Murphy digs deep

Kelly Proper, left, Ferrybank AC, Co Waterford, on her way to winning the Women's 100m ahead of Ailis McSweeney, Leevale AC, Co Cork.  Picture: Tomas Greally

Cork’s Brian Murphy showed true grit in the men’s 400m to win his third national title in a row in 47.14, as Kelly Proper was laden with gold and four national titles in monsoon conditions at the 141st Woodie’s DIY National Track and Field Championships in Morton Stadium over the weekend.

Facing a challenge from 800m specialist Mark English (UCD), Murphy (Crusaders) had to use all his experience — his 13th final in a row — to overcome the Letterkenny man.

“He’s perhaps the most talented track and field athlete in Ireland,” said Murphy of English, who ran an excellent 1:44.84 at the London Anniversary Games on Friday night to run an A standard for the World Championships in Moscow next month.

“The guys in the 400m relay team were saying you better not lose to an 800m runner and I’m very glad I kept up my end of the deal,” smiled Murphy.

English came second in a new personal best of 47.27 with Eoin Mulhall making it a gold and bronze for Crusaders, running 48.06.

Kelly Proper had a striking resemblance to Mr T with four gold medals draping around her neck as she was announced the athlete of the meet having won the 200m (23.64), long jump (6.25m) and 4x100m relay (46.96) on the Saturday followed by the 100m title in 11.78 yesterday.

“Coming into the championships if somebody said ‘I’ll give you a million if you win four golds’, I would have said ‘I’m definitely not going to win a million’,” quipped Proper. “It doesn’t matter how good a shape you are in, you need things to go your way. Things definitely couldn’t have gone more my may and I’m really happy with it.”

Paul Robinson (St Coca’s) was intent on making a statement in the men’s 800m having run a world B standard at the Morton Games 10 days ago and with Mark English dropping down a distance to the 400m. And the Kilcock native did just that when he opened up down the last 100m to dominate in 1:48.92, flexing his index finger to the crowd as he crossed the line.

Robinson’s ticket was essentially punched for the 800m in Moscow on Friday night when English ran the A standard in London — the first Irish track athlete to run an A standard on the track this year.

“You have to put on a show,” said Robinson of his energetic celebration that brought the main stand to life.

Thomas Barr (Ferrybank) excited the crowd at the Cork City Sports when he threatened a famous victory in the 400m Hurdles until he clattered the last in a tense duel with South Africa’s Cornel Fredricks. Coming to the last hurdle in Santry it was a sense of déjà vu but this time it was Jason Harvey of Crusaders by his side. The wiry Waterford man clearly learned his lesson from earlier in the month, skipping over the last hurdle to win in 49.78 ahead of Harvey in 50.13. Ben Kiely (Ferrybank) was third in 52.65.

In truth it was a low key championships with a sparse attendance not helped by heavy showers. The hardcore aficionados stayed out on the hill through the downpours and were rewarded with two excellent 1500m races at the end of the programme — Laura Crowe (An Ríocht) dominated with a virtuoso run in 4:13.96 while Eoin Everard (KCH) edged David McCarthy (West Waterford) in 3:44.58 to 3:44.73.


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