Irish team prepares for U-23 games

Brendan Mooney

The Athenry sprinter a medical student at NUIG has been struggling with a back problem since the European Cup in Portugal last month and is undergoing intensive treatment.

The European indoor 400m champion, David Gillick, has put his injury scare behind him to lead the Irish challenge. He suffered a nerve related injury in the lead up to the BUPA Cork City Sports and withdrew as a precautionary measure.

He is reported fully fit again and ready to join David McCarthy (Le Cheile) in the 400m. McCarthy was forced to miss the European Cup but he produced some of his old form at the AAA championships. Following Ciaran O'Connell's qualification last week at the BMC meet in England, Ireland will have three representatives in the men's 800m with Limerick's Liam Reale and Dubliner Thomas Chamney (Crusaders) also qualified.

Liam Reale doubles up in the 1,500m where he will now be joined by Mark Christie from Mullingar who stepped down in trip to post his qualification time with a sensational 3:41 two weeks ago.

His Mullingar clubmate, Martin Fagan, a scholarship student under Ray Treacy at Providence College, is named for two events.

He will join Joe Sweeney in the 5,000m but his prime event is the 10,000m.

He qualified for the 10,000m with a 28:59 run at Walnut, California, ran superbly in Cork over the City Sports weekend and would only have to maintain that form to be a medal contender in Erfurt.

Ailish McSweeney (Leevale) produced the performance of her life in the 100m at the BUPA Cork City Sports with an 11.43 run.

in the 100m, She then ran 11.64 to win the 100m at the under-23 championships the following day and it took a huge performance from Anna Boyle to prevent her from completing the double in the 200m.

Now she joins Joanne Cuddihy from Kilkenny in the sprints. Fionnuala Britton (Sli Chualann), a three-time national junior cross-

country champion, has blossomed into a promising steeple chaser and could be ready to spring a surprise in that event.

Some of the Irish stars from the recent European Youth Olympic Festival take their talents to Marrakech this week for the IAAF World Youth Championships which get under way tomorrow and run until July 17.

David McCarthy (West Waterford) and Ciaran Ó Lionaird (Leevale), great rivals on the domestic scene, were both medallists in Lignano where Ireland's young track and field athletes amassed a total of four medals.

Amy Foster, with a silver medal in the girls' 100m, and Eoin Healy, with a bronze medal in the steeplechase, in the opening session had set the pace and, on the final day, another schools star, Brendan O'Neill from Dublin, had the 3,000m at his mercy when he led the race into the finishing straight but tripped and fell.

Gerard O'Reilly, from Cavan, was involved in a sensational finish to the final of the boys' 200m in which he finished fourth.

He was just 0.11 of a second behind the winner and 0.03sec behind the third-placed athlete.

Kelly Proper (Ferrybank), who finished sixth in the girls' long jump, will join McCarthy and Ó Lionaird in Marrakech where the team will be completed by race walker, Laura Reynolds.

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