Belfast Telegraph

Ulster stars are all set for gold rush at Irish Indoors

By Brian Hill

At least four of Ulster's top athletes are aiming for gold medals in this weekend's Woodie's Senior Irish Indoor Championships in Athlone.

Raheny Shamrocks' Zoe Brown (pole vault), Lagan Valley's Katie Kirk (800m) and Lisburn AC's Amy Foster (60m) will be following on from their superb displays in last weekend's British Indoor Championships in Sheffield where the trio secured two bronze medals – Kirk and Brown – and a fourth place.

Long jumper Adam McMullen should also strike gold.

Kirk (20) produced the most unexpected result when she battled her way to 800m bronze, defeating British Olympian Jenny Meadows.

Kirk finished less than a second behind winner Laura Muir in a time close to her PB of 2.06.32, set the previous week in Athlone.

Katie's father, Mark Kirk – a former Northern Ireland record holder over the distance – commented: "Katie's aim is to once again make the Commonwealth Games team next summer.

"While she is short of the qualification mark (2.03.5) we feel there is a lot more to come as her Sheffield races were unevenly paced."

Katie will certainly have classy competition in Athlone as the race will feature World Championship contender Roseanne Galligan who recently ran 2.03.69 in Iceland plus defending champion Ciara Everard of UCD who leads the Irish all time list at 2.02.54.

Newtownards ace Foster (25), who is the undisputed queen of Irish sprinting, will be attempting to erase the memory of last year's 60m race when she was controversially disqualified for a false start.

Coach Davy Reid admitted that while Amy was a little nervous about the venue, her confidence was sky high after her PB equalling time of 7.33 in Sheffield where she finished fourth ahead of some GB internationals.

Reid, who stated that Foster was in record breaking form, did not rule out both a qualification mark of 7.32 for the World Indoors in Poland next month and possibly Ulster sprinter Anna Boyle's Irish record of 7.30 from 2007.

Certainly it will be a major upset if Foster does not secure gold in Athlone with the main opposition coming from Irish Universities champion Phil Healy.

Glasgow Games-bound Brown should have little difficulty in successfully defending her pole vault title following her bronze medal performance of 4.16m in Sheffield last week.

It could also be silver for Northern Ireland as Ballymena's Clare Wilkinson recently set an Irish Universities record of 3.95m.

Long jumper McMullen of Crusaders is getting back to excellent form following his recent 7.38m jump at Jordanstown and should take gold ahead of Ireland's David Quilligan.

Lagan Valley's Curtis Woods may sneak a medal in the 400m following his recent 49.22 mark.

Ulster's defending champion Jason Harvey steps down to the 200m.

Letterkenny's Mark English defends his 800m title following his recent Irish record time.

In-form team mate Daniel Mooney races over 1,500m following his recent PB of 3.43.45.

Other Ulster competitors include Dean Adams (60m), Joanna Mills and Aislinn Crossey (200m), Conor Bradley (3,000m) and Mark Patterson (800m).

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