Mageean and Reynolds eager to click up gears ahead of Euros
Top local athletes Ciara Mageean and Ben Reynolds will be using this weekend's Irish Life Indoor Athletics Championships at Abbotstown as a chance to test their abilities en route to the bigger challenges that lie ahead at the European Championships in Belgrade in two weeks' time.
Mageean's preparations for Belgrade were knocked somewhat off course with a midweek fifth place in a 1,500m race at the Athlone International. The European outdoor bronze medallist was never up with the leaders in a race where Romanian Claudia Bobocea crossed the line in four minutes and 8.19 seconds.
Portaferry's Mageean struggled and eventually finished with a time of four minutes, 12.46 seconds. However, she revealed afterwards that she had raced with a cold. The 24-year-old UCD student said: "I hate making excuses and people hearing about a cold. However, it is still early days and my first step onto the track since last summer."
This weekend, the Lisburn AC ace may opt for the 3,000m where she is in a class of her own, holding an NI record of sub-nine minutes. Also in the field will be title holder Kerry O'Flaherty of Newcastle, who finished sixth in last week's British Championships.
O'Flaherty, the fastest Irish woman this year, will be joined by second quickest Emma Mitchell of QUB. Like last year, O'Flaherty may again go for the double by also racing over 1,500m where the lower quality opposition could well ensure another gold for the 35-year-old.
North Down's Reynolds will be aiming for high hurdle glory, and his recent time of 7.77 seconds has already qualified him for Belgrade. He has happy memories of these Championships from last year after a PB of 7.73 seconds.
Reynolds will be unfazed in Belgrade as he has already competed in the World Championships.
Ballymena sprinters Dean Adams and Jonathan Browning will be disappointed if they do not feature in the medals over 60m.