing his run of recent good form to place third in 3:45.00 and McCarthy was fourth in 3:45.64.        

In the women’s 1500m former World Junior medallist Ciara Mageean (UCD AC) was back on the track after a long absence due to injury to win in 4:15.35.

Mageean kicked away from the leading pack with 300m to go to outpace Fionnuala Britton (Kilcoole AC) 4:18.33 in second and Kerry O’Flaherty (Newcastle & District AC) in third with 4:18.77.

In the women’s 100m the photo-finish couldn’t split Amy Foster (City of Lisburn) and Phil Healy (Bandon AC) were both awarded with a time of 11.49, a personal best for Healy. 

Both athletes have also achieved the European qualification standard.

Kelly Proper secured her third medal of the championships with a time of 11.62.

With reigning champion David Hynes disqualified for false starting, the men’s title went to Jamie Davis 10.90.

Irish record holder Thomas Barr (Ferrybank AC) was a clear winner in the men’s 400m hurdles with 50.04 taking his fourth title in-a-row. 

Paul Byrne (St.Abban’s AC) was second in 51.63 and Gerard O’Donnell was third in 53.49. Jason Harvey had to withdraw due to injury. Christine McMahon (Ballymena & Antrim AC), who has hit the standard for the European Championships, won the women’s race in 57.73 with Jessie Barr being a late withdrawal.

Following on from her 200m silver yesterday Sarah Lavin (UCD AC) secured the win in the 100m hurdles in 13.48 with Gerard O’Donnell taking his second medal of the day and his first senior national title in the 110m hurdles in 14.57.

Mark English (UCD AC) never looked under threat when claiming the 800m title in 1:49.91, in what was a slow tactical race from Declan Murray (Clonliffe Harriers AC) in 1:50.25.

Both athletes have secured European qualification standards. There was a real battle down the home straight between Brian Kelly (St. Abbans A.C.) and James Ledingham (West Waterford A.C.) for third place with Kelly taking the bronze.

In the 800m Katie Kirk took her first national title winning in 2:09.01, after a battle down the home straight with Roseanne Galligan (Newbridge) who crossed the line in 2:09.14 with 17-year-old Louise Shanahan (Leevale AC) was third in 2:11.05.

In the men’s 5000m Kevin Batt (St.Coca’s AC) made a late surge with just over 200m to move away from race leader Mark Christy to win in 14.08.23, Christy crossed the line in 14.16.43 with Conor Dooney (Raheny Shamrock AC) third in 14.18.88

In the steeplechase Rory Chesser (Ennis Track AC) and Tomas Cotter (Dunleer AC) were clear leaders until the final lap when Chesser made a decisive move to win convincingly in a personal best of 8:46.95 with Cotter second in 8:57.65.

In the Men’s 400m there was a real battle with athletes wanting to show form in advance of final selection of the 4x400m team for the European Championships.  Brian Gregan (Clonliffe Harriers AC) was the clear winner in 46.56.

Craig Lynch (Shercock AC) set a personal best of 47.37 improving on his 47.42 set in the heats with last year’s champion Brian Murphy of Crusaders AC third in 47.39.

The women’s title went to Mandy Gault (Lagan Valley AC) in 54.24.

With world champion Robert Heffernan still in training camp in Spain, the 10k Walk title went to Alex Wright (Leevale AC) in 42:09.79.

Clare Fitzgerald (Tralee Harriers AC) smashed her personal with a throw 16.20 improving on 14.89 set in 2013 to take her fourth title in a row.

Sam Healy, the 18-year-old from Leevale AC, won his first senior national title in the men’s Long Jump with a personal best of 7.25m

There was a season’s best Conor McCullough (Crusaders AC) taking the hammer title with a throw of 72.81.

Ian Rogers added the outdoor to his indoor Pole Vault title with a leap of 4.60m making it his first senior outdoor title.  

Caoimhe King (Aughagower AC) won the triple jump with 12.44m.

In an action packed day of the crowd were out in force to support in what was the biggest crowd recorded at national championships since 2008.

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