Ó Lionaird gets timely boost ahead of London Games
ATHLETICS CORK CITY SPORTS:FOR A man that was having his first race in some four months Ciarán Ó Lionaird’s performance in the mile at the Cork City Sports last night will give him some encouragement ahead of the Olympic Games in a couple of weeks’ time.
The 22-year-old Corkman did not set the world on fire, or anything like it, but in the circumstances he will go to London for the 1,500 metres feeling that he can at least make the semi-finals because all he is going to do in the next couple of weeks is improve.
He ran a strong race in that he was always close to the leaders but, not surprisingly, lacked real sharpness and pace in the last lap and was eventually shunted into fifth place in a time of 3:58.84, just a second outside his best ever performance.
Ó Lionaird, who was 10th in the World Championship 1,500m last summer, has had a nightmare couple of months and it took a great effort and massive dedication to get himself back into racing shape again after suffering a serious Achilles tendon injury.
But he had no answer when Ryan Gregson of Australia made his move on the back straight of the final lap, an effort which took him to victory in 3:57.98, nothing to write home about at all.
Liam Boylen-Pett of the USA held on for second with Paul Robinson, the young Kildare runner, giving a very creditable show to finish fourth in 3:58.70, but now Ó Lionaird is likely to immediately return to the training track, now that he has at least proved his fitness.
Two other London-bound athletes showed top form, with Robert Heffernan moving clear of his opponents to win the 3,000m walk by 29 seconds while Olive Loughnane looked a class act as she had almost a lap to spare over her opponents to win her walking test in 12:36.22. These two athletes are in super shape and are set to perform well in London.
The women’s 3,000m was both competitive and entertaining with Stephanie Reilly from Laois giving her Olympic hopes a boost with a solid second place in a close finish with Kim Conley of the USA, 9:01.47 to 9:02.91, with Maria McCambridge caught for toe in the last lap, finishing fifth in 9:10.81.
Steven Colvert, who was so unlucky not to make the Olympics, ran another fine race in finishing second in the 100m with a time of 10.71 into a fresh wind, losing to Britain’s Luke Fagan.
Brian Gregan was very competitive in the men’s 400m, finishing a close third in 46.29 while Joanne Cuddihy showed that she is coming into top form ahead of the Olympics when she fought well to nail down third place in the women’s 400m, clocking 51.85.