Irish women lead medal hunt at European Indoor Championships
Ciara Mageean hoping to repeat or improve on European bronze medal at 1,500m
Ireland’s Ciara Mageean. Photograph: Morgan Treacy/Inpho
Not for the first time Irish women will outnumber the men at a major championship athletics event, and lead the medal hopes too, as Athletics Ireland confirm their 11-strong team for the European Indoors, set for Belgrade, March 3-5th.
Among the six women is Ciara Mageean, selected in the 1,500m, and looking to repeat or indeed better her European bronze medal won over the same distance outdoors in Amsterdam last summer.
Mageean will be joined by fellow Rio Olympian Kerry O’Flaherty, who competed in the 3,000m steeplechase last summer, but moves down to 1,500m. Limerick schoolgirl Ciara Neville will make her senior debut in the 60m having won the national title in Abbotstown on Sunday, while Phil Healy runs both the 60m and 400m. Amy Foster is also doing the 60m, and Sinead Denny the 400m.
The men’s medal hopes will likely rest with Brian Gregan, ranked 10th in Europe over 400m thanks to his 46.59 on Sunday when also winning the national title. John Travers is also selected in the 1,500m on the back of winning the national title at the weekend, while former British representative Zak Curran will also make his Irish debut in the 800m. Tomas Cotter (3,000m) and Ben Reynolds (60m hurdles) complete the team.
“This is the first step out into the next Olympic cycle having acquitted ourselves extremely well in Rio,” says Irish team manager Patsy McGonagle. “We will be building from that and we look forward to the year ahead. This will be the highlight of the indoor season at elite level.”
Irish team, European Indoors, Belgrade (March 3-5th)
Phil Healy (Bandon) 60m/400m
Ciara Neville (Emerald) 60m
Amy Foster (City of Lisburn) 60m
Sinead Denny (DSD) 400m
Ciara Mageean (UCD) 1,500m
Kerry O’Flaherty (Newcastle) 1,500m
Brian Gregan (Clonliffe Harriers) 400m
Zak Curran (DSD) 800m
John Travers (Donore Harriers) 1,500m
Tomas Cotter (Dunleer) 3,000m
Ben Reynolds (North Down) 60m hurdles
Team manager: Patsy McGonagle