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Ireland’s next generation set for Athlone


Irish Life Health Junior and U23 Championships

Ireland’s young stars are set to take to the blue boards in Athlone for the Irish Life Health Junior and U23 Indoor Championships on Sunday (January 28).

The Championship will be the first live streamed event of 2018 and there will surely be some new faces to add to those already making their mark. You can get the entries and timetable HERE.

Top sprint talent on show

The sprints have been increasingly making their mark in recent years and providing a host of great races. Ciara Neville (Emerald A.C.) is the lead entrant in the junior women's 60m alongside Lauren Roy (City of Lisburn AC) and Molly Scott (St. L. O'Toole A.C.) who is entered in the 60m and 60m hurdles.

Rhasidat Adeleke (Tallaght A.C.) has been causing a stir the last 12 months with her fantastic performances and she will bid to win the junior women’s 200m gold ahead of multi-event star Katherine O'Connor (Dundalk St. Gerards A.C.) who set an Irish pentathlon record last week.

O’Connor is also entered in the high jump and long jump while Aoife Lynch (Donore Harriers) will look to go from silver last year in the 200m to gold.

Joseph Finnegan Murphy (Dublin Striders A.C.) is among the favourites in the junior men’s 60m while Aaron Sexton (North Down) will be hard to stop in the junior 200m if he is in shape.

Sean O’Driscoll (Raheny Shamrock) and Craig Newell (Ballymena and Antrim) will be ones to watch in the U23 60m and 200m respectively. Sophie Becker (St Joseph’s) drops down to the women’s U23 200m and will be strong over one lap while Ara Freeman (Greystones and District) is in the 60m.

Over two laps, Cathal Locke (Dooneen) and Jamie Mitchell (Emerald) should feature in the junior men’s 400m while the junior women’s is pretty stacked with the likes of Davicia Patterson (Beechmount Harriers), Miriam Daly (Carrick-on-Suir A.C.) and Ciara Deely (Kilkenny City Harriers A.C) on the entry list.

The U23 men’s 400m sees Brandon Arrey (Blarney/Inniscara A.C.), Jamie Pender (St Abbans A.C) and Shane Irwin (Finn Valley) among a host of entrants who could have an impact.

Elizabeth Morland (Cushinstown) dips her toes into U23 competition and will be the favourite in the 60m hurdles and long jump.

Matthew Behan (Crusaders) is improving annually as he develops into the high hurdles and will be confident of gold in the U23 60m hurdles.   

Middle distance Maestros

In the middle distance ranks Stephanie Cotter (West Muskerry A.C.) and Alex O'Neill (St. Cronans A.C.) are entered in both the junior women’s 800m and 1500m. The 1500m also sees the talented Jo Keane (Ennis Track A.C.) and Abbie Taylor (Dundrum South Dublin A.C.) entered.

In the junior men’s 800m Conor O’Driscoll (Leevale), Mark Milner (Tullamore Harriers) and Cian McPhillips (Longford) are among the entrants. Milner is the fastest on the rankings but McPhillips has been in fine form should he run as he is also entered in the 1500m where Adam Fitzpatrick (Kilkenny City Harriers) and Diarmuid McKeown (Dunleer) would be among his challengers.

Alanna Lally (UCD) and Jenna Bromell (Emerald) should be an interesting match-up in the U23 women’s 800m. Lally is in form having finished fourth in the European U23 Championships in the summer and recently running 2:04 at the Kildare Indoor Championships.

The U23 800m is open with Conall Hayes (Le Cheile) and Aengus Meldon (DSD) on the entry list as is the 1500m with Luke McCann (UCD) one that can feature. Fiona Everard (Bandon) will look to use her strength in the U23 women’s 1500m.

Walsh looks to continue to dominate the throws

Michaela Walsh (Swinford) moves up an age to the U23 after a wonderful summer where she won European U20 bronze in the summer. She has been superlative the last few years and is the outstanding favourite in the U23 women’s shot put.

In the junior men’s shot, James Kelly (Finn Valley) and Jack Ryan (Moycarkey Coolcroo) will be looking to go far.  

Hitting the heights

Jospeh McEvoy (Nenagh Olympic) and Ryan Carthy Walshe (Adamstown) will duke it out in what should be an exciting junior men’s high jump while the junior women’s long jump counts Ruby Millet (St Abbans A.C) and Shannon Sheehy (Cushinstown) among the entries.

There is an interesting entry in the junior men’s long jump with talented sprinter David McDonald (Menapians) on the list.

Among the contestants in the junior women’s pole vault are Orla Coffey (Carraig-Na-Bhfear A.C.), Emma Coffey (Carraig-Na-Bhfear A.C.), Sarah Derham (Lusk A.C.), Laura Fallon (Raheny Shamrock A.C.), Erin Fisher (City Lisburn AC) and Ellen McCartney (City of Lisburn AC).

Tadgh Murtagh (Kildare) will be one of the leading contenders in the junior men’s pole vault while Yuri Kanash (West Waterford A.C.) should feature in the U23 section.

In the walks Oisin Lane (Mullingar Harriers A.C.), Adam McInerney (Suncroft A.C.) and Gearoid McMahon (Shannon Shannon A.C) are among the protagonists in the junior men’s 3,000m walk.

Up-and-coming walkers Niamh O'Connor (Celbridge A.C.) and Orla O'Connor (Waterford A.C.) are in the junior women’s. 

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