Galway sprinter Paul Hession sensationally broke the Irish 200 metres record for the second time in six days to win at the Woodie's DIY National Senior Track & Field Championships in Santry this afternoon.

Hession was again in devastating form as he flew home in first place in the 200m final in a new national mark of 20.30 seconds, much to the delight of the Morton Stadium crowd.

Wexford native David Hynes came home in second place, 1.3 seconds behind the winner.

Hession ran 20.44 last Sunday to break Paul Brizzel's long-standing national record at the British Grand Prix in Sheffield and had a feeling he could go quicker this afternoon.

Hession – who qualified for today’s final in a time of 20.86 – said: ‘I felt very good in the heats. I used the heats as a warm-up really and knew after the first run that I had a shout at breaking the record again and so it proved.
‘20.30 is amazing. I'm delighted with that time. Every race I feel I'm getting better and I'm lasting better down the straight. This is another stepping stone and it's bringing me on.’

Incredibly it was the seventh time this season that Hession has broken a national record - both indoors and out - and the win handed him his first Irish outdoor 200m title since 2004 as he was injured for both the 2005 and 2006 championships.

A telling statistic is that his 2004 success saw him come home in the final in a time of 21.43 seconds. Three years later, he has shaved over a second off that winning time.

The Athenry man, who is currently ranked 24th in the world, will also be in action in Santry tomorrow as he is 'doubling up' in the sprint events and has a strong chance of winning the 100m title.
He scorched home to a new national 100m record (10.18 seconds) last month in Finland.

Ahead of his tilt at the 100, the 24-year-old added: ‘I'm looking forward to it and I'll just go out and see what I can do.’

Hession's current form further endorses his decision to take a break from his medical studies - he has completed four years of his degree at NUI Galway - in order to train full-time for the World Championships and Olympics.

Earlier in Santry, Kilkenny woman Eileen O’Keeffe broke her own Irish record twice to claim her seventh straight national title in the hammer.

O’Keeffe made history as she became the first Irish woman to throw over 70 metres – incredibly doing it on five occasions at Morton Stadium – to ease to victory and a stunning new national mark of 73.21 metres.

Today’s performance qualifies the 26-year-old for next month’s World Championships in Osaka.

She set a new Irish record of 69.44m four weeks ago when winning the European Cup event in Finland. Her opening throw in Santry was a massive 70.68 and she went on to add the discus crown.

In other events, Kilkenny's Joanne Cuddihy pipped Dubliner Ciara Sheehy for the women's 200m title, with 400m specialist Cuddihy hitting the line in 23.63 seconds - 0.06 seconds ahead of former champion Sheehy.

The 22-year-old Cuddihy, a medical student at UCD, did the 200-400 double at last year's championships and is on course to repeat that feat.

Galway City Harrier Gary Thornton won the 10,000m title for the first time with a run of 29 minutes, 57.06 seconds.