Day 1 titles go to Walsh, Mockler, and Walsh
The 149th consecutive Irish Life Health National Athletics Championships got underway at an overcast Morton Stadium this afternoon. Day 1 of the National Championships saw three field event titles up for grabs, while the track athletes were in heat action as they looked to book their places in tomorrow’s finals.
Medals for the Women’s Hammer were first to be presented following a spectacular show of consistent throwing from the podium placers. Michaela Walsh (Swinford AC) looked back to her brilliant best in regaining the women’s title with a throw of 62.64. The Swinford AC athlete saw her first five throws all breaking the 60m mark, with her sixth and final throw just short (59.87). Walsh was pushed all the way by Bandon AC athlete Nicola Tuthill who continued her own stunning season with a 61.55 PB. Adrienne Gallen (Lifford Strabane AC) rounded off the impressive performances with a 51.23 PB for bronze.
The Men’s title went to Sean Mockler (Moycarkey Coolcroo A.C.) with his second-round throw of 67.18 securing the gold. Mockler turned the tables on Brendan O`Donnell of Lifford Strabane A.C. who secured the U23 title last weekend. O’Donnell threw 61.72 this week to claim silver, with Simon Galligan taking the bronze back to Clonliffe Harriers with a 59.74.
The Women’s Pole Vault was witness to some brilliant competition in increasingly cold conditions. Clodagh Walsh (Abbey Striders A.C.) claimed gold with a 3.45 which she cleared on her second attempt. Una Brice (Leevale A.C.) and Ciara Hickey (Blarney/Inniscara A.C.) pushed Walsh all the way with both bowing out with 3.35 vaults for silver and bronze respectively.
Chris O’Donnell secured his place in tomorrow’s 400m final as he looks to make it 4 senior titles in a row. The North Sligo AC athlete looked controlled throughout and crossed the line in the fastest time from the heats with 47.45.
Phil Healy (Bandon AC) is also safely through to tomorrow’s 400m final on the back of her 55.23 which was enough to win her heat. Sharlene Mawdsley (Newport AC) clocked the fastest time of the women’s heats with a comfortable first place in 55:16.
The Men’s 1500m saw an impressive performance from Kevin Kelly of St Cocas who left nothing to chance in booking his place in tomorrow’s final which will be live on RTE 1 at 17.20pm. Kelly went through to the final with the fastest heat time of 3:53:93. A host of familiar names also booked their place in the final including Andrew Coscoran (Star of the Sea AC), Darragh McElhinney (UCD AC), and John Travers (Donore Harriers).
Sarah Healy (UCD) and Niamh Kearney (Raheny Shamrock) were first across the line in their respective 1500m heats. 4:38 was the winning time for both athletes and they will be joined in the final by several who will have eyes on the podium including Ellie Hartnett, Roisin Flanagan, Nadia Power and Michelle Finn.
Deirdre Murray (Na Fianna AC) ran from the front and booked her place in the 400m Hurdle’s final with a convincing 1:02.11 in heat 1. Kelly McGrory (Tír Chonaill A.C.) was first home in the second heat in a time of 1:02.63.
Georgie Hartigan (DSD AC) and Jenna Bromell (Emerald AC) posted the joint fastest times in the 800m heats, crossing the line in 2:10:97. Claire Mooney (Naas AC), Louise Shanahan (Leevale AC) and Siofra Cleirigh Buttner all also made it safely through to the 800m final tomorrow.
Luke McCann (UCD AC) looked very controlled as he booked his place in tomorrow’s 800m. McCann clocked 1:51:31 and the fastest time posted in the 800m heats. Louis O’Loughlin, John Fitzsimons, Roland Surlis, Kevin McGrath, Colin Smith, Cillian Kirwan, Eoin Quinn, Mark Milner, and Robert Hewison all return for tomorrow’s final.
Day 2 starts bright and early tomorrow with the Men’s 100m sprinters taking to the track for 10.30.
Day 2 Preview: Click here