UCC’s Phil Healy stretched her stamina to 400 metres to anchor the university’s 4x400m relay team to one of the most dramatic victories you’re ever likely to see at an athletics track at the weekend.
Competing at the Irish Universities Athletics Track and Field Championships at Morton Stadium last Saturday, the 21-year-old Bandon AC athlete stormed home, coming from a distant fifth to first as the pace collapsed up front on the last lap.
UCD held what appeared to be a commanding 30m-advantage at the final changeover, but UL’s Michelle Finn rapidly eroded that buffer and then hit the front, pursued by CIT, with Healy still well behind all three athletes.
We’re not sure if UCC had to enter a Faustian pact to pull off such an unlikely victory. However, in a race commentary that almost rivals the action on the track for drama in the closing stages, Cathal Dennehy refers to Healy emerging from “the depths of hell” as her big kick becomes apparent rounding the final bend and into the home straight.
The remarkable win came at some cost, as an exhausted Healy collapsed over the line.
Healy, who specialises in the 100m and 200m, has also represented Ireland on the international stage.
The nursing student finished second behind her sister Joan in the 100m final and set a new collegiate record when she clocked 23.93 seconds in taking the 200m title in Santry.