The success or failure of the Irish team at the World Indoor Championships was always going to be decided by one athlete, and given Phil Healy managed something no Irish athlete had done since 2010, it felt a lot like the former at the close of play in Birmingham last night.
Less than two weeks out from the World Championships in London, this was always going to be a fact-finding mission for Ciara Mageean, Mark English, Brian Gregan, and Thomas Barr, and though each of them faced a test of differing degrees of difficulty, they all passed with flying colours.
Ireland lie seventh after the middle day of the European Athletics Team Championships in the northern Finnish city of Vaasa, with Brian Gregan scoring the only Irish victory of day two, alongside eleven top-six finishes.
Marcus Lawler and Kelly Proper saved the best until last at the Woodie’s DIY National Senior Indoor Championships in Athlone when they powered around their respective 200m races in record-breaking fashion while Amy Foster snaffled a world indoor qualifying time in the 60m, pipping Phil Healy in the process.
Marcus Lawler and Phil Healy have continued their rapid ascent since being a class apart at the All-Ireland Schools Track and Field Championships last summer and the two sprinters are set to star at the Woodie’s DIY Senior Indoor Championships in Athlone this weekend.
An Irish team of eight, headed by double European Cross-Country Champion Fionnuala Britton and Europe’s fastest man over 400m this year so far, Brian Gregan, have been pre-selected for next week’s European Indoor Athletics Championships in Gothenburg.
A blanket finish to last night’s Morton Mile in Santry saw 10 runners break four minutes as American runner Will Leer led the field home in 3:56.39 from David Torrence, (USA) in 3:56.40 and Ryan Gregson, (Australia) in 3:56.45. Ireland’s Ciarán Ó Lionaird, (Leevale A.C), finished sixth in 3:56.02.
Paul Hession has breezed through to the semi-finals of the men’s 200 metres at the European Athletics Championships in Helsinki, but for Steven Colvert there was the frustration of becoming the latest athlete to fall foul of the Olympic Stadium’s infamous tight lanes.