Curtain comes down on 149th consecutive National Championships


Phil Healy (Bandon AC) and Rhasidat Adeleke (Tallaght AC) provided the race of the weekend on day 3 of the Irish Life Health National Track Field Championships at a sun-drenched Morton Stadium this afternoon. The 200m final was always likely to be a thriller with yesterday’s 100m and 400m champions clashing in today’s final.

Having shared the 200m NR between them over the last year, both the Tallaght and Bandon AC athletes were always going to threaten the 22.96, and they did just that with Healy crossing the line in a stunning 22.83 from Adeleke in 22.84.

Ecstasy turned to agony shortly after however, with the wind gauge reading 2.1 which resulted in the time not qualifying as a new national record. That didn’t take away from the spectacular nature of the performances which rocketed Irish sprinting to another level with these two women leading the way.

Catherine McManus (Dublin City Harriers AC) ran yet another brilliant race this weekend to claim the bronze in 23.57.

Leon Reid (Menapians AC) blasted out of the blocks to take the Men’s 200m title in 20.79. It looked like it was going to be a tight race on paper and it proved to be the case with Marcus Lawler (Clonliffe Harriers) looking as though he might hold onto his 100m lead coming into the home straight. Reid found another gear however and crossed the line to claim the title in 20.79. Mark Smyth (Raheny Shamrock AC) stayed on well at the finish to win silver in 20.97 with Lawler having to settle for third in 20.99.

All eyes were on Limerick’s Sarah Lavin in the Women’s 100mH, with Lavin taking to the blocks in the form of her life having posted the first sub 13 second of her career earlier this month. The Emerald AC continued her blistering run of performances to claim gold in 13.17 as she again strengthened her Olympic hopes.

Kate Doherty (DSD AC) finished in a big PB of 13.48 to claim silver in a close battle with Athletics Ireland Women in Sport Officer Lilly-Ann O’Hora (Dooneen AC) who crossed in 13.60 for third.

The Men’s 110m Hurdles provided another historic milestone for Gerard O’Donnell (Carrick-on-Shannon AC) who secured his fifth national title in a row. The race saw O’Donnell and Matthew Behan (Crusaders AC) neck and neck heading to the final two hurdles before O’Donnell powered clear to claim the title in 14.04. Behan will feel a little unlucky with a couple of hurdles taking some of his momentum coming into the final 50m (14.20). Iarlaith Golding (St. Colmans South Mayo AC) was third in 14.61.

The endurance athletes were back on track in the Men’s 10,000m for the penultimate event of this 149th consecutive Irish Track and Field Championships. Hiko Tonosa (Dundrum South Dublin AC) completed the impressive distance double to claim the 10,000m title having taken the 5,000m less than 24 hours previous. Tonosa showed no ill effects from yesterday’s exploits opening up a sizable lead with 6 laps to go, reeling off 2 minute 50 last kilometre to cross the line in 29.41.

The ever-consistent Paul O’Donnell (Dundrum South Dublin AC) joined clubmate Tonosa on the podium for second, while Cormac Dalton (Mullingar Harriers AC) secured the bronze for Mullingar.

The first medals on day 3 went the way of the athletes in the Women’s Javelin following some brilliant competition which saw the top three athletes all within .02m of each other. Grace Casey (Eire Og Corra Choill AC) claimed the gold medal with a 42.85m on her penultimate throw. Leanne Healy (Marian AC) also finished on 42.85m to claim silver, while Elizabeth Morland (Cushinstown AC) took home bronze with a 42.83m.

Conor Cusack (Lake District AC) backed up last weekend’s U23 title to take the senior Javelin title in a brilliant battle for gold (72.13m NL). Stephen Rice (Clonliffe Harriers AC) was second in 71.05m, and Gareth Crawford (Lifford Strabane) third 64.59. Javelin fans will no doubt be already looking forward to future Javelin competitons and the prospect of Cusack taking on Rice once again.

Saragh Buggy (St. Abbans AC) set a new 13.28m championship record in the Women’s Triple Jump. The St Abbans athlete produced a consistent round of jumping (3 jumps over 13m) and once again claimed gold to add to yesterday’s national title in the Long Jump competition. Grace Furlong (Waterford AC) finished second with 12.37m, while Aisling MacHugh (Naas AC) was third with a 11.39m jump.

The Men’s Triple Jump went the way of Conall Mahon (Tír Chonaill AC) who takes home the gold medal following a penultimate jump of 14.38m.  Joshua Knox (City of Lisburn AC) was second in 13.41m, with Jordan Hoang (Tullamore Harriers AC) third in 13.35m.

Michaela Walsh (Swinford AC) kept her best throw of the season for her final attempt of today’s Shot-Put final. The Swinford AC athlete claimed the senior crown with a 15.66 having thrown 15.56 twice in her previous rounds to compete an impressive weekend which also saw her claim the Hammer title yesterday.

Casey Mulvey (Inny Vale AC) was second with a best of 14.95m with some of her momentum hindered with a couple of fouled attempts. Alana Frattaroli (Limerick AC) was third with 12.70m.

Finn Valley dominated the Men’s Shot Put with Gavin McLaughlin (Finn Valley AC) 16.51m and James Kelly (Finn Valley AC) 16.42m claiming the top two spots on the podium in a close fought battle for gold. Sean Breathnach (Galway City Harriers AC) added to his medal haul with a bronze medal for his 16.13 throw.

Breathnach also added another WFH title to his collection with a throw of 4.70m for the Galway City Harriers athlete.

The Women’s High Jump was another super competition with Philippa Rogan (Sli Cualann AC) continuing her great season to clear 1.79m for gold. Aoife O`Sullivan (Liscarroll AC) cleared 1.75m for silver, equalling the height that secured the junior title for her last weekend. Ciara Kennelly (Killarney Valley AC) impressed once again and walked away with bronze for her 1.70m jump.

The first of the track finals on Sunday was the Women’s 5,000m Walk where West Waterford AC athlete Kate Veale went solo from the gun to retain the title in 24.14.65. Niamh O’Connor (Celbridge AC) was second, Veronica Burke (Ballinasloe & District) in third. Jerome Caprice (Dundrum South Dublin AC) bettered his 4th place last year to collect gold in the Men’s 10,000m walk in 46:39.48.

This year’s championships concluded with the Men’s and Women’s 4 x 400m Relays which saw the Irish U20 relay team claim the U20 European relay standard with a 3.42.51, while Ratoath secured the national relay title in 3.43.70 (Aisling Stratford, Laura Kelly, Aimee Doherty, and Aobh Forde)

The Men’s relay title went to the Emerald AC team of Jamie Mitchell, Sean McCarthy, Rory Prendeville, and Gavin Dillon.

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