McGonagle: Olympic squad could be 24-strong

Olympic team manager, Patsy McGonagle, predicts Ireland could have 24 athletes at the London Olympics.

McGonagle was speaking after Fionnuala Britton secured qualification for the Games in the 10,000m in Stanford on Sunday. Britton finished third in 31:20.22, comfortably inside the Olympic A standard of 31:45. The European cross-country champion had already produced the 3,000m steeplechase A standard .

She was one of a number of Irish athletes in action at the event. Mark Christie (Mullingar Harriers) was 17th in the 5,000m in 13:37.32, outside the Olympic standard. Brendan O’Neill (Dundrum South Dublin) was further back in the field but clocked a career best of 13:41.06. Joe Sweeney finished 25th in the 10,000m in 28:45.17. Alastair Cragg did not finish the 10,000m.

Orla Drumm (Doneen AC) was sixth in her 1,500m in 4:13.27 while DCU student Darren McBrearty (Letterkenny AC) was seventh in a tactical men’s 1,500m in 3:42.92. Steven Colvert (Crusaders AC) and Paul Hession (Athenry AC) were in action at the Steve Scott Invitational in San Diego where Colvert ran the second fastest time ever by an Irish U23 athlete for 100m at 10.45 with Hession, who has already qualified for London 2012 at 200m, seventh in 10.59.

Tori Pena (Finn Valley AC) set an Irish pole vault record at 4.52m in San Diego. Clubmate Dempsey McGuigan broke his own national junior hammer record with a throw of 70.02m.

McGonagle said: “Apart from those qualified the women’s relay team have a great chance of qualifying while we could see further qualifiers from the walks in Russia the weekend after next. Jason Smyth is close to qualification at 100m while Joanne Cuddihy in the 400m, Ciara Mageean in the 1,500m and Jessie Barr in the 400m hurdles also have “B” standards. We may yet have 24 athletes in London.”


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