Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 24 July 2014

O'Lionaird satisfied with 3,000m bronze

Ciaran O'Lionaird finished third in Gothenburg

Ireland's Ciaran O'Lionaird had no regrets after seeing silver turn to bronze in the last few strides of the 3,000 metres final at the European Indoor Championships.

O'Lionaird looked to have secured second place as he chased home winner Hayle Ibrahimov of Azerbaijan, only to be overtaken on the line by fast-finishing Spaniard Juan Carlos Higuero.

"I am still new to indoor championships and I have a lot less experience than the other guys," said O'Lionaird, whose time of seven minutes 50.40 seconds was a personal best and just 0.14secs behind Higuero.

"I would rather race for the gold and get the bronze than race for silver and get silver. I am not elated but I am satisfied. This is a positive step forward."

There was massive disappointment for another Irish medal contender as Brian Gregan was sent crashing out of the semi-finals of the 400m.

Gregan was badly spiked after 200m of his semi-final when he was caught from behind by Ukraine's Volodymyr Burakov and forced to hobble off the track. He later needed nine stitches in his ankle.

There was better news for Ciara Everard as she reached the final of the women's 800m, with a photo-finish required to secure third place in the second semi-final ahead of the Czech Republic's Lenka Masna.

"I can't believe I've made the final, the pace was all over the place and it was a very messy race but it's fantastic to have made it," Everard said.

In the first semi-final, Rose-Anne Galligan ran a personal best of 2:02.84 but failed to advance after finishing fifth in a race won by Britain's defending champion Jenny Meadows.

In the morning session, Fionnuala Britton cruised into the final of the 3,000m after finishing third in the opening heat.