In-form O’Rourke has eyes on the prize, says McGonagle

DERVAL O’ROURKE is in a medal-winning frame of mind according to the Irish coach, Patsy McGonagle.

In a month’s time the Leevale starlet will line up for the women’s 60m hurdles at the world championships in Doha seeking to reclaim the title she won four years ago in Moscow.

And McGonagle, who will lead the Irish senior teams to all the major track and field events up to London 2012 and beyond, feels that she is rightly placed among the medal favourites.

“Derval is in a very positive frame of mind at the moment, she is just oozing confidence and she has to be one of the medal favourites,” he insisted.

“But, let’s face, it is going to be difficult. There are a bunch of women running under eight seconds for the 60m hurdles at the moment and LoLo Jones is going to be very difficult to beat although no woman has ever retained the title.

“Derval is winning her races — she was very impressive in the AAA championships at the weekend — and she is growing in confidence by the day. You know what Derval is like when she gets to a final — she always has that air of confidence about her and that is what will see her through.”

Meanwhile, he is set to add Hazel Murphy to the team over the coming days. The DSD athlete knocked a huge chunk off her previous best time when she out-sprinted Gemma Turtle to win the AAA title in Sheffield on Sunday in 9:02.81 which was well inside the qualifying standard for Doha.

Deirdre Byrne (Sli Chualann) who already had her qualifying standard (9:00.67 at the European indoor championships last year) acted as pacemaker for Murphy in the race as she did for Kelly McNiece when she achieved her qualifying standard at 1,500m at the Odyssey. They are coached by the former Donore Harrier, Karl Byrne, who is based in the US.

Roseanne Galligan who is marginally outside the qualifying standard for 1,500m could also join the team.

McGonagle said Athletics Ireland will support her in her bid to find a quality race in which to achieve the standard. And he is awaiting the call from David Gillick to say he, too, will be available.

“We will obviously add David to the team if and when he confirms his participation,” McGonagle said.

“We will have a nice team travelling out. Kelly Proper won the AAA long jump title at the weekend and she is gaining in experience all the time. She needs the experience of major competitions.”


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