In the Men’s 800m a new champion is guaranteed. Irish Junior Record Holder, Mark English (Letterkenny AC) will race in Madrid on route to the World Junior Championships, leaving the door open for Irish Indoor Champion Brian Kelly (St Abbans AC) in the men’s 800m. Anthony Lieghio (Tallaght AC), is also a contender, having placed third last year and he recently beat Kelly over 800m at the Crusaders IMC meet. Up and coming athlete Dean Cronin (Blarney Inniscarra AC) has run 1.49.93 this year and will be one to watch if any of the more experienced athletes falter.
In the women’s 800m, defending champion Siobhan Eviston (Raheny Shamrock AC) is back to defend her title. Eviston is in great shape having run a personal best of 2.04.52 on the 26th of June and will be hard to beat. 2010 Champion Roseanne Galligan (Newbridge AC), is fast returning to full fitness and having run 2.03.49 this year, tops the Irish women’s 2012 ranking lists.
The men’s 1500m looks set to be one of the closest races of the weekend with many of the athletes entered having run similar times over the distance this year. Darren Mc brearty (Letterkenny AC) is the fastest of those competing having run 3.42.92 back in April. John Travers (Donore Harriers AC) is in good form having run 3.43.75 already this year and John Coughlan (Metro St. Brigids AC) will be dangerous in a championship race. Also watch out for Daniel Mooney (Letterkenny AC), the 2012 Irish Indoor champion has transformed that form to the outdoor season having run 3.44.41 in May.
The line up for the women’s 1500m see’s Fionnuala Britton (Kilcoole AC), fresh from a fourth place finish in the 10,000m at the European Track and Field Championships, will test her speed against the 1500m specialists. Britton is now building up for the Olympic 10,000m and will use the nationals as a stepping stone towards that. Orla Drumm (Doneen AC) has run a personal best of 4.09.95 this year, a time that tops the 2012 Irish rankings. Drumm placed fourth at last year’s championship, but based on current form, will be one of the favourites to take the title. Steeplechase specialist Stephanie Reilly (Sli Chulainn AC) steps down in distance and will be aiming to improve on her season’s best time of 4.14.30. Defending champion Ciara Mageean (U.C.D AC) is another contender although it is not confirmed if she will compete.
David Rooney (Raheny Shamrock AC) and Thomas Fitzpatrick (Tallaght AC) have both broke 14 minutes this year for the distance and are likely favourites to take the title. Rooney represented Ireland over 10,000m at the European Track and Field Championship set a personal best of 13.53.04 this year. Fitzpatrick has also been in personal best shape form this year running 13.58.75, which ranks him fifth on the 2012 Irish rankings. Mark Hanrahan (Leevale AC) is also competing and if he is within striking distance on the last lap he has the ability to finish fastest of them all.
In the women’s race, defending champion Lizzie Lee (Leevale AC) is back to defend her title but she will have her hands full as the in from Maria Mc Cambridge (Letterkenny AC) is also in the line up. McCambridge has run 15.50.80 this year, which ranks her second only to Fionnuala Britton on the 2012 Irish rankings. McCambridge is likely to use her marathon strength over the shorter 5000m distance and make the race a true run race from the beginning.
The men’s 10,000m will see many of Ireland’s top club athletes test themselves over a gruelling 25 laps of the track. Brian Maher (Kilkenny City Harriers AC) is the fastest on paper in the field having run 29.49 at the Dublin championships. Sean Hehir (Rathfarnham WSAF) is next quickest in the field with a time of 30.15.53 to his name this year. There is also five other club mates of Hehir entered, indicating that Rathfarnham are targeting the national 10,000m team title. An interesting entrant is David Campbell (U.C.D AC); the former National 800m Champion is set to go the distance and challenge for the national title.
David Flynn (Clonliffe Harriers AC) is the only Irish athlete in the field to break nine minutes for the steeplechase event this year. Flynn ran 8.49.20 back in April and will be the favourite to take the title. Emmett Jennings (Dundrum South Dublin AC) has broken new ground this year by running a personal best of 9.07.95, a time that ranks him third on the 2012 Irish rankings. Rory Chesser (Ennis Track) has a season’s best of 9.17.79 and will be in the hunt to recapture the title he won in 2010.
In the women’s race Elizabeth Egan (Bree AC) and Michelle Finn (Leevale AC), placed second and third respectively in last year’s race and will both be gunning for gold this year. An athlete to watch out for is previous International Cross Country representative Becky Woods (Clonliffe Harriers AC) as she makes her debut over the steeplechase.
With many of Ireland’s top race walkers away on training camps, this year’s championships are wide open. 2011 European Junior Track and Field representative, Maeve Curley (Craughwell AC) will be favourite to win the women’s title. Promising junior athletes Luke Hickey (Leevale AC) and James Treanor (Shercock AC) will battle it out for the men’s title.