Blend of youth and experience travel to European Indoors
Ireland's team goes into the European Indoor Championships in Belgrade March 3rd-5th with a mix of youth and experience.
Ciara Mageean (UCD) looks like being the main hope for a medal in the women's 1500m but it will be a tough ask for the Portaferry native. Scotland's Laura Muir, competing for Great Britain, is the best female distance runner in the world on current form and will be the overwhelming favourite for the 1500m and 3,000m. There will be significant competition for the minor medals.
Ciara Neville (Emerald) and Zak Curran (DSD) are making their international debuts at senior level in the 60m and 800m alongside a number of athletes looking to gain experience in the start of the next Olympic cycle.
Personal best and season best performances along with advancing through the rounds will be key motivators for the ten Irish athletes. Amy Foster (City of Lisburn) had to withdraw.
Brian Gregan (Clonliffe Harriers) is rounding into shape and will be hoping to put in a good performance in the men's 400m while John Travers (Donore Harriers) will be looking to replicate his performance in Prague in 2015 and make the men's 1500m final.
Personal best: 4:08.66
Coach: Jerry Kiernan
Ciara Mageean announced herself as a hot prospect for the future when she won a silver medal over 1500m at the World Junior Athletics Championships in Moncton, Canada in 2010 but injury has curtailed her full development. The UCD physiotherapy graduate has shown flashes of brilliance winning bronze at the European outdoors in Amsterdam last summer.
Personal best: 4:14.63
Coach: Richard Rodgers
O’Flaherty has been a consistent performer on the track and has been part of Irish teams that have medalled at the European Cross Country Championships. This will be her debut at the European Indoors after Olympic debut last summer in the 3,000m steeplechase.
Personal best: 7.30
Coach: Noelle Morrissey
Ciara Neville bounced back to top form this indoor season and equalled the national senior 60m indoor record to win the national junior title in Athlone. The time was also a national junior record and European indoor
qualifying time. Neville was part of the 4x100m team that finished fifth at the World Junior Athletics Championships in Poland last summer. This will be the 17-year-old’s first senior major international.
Personal best: 7.31/53.49
Coach: Shane McCormack
Phil Healy has had a good indoor season to date with multiple personal bests. The Bandon athlete will be focusing on the 400m where she won the national title last month in 53.49 seconds – a personal best performance.
Personal Best: 53.57
Coach: Paul Opperman
Sinead Denny has run consistently under the European Indoor standard of 53.75 seconds this season. The DSD athlete made the semi-finals of the European outdoor championships in Amsterdam and will be looking to build on her championship experience.
Club: Donore Harriers
Personal best: 3:41.37
Coach: Jerry Kiernan
John Travers is in the 1500m and he will be aiming to replicate his performance from the last edition in Prague by making the final. He is rounding into shape having run a 4:02 mile at the Athlone Grand Prix and
then winning the national 1500m title.
Club: North Down
Event: 60m hurdles
Personal best: 7.73
Coach: Tom Reynolds
Ben Reynolds is a classy hurdler when in top gear. This will be his first European indoor championships having competed at the World Indoor Championships in Istanbul in 2012. Coached by his brother Tom, he will be aiming for a personal best.
Club: Clonliffe Harriers
Personal best: 46.07
Coach: John Shields
Brian Gregan is an experienced campaigner and is ranked 10th on the European indoor list with his 46.59 seconds that he set to win the national indoor 400m title. Gregan has been getting quicker with every race and will be looking to take it round by round in Belgrade.
Personal best: 1:48.43
Coach: Alasdair Donaldson
This will be Zak Curran’s international debut for Ireland and he will be hoping for a good performance and advance past the first round. Curran, based in Texas for the year, has good leg speed with an outdoor 400m
personal best of 46.96 and also set an indoor personal best of 48.28 last month.
Personal best: 7:56.17
Coach: Furman elite/David Carrie
Tomas Cotter is more commonly a steeplechaser with two national titles to his name but is adept on the flat with a 3:58.50 mile. Cotter competed at the European Championships last summer in the steeplechase and this will be his first international on the flat. He qualified with a personal best on the deadline for selection.
Irish timetable (Irish time)
8:45: Phil Healy and Sinead Denny 400m women heats
9:20: Brian Gregan 400m men heats
10:35: Zak Curran 800m men round 1
12:20: Ben Reynolds 60m hurdles men round 1
15:45: Ben Reynolds 60m hurdles men semi-final
16:05: Ciara Mageean and Kerry O’Flaherty 1500m women round 1
16:45: Phil Healy and Sinead Denny 400m women semi-final
17:05: Brian Gregan 400m men semi-final
17:25: Tomas Cotter 3,000m men round 1
18:15: John Travers 1500m men round 1
19:10: Ben Reynolds 60m hurdles men final
8:45: Ciara Neville and Phil Healy 60m women’s heat
18:25: Zak Curran 800m men semi-final
18:45 Ciara Mageean 1500m women final
19:18 John Travers 1500m men final
15:00 Ciara Neville and Phil Healy 60m women semi-final
15:55: Tomas Cotter 3,000m men final
16:50 Zak Curran 800m men final
17:10 Ciara Neville and Phil Healy 60m women final
European Indoor Championships medallists
1966 400m Maeve Kyle BRONZE 57.3
1966 800m Noel Carroll GOLD 1.49.7
1967 800m Noel Carroll GOLD 1.49.6
1968 800m Noel Carroll GOLD 1.56.66
1969 800m Noel Carroll BRONZE 1.47.6
1970 1,500m Frank Murphy SILVER 3.49.0
1979 1,500m Eamonn Coghlan GOLD 3.41.8
1980 1,500m Ray Flynn SILVER 3.38.5
1980 1,500m Mary Purcell BRONZE 4.14.2
1985 1,500m Marcus O’Sullivan SILVER 3.39.75
2000 1,500m James Nolan SILVER 3.41.59
2000 3,000m Mark Carroll GOLD 7.49.24
2002 400m Karen Shinkins BRONZE 52.17
2005 400m David Gillick GOLD 46.30
2005 3,000m Alistair Cragg GOLD 7.46.32
2007 400m David Gillick GOLD 45.52
2009 60m Hurdles Derval O’Rourke BRONZE 7.97
2009 1500m Roisin McGettigan BRONZE 4.11.58
2009 3,000m Mary Cullen BRONZE 8.48.47
2013 3,000m Ciarán Ó Lionáird BRONZE 7.50.26
2013 3,000m Fionnuala Britton BRONZE 9.00.54
2013 60m Hurdles Derval O’Rourke BRONZE 7.95
2015 800m Mark English SILVER 1.47.20