Belfast Telegraph

Kate and Ciara are in the groove ahead of Gold Coast challenge

By Brian Hill

Two of the Province's top ranked athletes for the Commonwealth Games produced impressive performances at the weekend which bodes well for the Gold Coast challenges in April.

Kate O'Connor (17) continued her eye-catching season with yet another Irish Senior, U23 and Junior Pentathlon record in a Combined Events meeting in Tallinn when scored 4,150 points for the five disciplines.

The event was won by World Junior record holder Alina Shukh with 4,375 points. Kate finished fourth in a classy field.

The Millrose Games in New York is a happy hunting ground for Euro 1,500 metres medallist Ciara Mageean who set a NI mile record of 4.28.40 secs at the venue two years ago. At the weekend she ran her second fastest ever time indoors of 4.30.99 to take third behind winner Colleen Quigley of the US (4.30.05).

This performance will come as a great relief to the Portaferry woman after a disappointing 2017 when she failed to progress in major championships. The 25-year-old has changed coaches and is now based in Manchester.

There were further successes for NI athletes in the Irish Life Indoor Championships in Dublin where Australia-bound sprinter Leon Reid successfully defended his 60 metres title.

The former European medallist won in 6.79 secs ahead of Ireland's Marcus Lawther (6.82) who was returning from lengthy injury. Ballymena's Dean Adams was fourth in 6.94.

The much anticipated Women's 60 metres hurdles was won by Lisburn AC's Megan Marrs in a superb 8.19. This places her second in the current GB list.

Ballymena's Craig Newell was also in fine form with a PB win in the 200 metres of 21.68 secs which adds to his recent Junior win.

Team-mate Shane Martin took the pole vault title with 4.35 metres.

Lisburn AC's Ben Fisher was victorious in the long jump with a leap of 6.89 metres while Jason Harvey of Crusaders was second in the 400m in 48.96 secs.

North Belfast's Mark M'Kinstry and Jessica Craig of North Down were winners in the Stormont Cross Country.

Belfast Telegraph

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