Ciara Mageean will bid to become the first Irish woman to break two minutes for 800m when she lines out at the Morton Games in Dublin this evening.

The annual international meeting at the home of track and field, named after the famous athletics promoter Billy Morton, has grown in stature in recent years.

UCD’s Ciara Mageean, coached by Jerry Kiernan, is the poster girl for the event, and for good reason. Last summer, the Portaferry native bagged bronze over 1,500m at the European Athletics Championships in Amsterdam and then was narrowly beaten on the line by England’s Alex Bell over 800m at the Morton Games.

The race brought the crowd to its feet, as Mageean led in the home straight, but it ended in an agonising defeat with no consolation on the clock either. Her time of 2:00.79 fell short of the magical two-minute barrier and placed fourth on the Irish all-time list.

The Irish record of 2:00.58 was set by Kildare’s Rose-Anne Galligan.

Mageean is in fine form again this summer, having moved to second on the women’s Irish all-time mile list, posting 4:22.40 in London last Sunday. She will do battle again over 800m this evening with Alex Bell.

Unfortunately, there will be no Thomas Barr (Ferrybank) who is injured and Mark English (UCD), who has withdrawn from the 800m.

This won’t detract too much from the meeting and its signature event: The Morton mile.

Sean Tobin (Clonmel), Kieran Kelly (Raheny Shamrock) and Danny Mooney (Letterkenny) will be carrying Irish hopes.

Among the favourites for the race will be the USA’s 3:52 miler Kyle Merber. He will be hoping for a home support of sorts in that his fiancé Patricia Barry is from Tipperary.

The main programme gets underway at 7pm and will be streamed live on FloTrack.


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