Big guns in sight of Irish title

The big guns are all still in sight of winning the men's 800m title as David Campbell, Thomas Chamney and David McCarthy all qualified as easy winners of today's heats.

The big guns are all still in sight of winning the men's 800m title as David Campbell, Thomas Chamney and David McCarthy all qualified as easy winners of today's heats.

Tomorrow's final promises to be something special as Crusaders star Chamney, who beat Campbell in last year's decider, goes for his second win in the event.

Chamney was the fastest qualifier today in 1 minute, 52.81 seconds, with Campbell of St. Coca's timing 1:54.70 in his heat win and former 400m specialist McCarthy of the Le Cheile club easing up to the line in 1:55.71.

Double European Indoor champion David Gillick was one of the three heat winners in the 400m. The Dubliner clocked 47.25 seconds as the second fastest qualifier with Belfast man Paul McKee grabbing the quickest time (47.17).

The usual suspects came through in the 1500m qualifying with Limerick's Liam Reale, the defending champion, posting the quickest time of the three heats - 3 minutes, 52.85 seconds. David Campbell was surprise winner of one of the other heats, while former champion and Olympian James Nolan failed to turn up to the event.

Dundrum South Dublin's Jonathan Miller, who failed to finish last year's final, looks like he could be in the medals in the 400m hurdles final. He was the quickest of today's qualifiers in 53.53 seconds, but will have increased competition tomorrow not least from Antoine Burke of Crusaders, the 2006 champion.

Mark Kirwan of Raheny Shamrocks took gold in the 3000m steeplechase, winning in a time of 9 minutes, 06.84 seconds, despite failing into the water in the closing stages. The women's 3000m steeplechase was a one-woman show as Sli Cualann's Roisin McGettigan, the only competitor in the race, came home in a time of 9:56.17.

Staying on course for her 200-400 double, Kilkenny star Joanne Cuddihy qualified with ease for tomorrow's 400m final. Her time of 55.29 seconds topped a list of qualifiers that also included Abbey AC duo Elaine McCaffrey and Michelle Rodgers.

Orla Drumm of UCC, who finished second to Roisin McGettigan in last year's 800m final, was one of the fastest qualifiers for tomorrow's deciding race.

Craughwell clubwoman Ann Loughnane held onto her 5000m walk title as she came home in 24 minutes, 36.30 seconds, almost a minute ahead of Donna Carolan of Inbhear Dee.

Meanwhile, in the field events, there were wins for Stephen Fleming of Crusaders in the long jump - his winning leap of 7.24m came in the first round - and Tralee's Eoin Leech (15.36m) in the shot putt.

Dubliner Deirdre Ryan retained her high jump title with a leap of 1.80m and Tir Chonaill's Mary McLoone was top of the pile in the triple jump with a mark of 11.57m.

Claire Wilkinson's best of 3.20m was enough for the Ballymena & Antrim athlete to take gold in the pole vault, while Anita White of the Dublin Striders club had a comfortable victory in the javelin with a throw of 44.97m.

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