O’Rourke wins eighth national title

Hurdling star Derval O'Rourke warmed up for her Barcelona bid by securing her eighth national title in the 100m hurdles on the final day of the Woodie's DIY National Senior Track & Field Championships in Santry.

O'Rourke continued her preparations for the European Championships, which will be held in Barcelona between July 27 and August 1, with a comfortable win at the Morton Stadium.

She clocked 13.26 seconds into a headwind of 1.9 metres per second, while her Leevale colleague Edmond O'Halloran, winner of the Woodie's junior title, marked his first run over the higher hurdles with a victory in 15.26 seconds.

400m ace David Gillick took part in the 100m but had to withdraw due to a heel injury. The Dubliner opted out after taking medical advice.

There were wins for Thomas Chamney and Alistair Cragg in the 800m and 5000m respectively. Chamney continued his fine season with a confidence-boosting victory in a time of 1 minute, 48.84 seconds.

Afterwards, he wished his arch rival David Campbell well in his recovery from surgery.

Cragg, running in the colours of Clonliffe Harriers, had quite a duel with Joe Sweeney before breaking away in the closing laps to hit the line first in 14:04.64.

One of the day's most competitive races was in the men's 400m where Gordon Kennedy from Tullamore Harriers beat defending champion Brian Gregan from Clonliffe.

Kennedy timed 46.57 for top spot, with his time good enough to qualify him for Barcelona. Gregan took second (46.89), and the pair are set for European call-ups alongside Gillick.

The women's 800m final was also a closely-fought affair, Roseanne Galligan (2:03.35) from Newbridge having enough in the tank to hold off Lisburn youngster Ciara Mageean (2:05.50) in a sprint finish.

Leevale were victorious in a memorable 400m hurdles final, in which Woodie's junior champion Patrick Maher led from start to finish. Maher, who will compete in the upcoming World Junior Championships, showed impressive strength to hold off defending champion Tom Carey to win in a new personal best time of 51.53 seconds which is a new national junior record.

Robert Heffernan got the better of Jamie Costin to win the 10km walk in a time of 39:07.21, while Rory Chesser from the Ennis Track club successfully defended his steeplechase crown, shaving seven seconds off his previous best when clocking 8:51.95.

Some of the best women's performances came in the sprint events. Reigning champion Ailis McSweeney from Leevale beat all comers in the 100m, finishing clear of Amy Foster in 11.60. The men's 100m title went to Jonathan Holmes of Kilkenny City Harriers (10.71 seconds).

Holmes' Kilkenny compatriot Joanne Cuddihy was relatively untroubled when winning the 400m in 52.76, with Marian Andrews finishing second in 53.55.

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