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Kelly and Benson go the distance to clinch classy Dublin success


Jai Benson

Shot putter John Kelly of Finn Valley and triple jumper Jai Benson of Lagan Valley took senior honours in the final session of the Irish Life Senior Track and Field Championships in Dublin yesterday.

Kelly was hot favourite following his Northern Ireland record of 18.62m in Sweden last month. At Santry, the 24-year-old didn't disappoint when he produced another impressive throw of 18.40m, which is his third best ever.

Kelly, who also took the Indoor title in March, has now captured four golds at national level.

His 20-year-old brother James also distinguished himself with a throw of 16.48m for silver in the senior event, which gave him the Under-23 title.

Galway's Sean Breathnach took bronze in the senior with 16.39m.

Triple jumper Benson left it late to snatch gold from Michael Alajiki by some 13cm, with 14.53m on his final effort.

This is 16cm short of his personal best. Benson also took the Under-23 title. Lisburn AC colleague Mark Burton took third with 14.29m, which also gave him U23 silver.

European U20 heptathlon medallist Kate O'Connor was in action again following her javelin win last week. This time, the 20-year-old Commonwealth Games athlete took silver in the U23 shot with a throw of 13.58m, which is close to her PB of 13.67m.

Gold went to Swinford's Michaela Walsh with 14.27m, which was also good enough to take the senior title.

In a high-quality women's 200m, World Championship runner Phil Healy was an easy winner in 23.57 seconds from Sarah Lavin (23.74 seconds). In a tight tussle for bronze, Lisburn AC's Lauren Roy just got the verdict in 24.55 seconds ahead of Aoife Lynch (24.57 seconds). She also had the satisfaction of taking the U23 title ahead of Lynch.

World Championship competitor Brendan Boyce of Finn Valley had to settle for fourth in the 10,000m walk with 42 minutes 20 seconds. Gold went to Togher's Callum Wilkinson in 39.52.

A row rumbled on over the weekend concerning triple European medallist Mark English, who was not permitted to go for a record eighth Irish 800m title because he had competed in a race last weekend in Italy.

Athletics Ireland had previously made it clear that any athlete competing abroad would have to quarantine for two weeks following their return.

Belfast Telegraph