O’Donnell helps Ireland maintain FL status

O’Donnell helps Ireland maintain FL status

An inspired performance by Sligo’s Chris O’Donnell helped Ireland maintain their place in the First League of the European Team Championships in Sandnes, Norway over the weekend.

The 21-year-old took second in the men’s 400m in 46.70 behind world U-20 champion Jonathan Sacoor of Belgium on Saturday, and O’Donnell was back in action yesterday to anchor the Irish men’s 4x400m team to victory.

Going into that final event, Ireland were eighth of 11 nations and needed to run faster than Hungary to maintain their status and avoid relegation. O’Donnell took the baton in front on the final leg and held off the Belgian charge from Sacoor to edge it in 3:08.83. 

A malfunction for the second section meant no times were recorded for Hungary, but Ireland was nonetheless placed seventh overall on 227 points, avoiding relegation by two points.

Mark English was the top individual performer yesterday, the three-time European medallist unleashing a flying finish to take second in the men’s 800m in 1:50.06 behind Hungary’s Balazs Vindics.

“I’m not in my best shape, I was a bit rusty,” said English. “Sometimes you need a good training period to build your base but I’m happy to bring home 10 points for Ireland.”

Thomas Barr was well off his best in the 400m hurdles on Saturday, the Ferrybank athlete finishing fourth in 51.12 after recovering from a recent calf strain. 

Fionnuala McCormack turned in another fine performance to take third in the women’s 5000min 16:02.78, the Kilcoole athlete leading for much of the race before being out-kicked by Romania’s Roxana Barca and Portugal’s Mariana Machado.

In the women’s 4x400m, the Irish quartet of Nessa Millet, Nicole Walsh, Jenna Bromell and Sharlene Mawdsley produced a brilliant run to win their section in 3:35.77, Mawdsley holding off a late charge from Romania’s Andrea Miklos. They finished fourth overall.

Jayme Rossiter ran a fine race to finish fourth in the men’s 3000m steeplechase, the Clonliffe athlete clocking 8:56.23. Marcus Lawler finished fourth in the men’s 200m in 21.29.

Pippa Rogan impressed in the women’s high jump, clearing 1.82m to take fourth. Sarah Lavin was disqualified in the 100m hurdles, while Gerard O’Donnell finished eighth in the 110m hurdles in 14.40. Amy O’Donoghue finished eighth in the 1500m in 4:53.71.

Michaela Walsh was eighth in the women’s shot put with 13.87m, while national 1500m champion John Travers finished seventh in the men’s 3000m in 8:14.64. 

Ellen McCartney had a best of 3.76m in the pole vault to finish eighth, while Denis Finnegan was ninth in the men’s triple jump with 14.66m.

Meanwhile, Yared Derese was first home in the Rock ‘n’ Roll Dublin Half marathon, the Ethiopian-born athlete hitting the line in the Phoenix Park in 1:04:58 to take the national title. 

Mick Clohisey was second in 1:05:36, with Hugh Armstrong third in 1:06:10. Angela McCann took the women’s title in 1:20:14.

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