Denny and Gregan advance to European semis


Denny and Gregan advance to European semis

Ireland’s sprinters got out of the blocks on day 1 of the European Athletics Championships in Amsterdam with Sinead Denny (DSD) and Brian Gregan (Clonliffe Harriers) securing semi-final spots in their respective 400m.

Claire Mooney (Naas) was first out on track for the Irish in the heats of the women’s 400m and she finished 7th in heat 1 in 55.66. “It was tough out there,” said a disappointed Mooney who will now get ready for the women’s 4x400m relay this weekend.

There was contrasting fortune for Sinead Denny (DSD) who was ecstatic with her performance to qualify automatically for the semi-finals finishing third in heat 3 with 53.95 seconds. “I’m delighted with that,” said Denny who coped well with a strong headwind down the back straight. “It was very windy down the back straight and I always find something in the last 100m to pull through. I’ll go again tomorrow.”

Brian Gregan was the best of the men’s 400m runners – he finished 5th in his heat in 47.02 from lane 1 to qualify for the semi-finals as a fastest non-automatic qualifier. “The main thing was to get through to the semi-finals in what were difficult conditions for everyone,” commented Gregan afterwards.

There wasn’t such luck for Craig Lynch (Shercock) and David Gillick (DSD) in their respective heats – Lynch finished 7th in heat 1 in 47.61 and Gillick finished 8th in heat 2 in 47.81.

“I got out hard over the first 150m but I just didn’t quite have it in the home straight,” said Gillick whose main priority is the relay this weekend and securing a qualifying berth for the team at the Olympics in Rio. “It’s great to be back here given where I’ve come from,” continued the Irish 400m record holder. “The main priority this week is the relay and I’ll look after myself over the next 48 hours and get ready for a big weekend.

High Performance Director Kevin Ankrom was satisfied with the morning session. “We pushed a couple through the rounds and that was expected. We’ll get ready for the afternoon session and build from here.”

Olive Loughnane will be presented with her retrospective World Championships 20km Race Walk gold medal from Berlin 2009 at the medal presentation zone this evening at 7:15pm Irish time. There is a special medal presentation area just outside the main stadium for these championships and it promises to be a memorable occasion.

In this evening’s session Thomas Barr (Ferrybank) and Paul Byrne (St Abban’s) compete in the men’s 400m hurdles, Tomas Cotter (Dunleer) competes in the men’s 3,000m steeplechase, Siofra Cleirigh-Buttner (DSD) goes in the women’s 800m heats and Tara Jameson (Sli Cualann) and Fionnuala McCormack (Kilcoole) are in the women’s 10,000m final at 6pm. Check the full Irish schedule HERE 

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