Thomas Barr pulls up as indoor push comes to shove

In the women’s 400m metres Phil Healy defended her title with a championship best

Cillin Greene of Galway City Harriers AC, leads the mens 400m as Thomas Barr of Ferrybank A.C, tussles with Andrew Mellon of Crusaders AC and Brendan Arrey of Raheny Shamrock AC. Photo: Sam Barnes/Sportsfile

Cillin Greene of Galway City Harriers AC, leads the mens 400m as Thomas Barr of Ferrybank A.C, tussles with Andrew Mellon of Crusaders AC and Brendan Arrey of Raheny Shamrock AC. Photo: Sam Barnes/Sportsfile

 

Not every athlete warms to indoor running. Catherina McKiernan didn’t even go there, and Steve Ovett once compared it to racing around a bathtub. Only he invariably fell down the drain.

Sometimes it feels like a different sport completely – as Thomas Barr suddenly realised when finding himself gently shoved and then pushed off his stride. With that went his chance of winning an Irish indoor 400 metres title, Barr obviously more used to a different sort of hurdle. All part of the banked bends and short straights.

“It just felt like an arm came up onto my shoulder, shoved me out of the way,” said Barr, describing the mid-race manoeuvring at the bell in that 400m. “I’m the slight sort of fella, so I didn’t have the strength to stay through. I probably should have stayed a bit wider. But no blame, no. That’s indoor running.”

The arm on Barr’s shoulder was that of Andrew Mellon, intent of edging his way into second, Brendon Arrey on his inside. By then Cillin Greene had stolen the lead and in the end the title too, the 20-year-old from Galway clocking 47.19 seconds, a qualifying time for the European Indoors in Glasgow. Mellon held on for second in 48.02, Arrey third in 48.15, while Barr pulled up, cautiously, and perhaps a little staggered, at that 200m mark.

Barr is already qualified for those Europeans, using the indoor season as a speed-tuning exercise for the 400m hurdles outdoors: no harm getting used to a little aggression either.

Barr is pushed right out of the race. Photo: Bryan Keane/inpho
Barr is pushed right out of the race. Photo: Bryan Keane/inpho

“Indoor running, for me, is completely different. 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, but I was slow out of the blocks, left myself with a bit of work to do. Then Andrew came up on the inside, he’s got a bit more weight behind him. I got pushed, but that’s indoor running. I could have finished the race, but felt my ankle go over a little bit, and my knee too, that I hurt a little bit in Athlone on Wednesday (when falling over the line in second place). So I didn’t think it was worth the risk, for the day that’s in it. But another reminder for me, before Glasgow, that there will be heavy shoulders at the break.”

Indeed there’s nothing wrong with Barr’s fitness, and having most of the top Irish athletes running well indoors at the same time is a rare thing – especially two weeks out from those Europeans. And in winning national titles at the Abbotstown arena none were more impressive than Phil Healy.

In defending her women’s 400 metres title Healy also made a statement of intent, her 52.81 seconds a championship best performance, won utterly convincingly from the front. “Delighted with that, that’s two solid races over the weekend, and great to get the win,” said Healy, her 52.31 from Vienna last month still ranked fourth fastest in Europe. The least she’ll want in Glasgow is to make that final.

“I pushed myself a little more than usual in the heats too, on Saturday, and it is that bit harder running on your own, even with the girls chasing behind you. And I know rankings go out the window in championship running, 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.”

Phil Healy wins the women’s 400m event. Photo: Sam Barnes/Sportsfile
Phil Healy wins the women’s 400m event. Photo: Sam Barnes/Sportsfile

With her impressing done for the week, setting an Irish 1,500m record in Athlone on Wednesday, Ciara Mageean moved up a distance and won the 3,000m title on Saturday, in 9:02.57 – exactly 11 years after winning her first senior title as a 15 year-old: now qualified in both events for Glasgow, Mageean is more likely to go for the shorter race. “It gives me an option,” she said, “which is nice, and it’s great to be enjoying the running so much as well.”

Also enjoying and impressing again is Mark English, who won a sixth indoor title over 800m in 1:51.77, the first won back in 2011 when also a teenager. Now 25, English ran his fastest 800m in four years in Athlone (1:46.92), and four years on from winning European Indoor silver in Prague in 2015, the UCD medical student appears to have his confidence back too.

“Yes, a nice return to form, the plan here was to get the win, and nice to have that 1:46 going onto European Indoors,” said English, who held off Zak Kirwan in second (1:51.91). “Medals aren’t the be-all and end-all for me now. 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.

“Though I did run 1:45 in 2017, with an injury. This year the injuries have stayed away, so quite happy with that. I’ve made some mechanical adjustments to my form, over the winter, and that’s helped, and does show, in terms of efficiency.”

Síofra Cléirigh Büttner is also back enjoying that often difficult first year out of college in America, finishing at Villanova last summer, winning her first Irish senior indoor 800m title 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, hoping to get selected now,” 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.”

Joseph Ojewumi, already qualified for Glasgow in the 60m, stamped his selection by winning a first national title in 6.78, the closest of margins ahead of Marcus Lawler (6.79), and Molly Scott did likewise in winning the women’s 60m in 7.32, ahead of Ciara Neville (7.40). Impressing too was Kate Doherty in winning the 60m hurdles in 8.29.

On the infield, Ruby Millet won the long jump in a new national U-20 record of 6.20m, while Sommer Lecky won the high jump in 1.86m. Winning the 200m, not a championship event in Glasgow, was 16 year-old Rhasidat Adeleke in 24.13, Leon Reid defending his men’s title in 21.42.

Irish Life Health National Indoor Championships

Men

60m: 1. Joseph Ojewumi (Tallaght) 6.78, 2. Marcus Lawler (SLOT) 6.79, 3. Dean Adams (Ballymena & Antrim) 6.88

200m: 1. Leon Reid (Menapians) 21.42, 2. Mark Smyth (Raheny Shamrock) 21.64, 3. Conor Morey (Leevale) 21.95

400m: 1. Cillin Greene (Galway City Harriers) 47.19, 2. Andrew Mellon (Crusaders) 48.02, 3. Brandon Arrey (Raheny Shamrock) 48.15

800m: 1. Mark English (UCD) 1:51.77, 2. Zak Curran (DSD) 1:51.91, 3. Conor Duncan (Ratoath) 1:53.00

1,500m: 1. Eoin Pearce (Clonliffe Harriers) 3:55.54, 2. Eoin Everard (Kilkenny City Harriers) 3:55.79, 3. Kieran Kelly (Raheny Shamrock) 3:56.48

3,000m: 1. John Travers (Donore Harriers) 8:07.89, 2. Paul Robinson (St Coca’s) 8:09.79, 3. Brian Fay (Raheny Shamrock) 8:10.10

5,000m race walk: 1. Alex Wright (Leevale) 18:53.87, 2. Brendan Boyce (Finn Valley) 20:16.00, 3. David Kenny (Farranfore Maine Valley) 20:41.92

60m hurdles: 1. Matthew Behan (Crusaders) 7.96, 2. Rolus Olusa (Clonliffe Harriers) 8.17, 3. Shane Aston (Trim) 8.33

Long jump: 1. Shane Howard (Bandon) 7.44m, 2. Keith Marks (Clonliffe Harriers) 7.19m, 3. Shane Keane (Crusaders) 6.80m

Triple Jump: 1. Mark Burton (Queens) 14.29m, 2. Jordan Hoang (Tullamore Harriers) 14.18m, 3. Sean Thompson (Lucan Harriers) 14.04m

High jump: 1. Shane Aston (Trim) 2.00m, 2. Kourosh Foroughi (Star of the Sea) 1.95m, 3. Francois Kulik (Sli Cualann) 1.90m, 3. Ciaran Connolly (Le Cheile) 1.90m

Pole vault: 1. Michael Bowler (Enniscorthy) 4.60m, 2. Matthew Callinan Keenan (SLOT) 4.50m, Shane Aston (Trim) 4.10m

Shot Put: 1. Sean Breathnach (Galway City Harriers) 16.22m, 2. Brendan Staunto

Women

60m: 1. Molly Scott (SLOT) 7.32, 2. Ciara Neville (Emerald) 7.40, 3. Patience Jumbo-Gula (Dundalk St Gerard’s) 7.44

200m: 1. Rhasidat Adeleke (Tallaght) 24.13, 2. Catherine McManus (DCH) 24.72, 3. Aoife Lynch (Donore Harriers) 24.83

400m; 1. Phil Healy (Bandon) 52.81 CBP, 2. Sophie Becker (St Joseph’s) 53.95, 3. Nessa Millet (St Abban’s) 55.33

800m: 1. Siofra Cleirigh Buttner (DSD) 2:04.15, 2. Claire Mooney (UCD) 2:04.67, 3. Nadia Power (Templeogue) 2:06.51

1,500m: 1. Amy O’Donoghue (Emerald) 4:22.18, Ellie Hartnett (UCD) 4:22.49, 3. Maisy O’Sullivan (St Abban’s) 4:24.10

3,000m: 1. Ciara Mageean (UCD) 9:02.57, 2. Michelle Finn (Leevale) 9:14.13, 3. Sarah Healy (Blackrock) 9:24.48

3,000m race walk: 1. Kate Veale (West Waterford) 13:18.39, 2. Niamh O’Connor (Celbridge) 13:49.13, 3. Sarah Glennon (Mullingar Harriers) 14:18.78

60m hurdles: 1. Kate Doherty (DSD) 8.29m, 2. Molly Scott (SLOT) 8.36, 3. Sarah Quinn (St Colman’s South Mayo) 8.69

Long Jump: 1. Ruby Millet (St Abban’s) 6.20m, 2. Lydia Mills (Ballymena & Antrim) 5.68m, 3. Amy McTeggart (Boyne) 5.56m

Triple jump: 1. Saragh Buggy (St Abban’s) 13.05 CBP, 2. Lauren Callaghan (Finn Valley) 11.43m, 3. Grace Furlong (Waterford) 11.36m

High Jump: 1. Sommer Lecky (Finn Valley) 1.86m, 2. Phillipa Rogan (Sli Cualann) 1.83m, 3. Amy McTeggart (Boyne) 5.56m

Pole vault: 1. Clodagh Walsh (Abbey Striders) 3.60m, 2. Ciara Hickey (Blarney/Inniscara) 3.50m, 3. Orla Coffey (Carraig na Bhfear) 3.20m

Shot Put: 1. Micheala Walsh (Swinford) 14.44m, 2. Alana Frattaroli (Limerick) 13.05m, 3. Geraldine Stewart (Tir Chonaill) 11.76m

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