BRIAN GREGAN (St Mark’s, Tallaght) added his name to Patsy McGonagle’s 4 x 400m relay squad when he smashed the record with a run of 47.49 seconds at the Leinster Schools championships at Morton Stadium.
The Irish team manager will be in Tullamore today to watch him in a starring role at the KitKat Irish Schools Track and Field championships.
The 4 x 400m relay squad that will travel to Namur in Belgium in two weeks’ time in pursuit of Olympic qualification will be finalised by McGonagle after this weekend’s action and it will be surprising if the young Dubliner is omitted following what was an exceptional performance in the Leinster schools.
Another record will be his target in Tullamore as the Ulster schools champion, Jason Harvey (Campbell College), and the first two in the Munster schools championships, Billy Ryan (De La Salle, Waterford) and Cathal Owens (Glanmire CC) battle it out for the minor medals.
The sprints are always among the highlights of the meet and the senior boys’ should produce an exciting head-to-head between Christopher Russell (Waterpark College), last year’s intermediate champion, and the defending champion, Michael Hynes (St Fintan’s, Sutton). After his intermediate double last year, Russell went to the European Youth Olympics but his chances were ruined when he picked up an injury.
The most exciting rivalry in Irish athletics at the present moment is between juvenile hurdlers Patrick Maher (Davis College, Mallow) and Edmund O’Halloran (Rochestown College). Four times this year they have ended up on equal times.
They are both members of Leevale athletic club where they are coached by the former international high hurdler and multi-national champion, Seamus Power.
Craig Murphy (Douglas CS) who was Ireland’s highest placed runner at the world junior cross-country championships in Edinburgh fought out a spectacular battle with Kevin Cooper (Waterpark College) in the senior boys’ 1,500m at the Munster schools championships in Limerick and they will be joined by Tomas Cotter (St Mary’s, Dundalk) who travels on a double mission after turning in a record-breaking performance in the steeplechase at the Leinster schools championships, as well as Ian Ward (Royal & Prior), the Ulster champion. Shane Quinn (De La Salle, Waterford) went to within two tenths of a second of Frank O’Mara’s long-standing record when he won the intermediate boys’ 1,500m at the Munster schools championships and the Waterford lad who is son of former Olympic steeplechaser, Brendan Quinn, may get the mark this time around.
Niamh Whelan (Presentation,
Waterford) has qualified for the world junior championships at both the 100m and 200m and is set to repeat her double of last year in those events while her Ferrybank clubmate, Kalyn Sheehan (Ursuline, Waterford), who has also qualified for the world juniors, can put the gold seal on a spectacular schools’ career with a double in the 100m and 400m hurdles.
Joan Healy (Coláiste na Toirbhirte, Bandon) is the youngest athlete
qualified for the world junior championships and she will be challenged by two other exciting prospects, Hannah Todd (Ballyclare HS) and Stephanie Creanor (Loreto, St Stephen’s Green) in the intermediate sprints.
Ciara Mageean (Assumption, Ballynahinch) will be the warm favourite to win the intermediate girls’ 1,500m title although Eimer Black (Dominican, Fortwilliam) could cause another upset.
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