IUAA Indoor Championships 2024 Preview
A record-high entry of 550 student athletes will take to the National Sports Campus this Saturday, 10th February for the 32nd edition of the Irish Universities Indoor Track and Field Championship Championships. With team points the main aim for each competitor it will be sure to serve up some intense competition in the hunt for the John Pius Boland Cup and The Maeve Kyle Cup awarded to the winning Men’s and Women’s teams.
Dublin City University were the victors in both the Men’s and Women’s competition last year. Should they wish to retain their titles they will need to keep a keen eye on the progress of University of Limerick and University College Dublin. This trio of colleges will expect to be at the business end of each event. The Technical Universities fresh from the IUAA debut at the Road Relays will be a welcome addition to the team competition. Munster Technological University look to be the pick of that selection of contenders.
Defending Women’s 60m champion Cressida Antwi Amaniampong (MU) will look to retain her title, but she will have Katie Bergin (UCC) to contend with the Cork student, who also goes in the 200m, will be buoyed by her recent successes at the National u23 Championships. Jenny Sawyer (UL) was a surprise champion over the one lap event last year and she is listed this year. 400m specialists Caoimhe Cronin (DCU) and Blanaid Fogarty (SETU) will hope to populate the medals also in the 200m. Miriam Daly won the 400m title last year in a remarkable race. She will have familiar opposition from Lauren McCourt (UCC) and Charlotte Bourke (TCD) who were also in that great race last year where 0.5 secs separated 1st to 4th. Niamh O’Neill (DCU) and Arabella Adekoya (SETU) should serve up a brilliant tussle in the 60mh.
The Men’s 60m may well be the pick of the events across the 8 hours of competition. Gabriel Kehinde (TUS), Paul Costelloe (SETU), Colin Doyle (MTU) and Bori Akinola (UCD) will all feel that a win is well within their grasp. They will need to be on their toes however with Nkemjika Onwumereh (DCU) has made winning a habit this indoors season. Mark Smyth is the standout name in the 200m event. The New Media masters student will be wary of his DCU teammate Ciarán Carthy and the University of Galway pair of Robert McDonnell and Andrew Egan. Jack Raftery will not return to defend his 400m crown this championships. Eoin Kenny (UL), Joe Doody (UCD) and Aaron Keane (UG) look to be the main suitors to the title. Adam Nolan (SETU) graduates into the world of Universities athletics and will look to keep his form red hot as he tackles the 60mh.
Susie Nestor and Renee Crotty of UCD may well have hopes of a 1-2 finish in the Women’s 800m event. They will hope to have enough to fend off Shauna Leydon (UG) and Sarah Lane (DCU). Fiona Everard holds every National cross-country title there is to hold in Ireland, but she will probably revel on the Abbottstown boards as she is entered in both the 1500m and 3000m events. With the timetable barely allowing for a challenging double it may be likely to see her specialise in just one. Eimear Maher (UCC) is a likely contender in the 1500m also as is the 4 strong UCD team. Aoife O’Cuill and Avril Millerick of DCU from the main opposition over the longer event. Ciara Wilson Bowen and Ciara Mooney will hope to continue DCU’s dominance in the Women’s walks of late.
The Men’s 800m is wide open. UG’s Kyle Moorehead is the only returning finalist. The event has served up some tactical affairs in recent editions serving as the perfect environment for someone to make a name for themselves. UL’s Mark Hanrahan would love to add the indoor 1500m title to the outdoor title he earned last April. Pierre Murchan (TCD) is an IUAA veteran who will no doubt pose a huge challenge to the Limerick student. The 3000m event sees the National u20 and u23 Cross Country champions Niall Murphy and Oisín Spillane (both UL) toe the line together. They will have UCD’s Jonas Stafford for company. Stafford has raced well indoors this season and may have Darragh McElhinney’s Championship Record in his sights. Jake O’Brien (UL) and Matthew Glennon (DCU) served up a classic in the Walk at the National u23 Championships last month. The shorter 2000m distance will be the task at hand for the pair who may well be in a battle for the minor medals should UL’s Oisín Lane be able transfer his form from the roads late last year to the track.
Lauren Callaghan of DCU set an IUAA record to win the Long Jump title last year. That mark way well needs to be revised this year should she wish to fend off the challenge of Sophie Meredith (UL) the pair both breached the 6m barrier at AAI Games. Meredith will also tackle the Triple Jump which lacks a real standout favourite. The opposite is true of the High Jump where Daena Kealy’s 1.82m jump in Loughborough last weekend places her in pole position to claim the title for DCU. The Pole Vault title looks likely to go the way of Emma Coffey of UCC if she can vault to her current form.
There is only one name on everyone’s lips in Irish jumping circles and he is due to take his place in the Men’s Long Jump this weekend. MTU’s Reece Ademola will surely have the 8m barrier in his mind when he takes to the runway. His teammate Adam Turner and the UL pair of Joe Miniter and Luke O’Carroll may well be his biggest opposition. Miniter and O’Carroll also return for the Triple Jump event where DCU’s Leon Sweeney will hope to upgrade last year’s silver to gold. Reece Ademola is a proficient High Jumper also and he will hope to claim that title also. Again it may be his MTU teammate who poses the biggest challenge. Combined Eventers Ben Donovan and Jack Forde (DCU) will hope to be in the mix. Donovan and Forde are entered in the Pole Vault also where the specialists Conor Callinan (DCU) and Aaron Malik (UL) will hope to benefit from fresher legs.
Ciara Sheehy (DCU) and Niamh Fogarty (TUS) are the most notable names in the Women’s Shot Put. They will have Combined Eventer Laura Frawley of UL for company in that event who also will hope to claim the Weight for Distance title having broken the National u23 record in January.
Darragh Miniter (UL) won the Men’s Shot Putt title last year and he headlines a formidable collection of throwers who will tackle both the Shot Putt and 35lb Weight for Distance events. Robert Higgins of Maynooth University has plenty of pedigree in both as does UCC’s Padraig Hore.
Laura Frawley (UL) headlines the Women’s Pentathlon entries that features a small but very accomplished field. Her Limerick teammates Louise King and Blaithín Ní Chiaráin, DCU’s Niamh McCorry and the Cork pair of Orla Coffey (UCC) and Lily O’Riordan (MTU) will ensure a high standard of competition.
Jack Forde is the master of all events. The DCU student claimed 9 medals between Indoor and Outdoor IUAA competition last year and will hope to have a similar haul this time out. His DCU teammate Jordan Knight and Alex Ademola of MTU will aim to keep Forde honest as he aims to continue his recent streak of multis-masterclasses.
This year sees the Mixed 4x400m Relay make its debut in IUAA competitions. With 8 teams entered it should be a great cause for excitement as the penultimate event in the programme. Expect the depth of UL, UCD and DCU’s programmes to be and advantage to those colleges.
The 4x200m relays will round out the programme as athletes leave everything on the line for the final points. In the Women’s event University of Limerick seem to have the pick of the quartets as do the University of Galway in the Men’s.
With final declarations not needed until 90 minutes before each event there will be an added element of tension and suspense throughout the day as teams may swap athletes or call upon pre-declared subs during the day.
Action gets underway from 10:15am and will be streamed in full on Athletics Ireland’s YouTube Channel.
- Live stream on the Athletics Ireland YouTube