Matthews and Ryan make mark at Santry

 

NENAGH'S Gary Ryan broke new ground with a fine sprint double, while David Matthews emphatically answered the questions asked by Derek O'Connor in the 800 metres, as the track and field season swung into action at Morton Stadium, Santry over the weekend.

Ryan has been round for some time, but his time of 21.26 seconds over 200 metres is a major breakthrough for him with the wind within the permitted limits. His time - almost four tenths of a second faster than his previous best - puts him on the all time list, but more importantly, brings him closer to the Olympic B time of 21.04.

Later, he powered his way down the track over 100 metres to win comfortably. The 800 metres was billed as one of the highlights of the meeting and it did not disappoint. O'Connor, having his first serious outing for some time, went off like the proverbial bat out of hell and covered the first 200m in around 26 seconds. At this stage Matthews was some 15 metres in arrears. "I was flat to the board for the first lap," Matthews said later. Not surprisingly, the lack of racing began to show as the bell approached with Matthews and the pack closing on O'Connor with 53.9 seconds showing on the clock.

Going down the back straight Matthews dug deep and passed O'Connor with 250 metres to race and when the lanky Dundrum man did not respond, the race as a contest was over with the national record holder crossing the line in 1.49.98.

The women's race over the same distance was a much more competitive affair all the way to the line, with Freda Davoren displaying commendable grit to just get the better of Geraldine Nolan.

The women's hammer record fell when Olivia Kelleher, a student from the University of Limerick threw 47.10 metres.