No Odyssey for O’Rourke

DERVAL O’ROURKE has withdrawn from next weekend’s Woodies DIY All-Ireland indoor championships at the Odyssey Arena in Belfast but her coach, Sean Cahill, insists there is no need for concern.

Paul Hession, who set a national 60m record there a couple of years ago, will also miss the meeting and he has also withdrawn from the European indoor championships to concentrate on the outdoor track season.

O’Rourke, former world indoor 60m hurdles champion and a bronze medallist at the European indoors two years ago, was billed as one of the star attractions at the Odyssey but she pulled out of the event yesterday — just over two weeks away from the European indoor championships in Paris on March 4.

“It is purely precautionary,” her coach, Sean Cahill, said. “People will obviously be concerned to see her opting out this close to the Europeans but we don’t want to take any chances.

“She has had a few niggles over the past week and we have had to ease back a bit but we are confident it is nothing serious and she has responded well to treatment. We feel that it would not be wise for her to compete in Belfast at this point.

“In fact I pulled our out of race last weekend in the hope that she would be right for the coming weekend. I’m afraid to take a chance with her.

“I just want her to train pain free for the next week. The medical people are confident they have control of it.”

Claire Brady of Celbridge AC is a woman on a mission this weekend when she sets out to defend her 60 meters sprint title at the at the Odyssey Arena.

Last year, Brady delivered a blistering performance to win the national title in a personal best of 7.35 seconds — a qualifying standard too for the World Indoor Championships where she advanced to the semi-final.

Yesterday, Brady received encouraging news with the announcement ESB Electric are set to support her into the future. “We are delighted to offer our support to Claire as she has demonstrated an unwavering commitment to her sport, ESB Chief Executive”, Pádraig McManus said.

The AVIVA Munster schools cross-country championships will bring several of the country’s best young athletes together at the CIT in Bishopstown this afternoon (12.30pm).

Shane Quinn (De La Salle, Waterford) will be the favourite not just to win the senior boys’ title here but to go all the way and take the Irish schools title when that is decided in mid-March.

The Waterford athlete, son of Irish steeplechase record holder and Olympian, Brendan Quinn, is enjoying a spectacular season. He won the big junior race in Moll, Belgium, before going on to finish 12th in what was a very competitive junior race at the European cross-country championships in Albufeira.

Another Irish athlete who figured in those championships, Amy O’Donoghue (Villiers, Limerick), will be favourite for the senior girls race while the promising Bella Sherlock (Bandon Grammar), will be favourite for the junior girls’ race.

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