Darragh McElhinney eyeing Munster 1500m record

One of longest standing records in the history books could go today at the Irish Life Health/Munster Schools T&F at Cork IT if 16-year-old Darragh McElhinney maintains the brilliant form he has shown this season.

The Munster intermediate 1500m record has been held by former World Indoor champion Frank O’Mara since 1977 (4:00.1) but twice in recent weeks the 16-year-old Coláiste Pobail, Bheanntrai, student has bettered that time.

McElhinney - along with Charlie O’Donovan of Colaiste Chriost Ri - was given a bye into today’s finals as they missed last week’s South Munster Schools, opting instead for the BMC Grand Prix at Solihull on Saturday night.

There, they both achieved highly impressive personal bests with less than a half-second separating them when recording respective times of 3:49.32 and 3:49.79.

Both times were also well inside the qualifying standard of 3:52.0 for the European U20 Championships which take place in Grosseto, Italy, in July. O’Donovan, a year older than McElhinney, contests the senior 1500m today, although Sean Tobin’s four-year-old record of 3:50.54 may be out of reach.

Another who has already qualified for Italy is Ciara Neville of Castletroy College who won both the 100m and 200m intermediate titles at last year’s Irish Schools and looks odd-on favourite to repeat the double at senior level this time around.

Stephanie Cotter of Coachford Community College is another in fine form, winning both the 800m and 1500m at the South Munsters. Two days later, the 18-year-old further reduced her 800m best by another three seconds when winning in 2:13.90 at the Leevale Meet.

The javelin contests should see some good performances as Kevin Michael (Deerpark CBS) threw 53.38m to break Bobby Smith’s three-year-old South Munster mark of 49.22m while Katie Moynihan, Davis College, Mallow, also set a new intermediate record of 43.54m.

The senior boys hammer gets the programme underway at 9.30am while the walking events will see the first of the track action at 10am.


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