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Rio-bound Ciara Mageean makes big splash at Ulster Championships

By Brian Hill

Portaferry’s Ciara Mageean continued her outstanding season with another superb run over 800m at yesterday’s rain-plagued NI and Ulster Athletics Championships at the Mary Peters Track.

The 24-year-old Rio-bound athlete recorded another PB time of 2 mins 2.84 secs, which is a European qualification mark.

However, it was the manner of her victory which impressed a drenched but enthusiastic crowd.

The Lisburn AC woman set out her stall from the gun and was through 400m in 60secs with only teammate Kelly Nelly following the hectic pace. At 600m she was still on NI record pace but slowed slightly in the home straight to finish just one second short of the record. Gutsy Neely was second in 2.06.11.

A delighted Mageean said: “It was tough out there as no one wanted to pace. I wanted to race today to support our local championships. The 800 is a really good tester for the legs. I will, however, be racing over 1,500m in the Europeans in preparation for Rio.”

 The equivalent men’s race first lap was slower than Ciara’s with victory going to Donore’s John Travers in 1.56.84.

Former world indoors high hurdler Ben Reynolds battled through a rainstorm to take his fourth title in 14.15 secs ahead of Birchfield’s Jake Porter (14.31).

A philosophical Reynolds, who is aiming for European qualification this weekend in Dublin, said: “I feel I have another NI record in me which is currently 13.49 secs. I am really fresh and hope to do well in this weekend’s Irish Championships.”

 Belfast’s Adam McMullen, who is another European hopeful, took an easy long jump victory in 7.50m and followed up with a win  in the 100m in 10.83 secs. The 25-year-old is currently ranked 16th in Europe in the long jump with his recent PB of 7.84m.

The men’s 400m lived up to expectations despite the withdrawal of former European champion David Gillick who ran 47.50 secs in his heat.

QUB’s Andrew Mellon took a hard earned victory in an excellent time of 47.88 secs. Ireland’s Arrey Brandon took silver with  48.34 secs with bronze going to Niall Tuohy (49.78 secs).

There was a useful double for North Belfast’s Caitlin Maguire in the club’s first sprint victories. The 18-year-old was an easy winner of both the 100m (12.38 secs) and 200m (25.76 secs).

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