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Golden day for Ciara Mageean and Leon Reid with Irish title success

 

Perfect race: Ciara Mageean (far left) during yesterday’s 800m race
Perfect race: Ciara Mageean (far left) during yesterday’s 800m race

By Brian Hill

European Indoors bronze medallist Ciara Mageean took her 10th Irish Senior title in the 800m at yesterday's Irish Life Senior Athletics Championships in Santry, Dublin.

The Portaferry woman, who has qualified for the World Athletics Championships in Doha, was always in command of a slow race which included Euro U23 medallist Nadia Power.

After a slow 65-second first lap, Mageean sprinted away from the field on the home straight to win in two minutes 7.3 seconds.

Former Commonwealth Games athlete Katie Kirk was delighted with her surprise second place, only 0.26 seconds behind Mageean.

Kirk, who took a Senior title back in 2014, is slowly coming back to form after several injury-plagued years.

Mageean commented: "I am delighted to get another title. My priority was simply to win.

"I have been working on several aspects of my racing, including controlling my nerves.

"This has always been something of a battle with me."

The men's 200m lived up to its high pre-race expectations.

Commonwealth Games bronze medallist Leon Reid was up against World University Games bronze medallist Marcus Lawler.

Reid edged in front in the closing stages of the home straight but Lawler fought to the line, with the former just getting the verdict against a strong wind.

A relieved Reid said: "It was really windy there and I had to chase right up to the line. Competing against guys like Marcus helps us both."

Rathfarnham's Stephen Gaffney, who is the only sprinter who has qualified for the Doha World Championships so far, had to settle for third in 21.18 seconds.

In the men's 10,000m, south Belfast's Stephen Scullion ran an assured race to successfully defend his title in a time of 29.36.33, some eight seconds ahead of Raheny's Mick Clohisey.

Scullion, who has qualified for the marathon in Doha, said: "I was happy with that.

"I am now going to Arizona for several weeks of high-altitude training in preparation for Doha."

In the women's pole vault, City of Lisburn's Ellen McCarthy resumed her winning ways following her recent Irish U23 record of 4.01m.

She won with ease with a vault of 3.85m and then failed with three bold attempts at 4.07m.

Belfast's 400m hurdler Jason Harvey (right) had a golden opportunity to secure his first national title after being runner-up on four occasions.

He fought a neck-and-neck battle with rival Paul Byrne of St Abban's for the entire race and only lost out by a couple of strides in the final few metres.

Byrne won in 51.73 seconds with a frustrated Harvey second again in 51.78 seconds.

Derry City's Jason Smith lost out in a close finish in the 100m, which he led until the final 20m.

He was then overtaken by Tralee's Travene Morrison, who took gold in 10.61 seconds with Smyth timed at 10.63 seconds.

Multi-Paralympic champion Smyth is in heavy training for the autumn's World Championships.

There was a shock result in the women's high jump where World Junior silver medallist Sommer Lecky was beaten into second place.

Gold went to Phillippa Rogan with 1.85m, while Finn Valley's Lecky had to settle for silver with 1.80m.

Lisburn AC's Anna McCauley got bronze with 1.75m.

Meanwhile, six-time Olympic gold medallist Allyson Felix says "the fire is there" as she targets the 2020 Tokyo Olympics after missing out on a medal at the US National Championships.

Felix (33) finished sixth in the 400m final in 51.94 seconds, behind winner Shakima Wimbley.

The Championships marked her return to racing for the first time in 13 months, after her daughter's birth in November,

Felix said this weekend had been a "stepping stone".

"I want to be back in the Olympics," said the 11-time world champion. "I want them more than anything. I want to go out on my terms. Being in this environment and being back in a final, it kind of got the juices flowing. It's going to be a lot easier going into next year."

She added: "This gave me a taste. The fire is there. I will be back next year."

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