Three senior championship medal winners - and the currently fourth fastest runner over 400 metres - are among the Irish team of 16 athletes selected for the European Indoor Championships, set for the Emirates Arena in Glasgow on March 1st to 3rd.
Fresh from winning National titles at the Sport Ireland Indoor Arena over the weekend, Phil Healy and Ciara Mageean will head to Glasgow with final ambitions at the very least.
In defending her women’s 400m title Healy also made a statement of intent, her 52.81 seconds a championship best performance, her 52.31 from Vienna last month still the fourth fastest in Europe for 2019: “I know rankings go out the window in championship running,” said Healy, “but looking forward to taking it round-by-round, ready to rock. I missed out on the final at World Indoors, but trying to get into the final, that’s the goal.”
Megeean moved up to 3,000m when winning her national title, and is targeting the 1,500m in Glasgow, the European outdoor bronze medallist from 2016 also fresh off an Irish record of 4:06.76 in Athlone last week.
In winning a sixth national indoor title over 800m, Mark English also showed a return to the sort of form that saw him win European Indoor silver in Prague back in 2015. "Medals aren't the be-all and end-all for me now," said the UCD medical student. "Things in life take over, maybe gives you some fresh perspective, but I never lost the love of running. Injuries held me back, more than anything."
Things didn't go to plan for Thomas Barr when he found himself pushed off his stride at the 200m break in the final of the 400m, but the European outdoor bronze medallist over 400m hurdles is still excited about Glasgow. "Indoor running, for me, is completely different," he said. "There's always a bit of rough and tumble, which I'm not quite used to In a 400m hurdles it's all about running your own race. Here it's all about tactics, other athletes getting involved. Hopefully I can get a clean, fast race in Glasgow."
Joining Barr is that event is 20-year-old Cillin Greene from Galway City Harriers, who in winning that Irish title clocked a personal best of 47.19 to book his ticket for Glasgow.
Also making her first European Indoor appearance is Síofra Cléirigh Büttner, who in her first season since finishing up a highly successful collegiate career at Villanova, won her first Irish indoor title on Sunday, in 2:04.16, slipping past Claire Mooney around the final bend.
“I haven’t raced all that much, but it’s going well, and hopefully I can get a bit more speed before Glasgow,” she said. “I am running hungry again, the last few months have been tough at times, and it’s nice to remind people I’m still there.”
Sommer Lecky of Finn Valley, who won a brilliant World Under-20 silver medal in the high jump last summer, is the sole field event representative. Joseph Ojewumi from Tallaght AC will also make his Irish senior debut in the 60m, Molly Scott, part of the silver medal winning relay team at those World Under-20 championships, also rewarded for her excellent form of late with selection in the women's 60 along with Ciara Neville and Lauren Roy.
Irish Team, European Indoors, 1st - 3rd March, Glasgow
Joseph Ojewumi 60m (Tallaght AC)
Thomas Barr 400m (Ferrybank AC)
Cillin Greene 400m (Galway City Harriers AC)
Mark English 800m (UCD AC)
Zak Curran 800m (DSD AC)
Conall Kirk 800m (Annadale Striders AC)
John Travers 3,000m (Donore Harriers AC
Sean Tobin 3,000m (Clonmel AC)
Molly Scott 60m (St. L. O'Toole AC)
Lauren Roy 60m (City of Lisburn AC)
Ciara Neville 60m (Emerald AC)
Phil Healy 400m (Bandon AC)
Sophie Becker 400m (St. Joseph's AC)
Siofra Cleirigh Buttner 800m (DSD AC)
Ciara Mageean 1,500m (UCD AC)
Sommer Lecky High Jump (Finn Vally AC)