Athletics Ireland have selected eleven athletes for the European Indoor Track and Field Championships in Gothenburg, Sweden due to take place from the 1st-3rd of March.
Kevin Ankrom Athletics Ireland High Performance Director commented,
“We definitely have the opportunity to win medals with the profile of performers competing in their respective events–Brian Gregan (400m), Derval O’Rourke (60mH), Ciaran O’Lionaird (3000m) and Fionnuala Britton (3000m). As well, with the performance standards achieved by these athletes I have confidence that our team selected for the 2013 European Indoor Championships will be very competitive.”
Brian Gregan (Clonliffe Harriers AC), Derval O’Rourke (Leevale AC), Ciaran O’Lionaird (Leevale AC), Fionnuala Britton (Kilcoole AC), Ciara Everard (UCD AC), Amy Foster (City of Lisburn AC), Tori Pena (Finn Valley AC), John Travers (Donore Harriers AC), Stephen Scullion (North Belfast Harriers AC), Claire Tarplee (Dundrum South Dublin AC) and Rose Anne Galligan (Newbridge AC) are the eleven athletes selected for the championship.
*•David McCarthy (West Waterford AC) who had the qualifying times in both the 1500m and 3,000m events has unfortunately had to withdraw from the championships due to illness.
•Mark English (Letterkenny AC) also dipped under the qualification standard of 1:48.50 in the 800m when setting a personal best of 1:48.44 at the national championships. However the World Junior Finalist has made the decision not to compete in order to now turn his focus on training and preparation for the European U23 Championships to be held in Tampere, Finland in July.
Brian Gregan (Clonliffe Harriers AC)
Coach: John Shields
Brian currently lies top of the 2013 European Indoor rankings in the 400m with his time of 46.07 which he set at the Athletics Ireland Open Games on January 27th. He continued his good form with a significant win at the IAAF Permit Meet in Gent on Sunday 10th of February. On that occasion he beat the Olympic finalist Jonathan Borlee from Belgium and Olympic silver medallist Luguelin Santos of the Dominican Republic. Gregan continued his preparations with an emphatic win in the 200m at the national indoor championships last weekend.
Ciaran O’Lionaird (Leevale AC)
Coach: Mark Rowland
Another athlete who sits top of the European rankings is Ciaran O’Lionaird after his stunning new personal best of 3:52.10 which came in the Wannamaker Mile at the Millrose Games on Saturday, 16th of February. The time ranks him number four on the Irish All-Time list for the mile after Eamon Coghlan, Marcus O’Sullivan and Ray Flynn. The 1500m equivalent for his time is 3:36.85+ which places him top of the 1500m European Indoor rankings. O’Lionaird also possess a season’s best time of 7:53.69 for the 3,000m which came at the New Balance Boston Indoor Games on February 2nd.
Derval O’Rourke (Leevale AC)
Coach: Sean & Terrie Cahill
Event: 60m Hurdles
Irish record holder Derval O’Rourke is a renowned championship athlete and she will once again head into a major championship with aspirations of a top performance. O’Rourke has an impressive track record over the 60m hurdles including a world title in 2006 and a bronze medal at the 2009 version of these championships. O’Rourke has a season’s best of 8.08, however quicker times are certainly on the cards as the championships progress for the supremely competitive cork athlete.
Fionnuala Britton (Kilcoole AC)
Coach: Chris Jones
Double European Cross Country Champion Fionnuala Britton (Kilcoole AC) has been the outstanding European athlete over the country for the past two years, notching up numerous victories. Britton will be determined to make an impression on the track in Gothenburg and after recording a personal best of 4.13.96 at the nationals she will be confident of doing so. Britton has also set a personal best of 8.55.22 over 3,000m for the meeting in Karlsruhe, Germany on the 2nd of February.
Ciara Everard (UCD AC)
Coach: James Nolan
Ciara Everard has made a massive breakthrough this indoor season breaking the national indoor 800m record with a stunning 2:02.54 run in Athlone on February 10th. She won the national championships recently with a tremendous burst of speed over the final 200m, demonstrating clever racing tactics. This will be Everard’s debut at the European Championships and under the guidance of her coach Olympian James Nolan; she will be one to watch over the three days of competition.
Amy Foster (City of Lisburn AC)
Coach: David Reid
Amy Foster ran a new personal best of 7.33 at the national championships to secure the qualifying time for the Europeans. The time was just .03 outside the national record of 7.30 held by Anna Boyle. Foster has represented Ireland at a number of International competitions over the last couple of years including the 2012 European outdoor championships in Helsinki.
John Travers (Donore Harriers AC)
Coach: Gerry Kiernan
John Travers has been in terrific form this indoor season setting personal bests in both the 1500m and the 3,000m events. Travers now based in Athlone IT was one of the standout performers at the National Indoor Championships when he won the 3,000m title and set a personal best of 7:58.54.
Stephen Scullion (North Belfast Harriers AC)
Coach: Andrew Hobdale
Stephen Scullion (North Belfast AC) finished seventh in the 3,000m at the British Grand Prix in Birmingham on Saturday 16th of February. He ran a time of 7:58.11 which was a new personal best and ranks him third on the 2013 Irish indoor rankings over 3,000m.
Claire Tarplee (Dundrum South Dublin AC)
Coach: George Gandy
Claire Tarplee (Dundrum South Dublin AC) will compete in the 1500m after recording a personal best of 4.13.16 at the XL Galan meet in Stockholm last Thursday 21st of February. Her previous best for 1500m was 4:14.53 which she set in Vienna at the end of January. Tarplee also won the 800m at the British Championships in a time of 2:03.66 on Sunday 10th of February.
Rose Anne Galligan (Newbridge AC)
Coach: David Farrow
Rose Anne Galligan clocked 2:03.39 for 800m at the last chance Athlone IT Graded meet on Saturday 23rd of February. Galligan currently sits second on the 2013 Irish indoor rankings over 800m and third over 1,500m with a time of 4:14.53. She has previously competed in the 2010 World Indoor Championships in Doha, Qatar.
Tori Pena (Finn Valley AC)
Coach: Greg Hull
Event: Pole Vault
Irish record holder Tori Pena equalled her own national record of 4.45m in the pole vault at a meeting in Flagstaff, Arizona on the 16th of February. Pena had first time clearances at 4.25m, 4.35m and 4.45m before exiting the competition at 4.55m. Qualification for the final in Gothenburg has to be the ultimate focus now for Pena.