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Purcell set for Hall of Fame at Irish Life Health Awards

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Purcell set for Hall of Fame at Irish Life Health Athletics Awards; Athlete of the year up for Grabs

The dominant figure in women's athletics throughout the 1970's, Mary Purcell, is to be honoured with the Hall of Fame award at this year’s Irish Life Health National Athletics Awards on Thursday November 29th at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Blanchardstown.

It was on a bleak night, in front of a sparse attendance, that Purcell emerged on the national scene at Morton Stadium running 2:04.2 for 800m to qualify for the Olympic Games in Munich in 1972. From there Purcell went on to excel across the range of middle-distance events including two Olympic Games and two European Championships.

The nominations have also been announced for the Irish Life Health awards ceremony which is a celebration of the many successes of Irish athletes during 2018 and commemorates the exceptional volunteer base who are the bedrock of the sport. The Athlete of Year will be selected from the athletes named as winner of the U20, U23, Endurance and Track and Field category.

There were some exceptional performances throughout the summer for athletics. The women led the way showcasing their talents.  Phil Healy set a blistering new Irish 100m record of 11.28 and further cemented her status as Ireland’s fastest woman by following it up with a new 200m record of 22.99. Sommer Lecky soared to a sensational silver medal in the High Jump with a national U20 record of 1.90m at the IAAF World U20 Athletics Championships in Tampere, Finland. This followed on from the silver medal-winning exploits of the U20 women's 4x100m relay team. The quartet of Molly Scott Gina Akpe-Moses, Ciara Neville and Patience Jumbo-Gula struck silver narrowly behind the Germans who ran 43.82 with Great Britain and Northern Ireland third in 44.05.

There was also a strong team performance at the European Athletics Championship in Berlin. Thomas Barr won a historic bronze in the 400m hurdles, ending the 84-year wait for an Irish male sprint medal at a major championships. While Ciara Mageean (1500m) and Leon Reid (200m) reached their respective finals. The women’s 4x100m relay (Phil Healy, Joan Healy, Ciara Neville and Patience Jumbo-Gula) set a new Irish Senior Record, narrowly missing out on a place in the final. 

Other awards that will be presented on the day include, Club of the Year, Services to Coaching, Lifetime Services to Athletics, Official of the Year, and many more.

Athletics Ireland CEO Hamish Adams said: “To receive an Athletics Ireland award is an incredibly special recognition of outstanding contribution to our sport. Athletics in Ireland is linked to the very fabric of our nation and this makes these awards very unique. I would like to congratulate all the award nominees and a big thank you to all our athletics family who contribute so much and so often.”

Liz Rowen, Head of Marketing of Irish Life Health commented: ‘Irish Life Health is delighted to be on board again to support the National Athletics Awards. The event is a true celebration of sporting excellence in Athletics, but it also importantly recognises the many volunteers who provide opportunities for children and adults to take part in athletics and be active.”

U20 Athlete of the Year Nominations

Athlete                        Club

Gina Apke Moses       Blackrock- Louth

Sommer Lecky           Finn Valley AC.

Davicia Patterson        Beechmount Harriers

Aaron Sexton              Calry AC.

U23 Athlete of the Year Nominations

Athlete                        Club

Matthew Behan           Crusaders AC.

Elizabeth Morland       Cushinstown AC.

Stephen Rice              Clonliffe Harriers AC.

Michaela Walsh          Swinford AC.

Endurance Athlete of the Year Nominations

Athlete                        Club

Brendan Boyce           Finn Valley AC.

Mick Clohisey              Raheny Shamrock AC.

Kevin Seaward           St Malachy’s

Alex Wright                  Leevale AC

Track & Field Athlete of the Year Nominations

Athlete                        Club

Thomas Barr               Ferrybank AC.

Phil Healy                   Bandon AC.

Ciara Mageean           U.C.D. AC.

Leon Reid                   Menapians AC.

Irish athletes’ achievements at the European Under-18 Championships will be recognised at the Juvenile Athletics Awards.

For further information of all the nominations and details for tickets to this year’s Irish Life Health National Athletics Awards HERE

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