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Ireland’s brightest young athletes set for Athlone

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Ireland’s brightest young athletes set for Athlone

Ireland’s brightest young talent will be on show at the Irish Life Health National Indoor Junior and U23 Championships this Sunday in Athlone IT (January 29).

The track and field stars of the summer will be back in action indoors looking to set their stall out for another big year ahead while the club athletes will be looking for personal bests and the lofty achievement of an All-Ireland medal.

Marcus Lawler (SLOT), Kevin McGrath (Bohermeen), Gina-Akpe Moses (Blackrock – Louth), Molly Scott (SLOT) and Michaela Walsh (Swinford) are among those slated to compete with action to be live streamed by nTrai on the Athletics Ireland YouTube channel.

Below is a preview of the day’s action. For a list of the entries click HERE

Carlow cannonball and world junior relay lead the sprints

Marcus Lawler (SLOT) is the lead entrant in the men’s U23 60m but hasn’t always had it all his own way over the short sprint as he has in the 200m – his specialist event. Callan Byrne (Kilkenny City Harriers) and Eoin Doherty (Tallaght) could be among those to challenge Lawler. Luke Morris (Newbridge), Jack Manning (Kilkenny City Harriers) and Jack Dempsey (Galway City Harriers) are amongst the junior 60m sprinters listed.

Ciara Neville (Emerald), Gina Akpe-Moses (Blackrock – Louth) and Molly Scott (SLOT) are entered in what should be an enthralling junior women’s 60m – the trio were part of the 4x100m relay squad that finished fifth alongside Sharlene Mawdsley (Newport) at the World Junior Athletics Championships last summer. Mawdsley is down for the 200m where she started her breakthrough 2016 with victory in this event. Akpe-Moses will be looking to challenge.  

Sarah McCarthy (Mid Sutton) listed in the U23 women’s 60m and 200m should feature strongly in both events where Cliodhna Manning (Kilkenny City Harriers) and Sophie Becker (St Joseph’s) should also figure.

2 lap wonders to provide excitement

The 400m is one of the best events indoors and it promises to deliver on some exciting races with Brandon Arrey (Blarney/Inniscara), Zak Irwin (Sligo) and Paul White  (Nenagh Olympic) among those in the U23 men’s.

World Junior representative Mollie O’Reilly (DSD) will be the favourite in the junior women’s 400m while Christopher O’Donnell (North Sligo) and Tony Odubote (Ennis Track) will be in contention in the junior men’s. Jenna Bromell (Emerald) is the outstanding in favourite in the U23 women’s 400m.

Middle distance action

The junior women’s 800m has no clear favourite but has the likes of Annie O’Connor (Kilkenny City Harriers) and Aoife Darby (Mullingar Harriers) in a competitive line-up. UCD’s Alannah Lally should have too much for her rivals in the U23 race.

Roland Surlis (Annalee) is an excellent championship racer and he’ll be looking to show his savvy in the U23 men’s 800m while Mark Milner (Tullamore Harriers), Niall Harvey (SLOT) and Conall Hayes (Le Cheile) will be in contention in the junior men’s race.

Middle distance maestro Kevin McGrath (Bohermeen) has a heavy arsenal with the Meath youngster a comfortable favourite in the junior men’s 1500m. The U23 men’s 1500m includes Kevin Kelly (St Coca’s) and Raheny Shamrock pair Eoin Strutt and Cillian Kirwan.

In the junior women’s 1500m Carla Sweeney should have too much speed and strength for her rivals while Alison Armstrong (DCH) and Jessica Coyne (Dooneen) head the entries in the U23 women’s 1500m.

Scott leads high hurdle entries

Molly Scott (SLOT) and Daniel Ryan (Moycarkey Coolcroo) will be aiming to bag the junior 60m hurdles titles. The U23 women’s race features Kate Doherty (DSD) and Anna McIlmoyle (City of Lisburn) while Matthew Behan (Crusaders) and Andrew Creamer (Annalee) are among the lead entrants in the U23 men’s high hurdles.

Walking tall

Gearóid McMahon (Shannon A.C.) will be one of the favourites in the junior men’s 3k Walk while    Anthony Tobin, Evan Lynch (both Clonmel A.C.) and Andrew Bell (Castlebar A.C.) will be prominent in the U23 men’s 3k Walk.

Anna O'Connor and Orla O’Connor (both Waterford A.C.) are amongst those in the junior women’s 3k Walk with Veronica Burke (Ballinasloe & District) in the U23 race.

Jumping for glory

The junior men’s high jump should be a good competition with Ryan Carthy Walshe (Adamstown A.C.), Joseph McEvoy (Nenagh Olympic A.C.) and Dion Ryan (Waterford A.C.) among those listed. Daena Kealy (St Abban’s) is a leading entrant in the junior women’s high jump.

Ellen McCartney (City of Lisburn) and Sarah Derham (Lusk) will do battle in the junior women’s pole vault with Muireann McGinley (Celtic) set to take U23 gold.   

 Conor Bermingham (Raheny Shamrock) and Brian Flynn (Lusk) will battle in the U23 men’s pole vault with a good entry in the junior men’s competition.

Sarah McCarthy (Mid Sutton) is also in the U23 long jump and Vivian Fleischer (Celbridge) will also be in contention. Keith Marks (Clonliffe Harriers) and Sam Healy (Leevale) are in the U23 men’s long jump which could lead to big jumps. Janine Boyle (Finn Valley) will be looking to use her speed in the junior women’s long jump while Jordan Hoang (Tullamore Harriers) is listed in the junior men’s long jump and triple jump.

Rachel Bowler (Tralee Harriers) and Cliodhna Blake (St John’s) are among those in the junior women’s triple jump.

Walsh set for another shot put title

There should be no stopping Michaela Walsh (Swinford) in the junior women’s shot put. The Swinford athlete has been impressing domestically and internationally for a number of years now. Multi-event star Daniel Ryan (Moycarkey Coolcroo) is entered in a number of events and should have a solid showing in the junior men’s shot. James Kelly (Finn Valley) will also be a keen contender in the junior men’s while his brother John Kelly will be holding his own in the U23 men’s shot. Deirbhile Ryan (Nenagh Olympic) is one of the favourites in the U23 women’s.  

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