Irish athletes turn Elite Micro Meet into festival of national records

English and McPhillips set new 800m personal bests as Healy shines in 400m race

Mark English and Cian McPhillips fronted the landslide of super-fast times at the Athletics Ireland Elite Micro Meet. Photograph:  Sam Barnes/Sportsfile

Mark English and Cian McPhillips fronted the landslide of super-fast times at the Athletics Ireland Elite Micro Meet. Photograph: Sam Barnes/Sportsfile

 

The plan was for some race experience and maybe some more qualifiers for next month’s European Indoor Championships in Poland and instead it turned into a festival of national records and personal bests, Mark English and Cian McPhillips fronting the landslide of super-fast times at the Athletics Ireland Elite Micro Meet.

The absence of spectators at the Sport Ireland Indoor Arena at Abbotstown didn’t take from the excitement either, English just about holding off the challenge of rising teenage star McPhillips to break his own Irish indoor 800m record on Saturday evening, clocking 1:46.10 to his younger rival’s 1:46.13.

For English, running in his first indoor race of the season and also now working as a medical doctor, that improved his previous indoor record of 1:46.82, clocked in Athlone back in 2014; rarely, possibly even never, has a second place been so handsomely rewarded, McPhillips, a Leaving Cert student at Moyne Community School in Longford, improving his best by six seconds, taking almost two full seconds off the Irish junior record which had belonged to English, his 1:46.13 the second fastest run indoors by an 18-year-old in European athletics history, second only to 2004 Olympic champion Yuriy Borzakovskiy of Russia.

Improving

It also qualifies McPhillips, who considers himself a 1,500m specialist, for the European Indoors in Torun, Poland, the weekend after next, and such was the quality of that race third-placed John Fitzsimons was also inside the standard with his 1:47.80. Several other Irish athletes followed in quick succession, John Travers winning the 3,000m in 7:50.40, with Darragh McElhinney also smashing his personal best in second with 7:50.80, an Irish under-23 record.

Into Sunday’s rollover and Phil Healy continued apace, improving her indoor 400m best to 51.99, the sixth fastest by any European this season, with Sophie Becker (53.20) and Sharlene Mawdsley (53.56) also inside the qualifying standard for Torun.

Georgie Hartigan of Dundrum South Dublin AC, Dublin, reacts after winning in the Women’s 800m with a PB of 2:01.48. Photograph: Sam Barnes/Sportsfile
Georgie Hartigan of Dundrum South Dublin AC, Dublin, reacts after winning in the Women’s 800m with a PB of 2:01.48. Photograph: Sam Barnes/Sportsfile

The women’s 800m provided even greater depth of impression, with Georgie Hartigan, who last year switched allegiance from Britain and is now running with Dundrum South Dublin AC, running the second fastest on the Irish all-time list when winning in 2.01.48, with Louise Shanahan (2.01.67) and Iseult O’Donnell (2.02.29) also setting significant personal bests and European marks.

The men’s 60 metres also saw Leon Reid improve his indoor best to 6.68 seconds, having also won the 200m on Saturday with a best of 20.99, and there was plenty of consolation in second place there too for Israel Olatunde, the UCD AC athlete, also still only 18, who broke the Irish under-20 and under-23 records with his 6.73.

Also adding his name to the list of Irish athletes qualified for the European Indoor was another UCD AC athlete, Luke McCann, who won the 1,500m with a personal best of 3:40.03, Travers again inside the standard with his 3:41.74, and in the first of two women’s 60 metre races, Molly Scott also took the win and another European Indoor standard to boot in 7.36. Despite the lockdown, one of the most productive weekends for Irish athletes in many years.

The Irish Times Logo
Commenting on The Irish Times has changed. To comment you must now be an Irish Times subscriber.
SUBSCRIBE
GO BACK
Error Image
The account details entered are not currently associated with an Irish Times subscription. Please subscribe to sign in to comment.
Comment Sign In

Forgot password?
The Irish Times Logo
Thank you
You should receive instructions for resetting your password. When you have reset your password, you can Sign In.
The Irish Times Logo
Please choose a screen name. This name will appear beside any comments you post. Your screen name should follow the standards set out in our community standards.
Screen Name Selection

Hello

Please choose a screen name. This name will appear beside any comments you post. Your screen name should follow the standards set out in our community standards.

The Irish Times Logo
Commenting on The Irish Times has changed. To comment you must now be an Irish Times subscriber.
SUBSCRIBE
Forgot Password
Please enter your email address so we can send you a link to reset your password.

Sign In

Your Comments
We reserve the right to remove any content at any time from this Community, including without limitation if it violates the Community Standards. We ask that you report content that you in good faith believe violates the above rules by clicking the Flag link next to the offending comment or by filling out this form. New comments are only accepted for 3 days from the date of publication.