Mark English disappoints as Karl Griffin finishes best of Irish

There was no joy for Mark English in the 800m final at the European U23 Athletics Championships in Tallinn with the Donegal star finishing 8th in 1:50.42.

There was, however, plenty of positives for the Irish with Karl Griffin coming home sixth in the same race (1:48.79) while there were national U23 records for the men’s and women’s 4x100m relay teams.

English (UCD) has been struggling for form of late with a sciatic injury proving problematic.

He managed to get through the heats and semi-finals but couldn’t produce anything near his best in the showpiece event.

His UCD colleague Griffin though enjoyed a stunning run and hopes it will be a foundation for greater things.

“Coming off the final bend the medal was in touching distance,” said Griffin who is eligible to compete in these championships again in 2017. “It’s a great learning curve for me and has made me hungry for coming back here in two years’ time and hopefully go further.”

The Irish women’s 4x100m relay team of Sarah McCarthy (Mid Sutton), Cliodhna Manning (Kilkenny City Harriers), Sarah Lavin (UCD) and Phil Healy (Bandon/UCC) qualified for the final with a second place finish in their heat and a new U23 record of 44.68.

However, a baton mix-up in the first exchange between McCarthy and Manning ruined their hopes in the final.

The men’s 4x100m relay team of Jonathan Browning (Ballymena & Antrim), Eanna Madden (Carrick-On-Shannon), Kieran Elliot (North Sligo) and Marcus Lawler (St Laurence O’Toole’s) finished third in their heat in a national U23 record of 40.11 and went faster again in the final to finish 5th in 39.89.

Athletics Ireland high performance director Kevin Ankrom admitted: “I’m sure no one is more disappointed than Mark but overall, as a team, there’s a lot of good buzz.

“Again you want your stars to shine in one night but it doesn’t always happen.

“Overall it was a good performance and we are now consistently competing in finals.”

On the final day of competition at the World University Games in Gwangju, China, Adam McMullen (Crusaders) finished 10th in the long jump with 7.61m while Kevin Batt (DSD) finished 9th in the 5,000m in 14:28.74.


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