Belfast Telegraph

Ciara Mageean and Kerry O'Flaherty in fine fettle with European Championship looming

By Brian Hill

It was a successful weekend for Northern athletes in the weekend's Irish Life National Indoor Championships in Dublin.

Ciara Mageean and Kerry O'Flaherty used the occasion as perfect preparation for the more exacting challenges which they will face in the European Indoors in Belgrade in a fortnight.

European bronze medallist Mageean fought off a lingering cold to claim victory in the 3,000 metres race.

At the halfway mark she and fellow Rio Olympian Michelle Finn were well clear of the field which included Euro cross country champion Fionnuala McCormack. Ciara then took command and broke clear for an easy win in 9 mins 8 .83 secs. She was followed by Finn (9.12.61) ,McCormack (9.15.58) and QUB's Emma Mitchell (9.19.90).

A few days ago Newcastle's O'Flaherty recorded a 1,500 metres PB of 4.14.63 which qualified her for Belgrade, and she continued her good form in Dublin with an easy five-second winning margin of 4 mins 20.86 secs from UCD's Ellie Hartnett.

Commonwealth Games athlete Leon Reid of Menapians was in a class of his own when achieving a double sprint victory. He took the 60 metres in a PB time of 6.74 secs with Ballymena's Dean Adams snatching bronze in 6.87 secs.

Former Euro silver medallist Reid then followed this up with another emphatic half-second win over 200 metres where his time of 21.08 secs was a season's best.

In the Women's high jump 16-year-oldSummer Lecky's sparkling season continued with a winning height of 1.81 metres which equals the Irish Junior record.

There was yet another gold medal for Belfast long jumper Adam McMullen who retained his title with a leap of 7.59 metres. Lisburn's Ben Fisher took bronze with 6.64 metres.

The Women's pole vault gold went to Lisburn's Ellen McCartney with 3.40 metres followed by previous winner Claire Wilkinson of Ballymena who recorded the same height.

More bronze medals went to Mandy Gault of Lagan Valley in the 400 metres (55.06secs), Lisburn's Adam Hill in the high jump (1.85 metres) and team -mate Erin McIlveen in the 800 metres (2.08.59).

Meanwhile, in the Birmingham Grand Prix meeting Ben Reynolds of North Down finished seventh in the high hurdles in 7.87 secs. The race was won by Andrew Pozzi in a PB of 7.43 secs.

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