Belfast Telegraph

Mageean and Reid lead the NI charge for Irish title joy

 

Ciara Mageean
Ciara Mageean

By Brian Hill

Middle distance star Ciara Mageean and top sprinter Leon Reid head the Northern Ireland challenge at this weekend's Irish Life Senior Athletics Championships in Santry, Dublin.

Athletes will have one eye on securing selection for the European Team Championships in Norway in mid-August.

European Indoors 1,500m bronze medallist Mageean (27) could well repeat her double victory from last year when she emerged victorious in both the 800m and 1,500m.

A successful defence of her 1,500m title should be a formality given her time in London last week of four minutes 3.70 seconds, which is her fourth fastest.

Manchester-based Mageean stated that the race was a stepping stone to the World Championships in Doha this year, and she knows that to do well there she will have to get close to her recent personal best of four minutes one second.

The Portaferry ace will have more opposition in the 800m where DSD's Siofra Cleirigh-Buttner has recently ran a fast 2.01.67. Also racing is former Commonwealth Games athlete Katie Kirk.

Like last year, there should be another tight battle in the 200m where Commonwealth bronze medallist Reid again faces Marcus Lawler of St Lawrence O'Toole, who recently took bronze in the World University Games.

Reid won last year, but Lawler's time in the Games of 20.55 seconds is faster than Reid's 20.68 seconds this season.

Predicting a winner is a lottery, particularly as Rathfarnham's Stephen Gaffney is the fastest of all the entries with a time of 20.39 seconds.

In the women's event, Beechmount's Davicia Patterson, who just missed out on the medals in the European Under-20 Championships, will race event favourite Ciara Neville of Emerald.

In the javelin, new European U20 heptathlon silver medallist Kate O'Connor should have no problems securing gold following her NI Senior record of 52.92m.

Pole vaulter Ellen McCartney of Lisburn AC should also win. She is another record breaker with an Irish Under-23 milestone of 4.01m.

Finn Valley's Sommer Lecky has consistently cleared 1.84m and should take high jump gold.

South Belfast's marathon runner Stephen Scullion is one of the few athletes competing who has already qualified for Doha. At Santry, he should successfully defend his 10,000m title against Raheny's Mick Clohisey.

In the 400m hurdles, Ferrybank Olympian Thomas Barr should take gold yet again. Northern Ireland's Jason Harvey should be in the medals after his recent time of 51.75 seconds.

Northern Ireland champion Andrew Mellon should be in the mix in the 400m along with Ballymena's Craig Newell.

Other Northern Ireland contenders include multi-Paralympic champion Jason Smyth (Derry City) in the 100m, Kerry O'Flaherty in the steeplechase and Annadale's Conall Kirk, who took bronze a year ago in the 800m.

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