McGettigan comes up just short


ATHLETICS: Roisin McGettigan’s unlikely bid for a medal in the 1,500 metres at the European Indoor Championships fell agonisingly short in Turin. McGettigan, an outsider going into the final, finished fourth, just 0.16 of a second behind third placed Sonja Roman.

McGettigan, who only just scraped into the decider as a fastest loser, was down in sixth place at the bell but battled through the field in the last 200 metres. Ultimately though, the line came a fraction too soon as the Slovenian held onto third place.

Anna Alminova, who will go head-to-head with Mary Cullen in tomorrow’s 3,000m final, took the gold medal with Spain’s Natalia Rodríguez in second.

McGettigan clearly had mixed emotions after the race, with the pride of her performance tempered by the disappointment of missing out on the podium.

“Anything can happen in a final,” McGettigan explained. “To be that close to a medal, it’s great in one way but it’s also horrible.”

Earlier today, Cullen booked her place in the 3,000m showpiece with a confident run in the first of this morning’s two heats.

The Sligo athlete, second fastest in Europe this season, took control with five laps to go and won her heat in a time of 8 minutes 55.01 seconds.

Cullen will face stiff competition from Alminova in the final as her bid for a 1500m and 3000m double remains on course.

Alminova cruised into the final, finishing third in her heat (8:58.03) behind Turkey’s Alemitu Bekele (8:57.96) and Spain's Nuria Fernandez. Ireland’s Deirdre Byrne was fifth and is also through to the final.

Elsewhere, Paul Hession was unable to progress beyond the 60m semi-finals in a competition dominated by Britain’s Dwain Chambers.

The former drugs cheat stormed to a time of 6.42 seconds in winning his semi-final, knocking 0.03secs off the previous mark and missing Maurice Greene’s world record by the same margin.

Hession, running in the same semi-final, clocked 6.66 seconds to narrowly miss out on a place in the final.

Irish in Action(Saturday - all times Irish)


60m Round 1 women: Niamh Whelan matched her personal best (7.49 seconds) but failed to qualify. Ailis McSweeney (7.51) also went out in the first round


High Jump qualifying women: Deirdre Ryan missed out on the final, finishing 10th in qualifying (1.85m)


60m Round 1 men: Paul Hession qualified for the semi-finals after finishing fourth in his heat (6.70)


3000m Round 1 women: Mary Cullen won her heat (8:55.01) and Deirdre Byrne (9:00.67) also made the final


800m semi-final men: David McCarthy bowed out having finished last in his semi-final (1:53.53)


Long Jump final women: Kelly Proper fell some way short of her Irish record with 6.39 metres to finish seventh


60m semi-final men: Hession missed out on a place in the final but improved on this morning’s time (6.66)


1500m final women: Roisin McGettigan came within a whisker of bronze, claiming fourth in a time of 4:11.58