Increased depth on display at National Indoors
Increased depth on display at National Indoors
The Irish Life Health National Senior Indoor Championships will see some star athletes set to compete this weekend (February 29/ March 1) but even more encouraging there will be increased depth - in terms of quantity and quality.
The increased depth should most certainly be seen in the sprints with an encouraging increased entry on the women’s side.
Depth in quality and quantity in sprints
The women’s sprint events should prove to be very exciting with Phil Healy (Bandon) putting herself on the line in the 60m and 200m for the young guns such as Ciara Neville (Emerald) and Rhasidat Adeleke (Tallaght) to have a cut off.
Healy has shown the best range right up to the 400m (she set a championship best performance last year of 52.81) and it will be an exciting women’s 60m with her sister Joan Healy (Leevale) who tops the rankings with 7.31 seconds also amongst a host of contenders.
It looks like a two-way tussle for gold in the women’s 200m should Phil Healy and Rhasidat Adeleke both take on the one-lap event. Healy set a national record of 23.10 at the AIT International earlier this month.
That should then see another duel in the 400m between Sophie Becker (St Joseph’s) and Sharlene Mawdsley (Newport) with a good entry in the two-lap event. Entries are up in the women’s 200m and 400m which is a welcome sign.
Dean Adams (Ballymena & Antrim) has rolled back the years and scorched to 6.73 seconds in the men’s 60m to top the rankings. Adams first appeared at the national indoors when it was held in the Odyssey Arena in Belfast and his return to form has raised the overall level in the event where one mistake will cost you the race. Jeremy Phillips (Clonliffe Harriers) and Christian Robinson (City of Lisburn) are in the top 3 in the rankings but the entries include a host of talent such as Marcus Lawler (SLOT).
The 200m is headed by Marcus Lawler with 20.92 with Mark Smyth (Raheny Shamrock) last year’s silver medallist hoping to go one better. He’s in good form having run 21.29 and a recent 60m pb of 6.85 at the Leinster Indoors.
The men’s 400m provided plenty of fireworks and national headlines last year and should hopefully provide more fireworks even with what looks like the absence of Thomas Barr (Ferrybank) who comfortably leads the standings with his 46.44 in Athlone.
Andrew Mellon (Crusaders) is the next fastest with 47.94 with Emerald’s Kieron Lugwig third fastest with 48.19m. The national championships is the place to raise your game though and there should be a great race to the break.
Openings in the middle distance
There appears to be plenty of opportunity in the middle-distance races with Ciara Mageean (City of Lisburn), Siofra Cleirigh Buttner (DSD) and Mark English (UCD) all reportedly not competing.
Absence brings opportunity and Nadia Power (DCH) who has been on the rise the last 12 months keen to take advantage in the women’s 800m with Ciara Everard (UCD) and Amy O’Donoghue (Emerald) amongst the contenders in the 1500m and 3,000m. Again there is plenty of scope for podium positions with decent entries in all events.
Zak Curran (DSD) raced well in the AIT International over 600m and tops the standings in the 800m with 1:48.80. Other contenders should include Conall Kirk (Annadale Striders), Mark Milner (UCD) and Roland Surlis (Annalee).
Andrew Coscoran (Star of the Sea) has had a breakthrough indoor season to lead the 1500m rankings but Eoin Pierce (Clonliffe Harriers) caused a stir last year by winning the metric mile title.
There is a big entry for the men’s 3,000m with John Travers (Donore Harriers) and Hiko Tonosa (DSD) among the leading contenders. They will have to deal with heats this year also.
In the race walks, Kate Veale (West Waterford A.C.) and Alex Wright (Leevale A.C.) will be keen to sharpen up and retain their respective 3,000m and 5,000m titles. Brendan Boyce (Finn Valley) will be looking to sharpen his speed after his 50km heroics at the World Championships in Doha.
Kate Doherty (DSD) won the 60m hurdles title last year but will face stiff competition once more from Molly Scott (SLOT) and Sarah Quinn (St Colman’s South Mayo) who continues to get better. We will await the result with interest.
Matthew Behan (Crusaders), last year’s champion, is out so that leaves an open space for a new winner for 2020. Gerard O’Donnell (Carrick on Shannon) is the reigning outdoor champion but is yet to open his account. It should prove an intriguing event.
Jumping for podium position
Ruby Millet (St Abban’s) was one of the youngest winners last year topping the women’s long jump with 6.20m entries while Shane Howard (Bandon) won the men’s long jump with 7.44m. 18 women entries
Saragh Buggy (St Abban’s) will look to continue her dominance in the women’s triple jump and retain her title while also being listed in the long jump. Mark Burton (Queens University AC) will also be aiming to retain his title which he won last year with a best of 14.29m.
Sommer Lecky (Finn Valley) edged Pippa Rogan (Sli Cualann) last year in the women’s high jump which has 11 entries and should have good depth.
The men’s high jump sees David Cussen (Old Abbey) and Ciaran Connolly (Le Cheile) lead the standings but don’t discount the likes of Nelvin Appiah (Longford) Geoffrey Joy O’Regan (Sun Hill Harriers).
Ellen McCartney (City of Liburn) has the highest clearance in the women’s pole vault entries with a host of others competing for national medals including Ariel Lieghio (Clonliffe Harriers). Matthew Callinan Keenan (SLOT) is the lead entry in the men’s pole vault along with Yuri Kanash (West Waterford) but entries also include last year’s winner Michael Bowler (Enniscorthy).
Walsh and Breathnach look for show of strength once more
There is a decent sized entry in the women’s shot put with Michaela Walsh (Swinford) looking to retain her title but should face good competition from the likes of Lystus Ebosele (UCD) and Ciara Sheehy (Emerald).
Sean Breathnach (Galway City Harriers A.C.) loves the national championships and competes with aplomb and consistency – he’ll be looking to add another gold to his trophy cabinet in the men’s shot put.