Thursday, February 18, 2021

KILDARE  athletes, Claire Mooney (Naas AC) and John Fitzsimons (Kildare AC) will be in action this weekend as all eyes turn to the Sport Ireland National Indoor Arena as Ireland’s top athletes return to competition at the Irish Life Health Elite Micro Meet on Saturday and Sunday.

 

Claire Mooney Naas AC Photo: INPHO/James Crombie

The event which received Government approval via the Sport Ireland Expert Group will see athletes compete for European Indoor qualification, as well as Category E World Ranking points for all those athletes working towards Tokyo qualification. A full stream of both days will be available on the Athletics Ireland YouTube Channel.

Entry is restricted to athletes tracking towards Olympic Games qualification and European Indoor Championships qualification, including senior relay panels. A small number of additional athletes have also been invited to ensure the event is compliant with permitting requirements so that all results are valid for qualification purposes. The participation of each athlete has been approved by Government via Sport Ireland Expert Group.

With the European Indoor Championships scheduled to take place on the 5, 6, and 7 of March in Poland, St Coca’s Paul Robinson has already qualification target, many athletes will be eager to get back into competitive action at the Covid-19 compliant event.

John Fitzsimons is part of an impressive field which is confirmed for the Men’s 800m on Saturday. The Kildare AC athlete has a personal best of 1:50:47 at the distance and he will be joined at the start by 2019 European Indoor Medalist Mark English (Finn Valley A.C.) who will be looking to open his season. English already has the European Indoor Standard. Others in the race will be Cian McPhillips (Longford A.C.), and Conor Duncan (Ratoath A.C.) with Kevin Woods of Crusaders A.C set to pace.

Claire Mooney of Naas AC will be involved in arguably the race of the day on Sunday, the Women’s 800m which has seen a number of stunning performances over the distance in recent days and weeks. Mooney has a personal best of 2:03:56 and a season best of 2:06:79. As well as the Naas AC athlete the impressive line-up includes Jenna Bromell (Emerald A.C.), Georgie Hartigan (Dundrum South Dublin A.C.), Katie Kirk (University of Ulster Jordanstown), Iseult O’Donnell (Raheny Shamrock A.C. –Achieved European Indoor Standard), and Louise Shanahan (Leevale A.C. – Achieved European Indoor Standard). Sinead Denny of DSD A.C. is set to pace. Mooney had a great battle with O’Donnell in the Nationals last autumn before finishing in the bronze position.

OTHER RACES: 
Saturday 20 February 
200m Women 11.40am
The action gets underway at 11.40am on Saturday with the Women’s 200m where the trio of Sharlene Mawdsley (Newport A.C.), Catherine McManus (Dublin City Harriers A.C.) and Sarah McCarthy (Mid Sutton A.C.) take to the starting blocks.
200m Men 11.55am
The Men’s 200m follows shortly after (11.55am) where Marcus Lawler (St. L. O’Toole A.C.), Leon Reid (Menapians A.C.), and 2020 National Indoor Champion Mark Smyth (Raheny Shamrock A.C.) will be eager to lay down a marker for the season ahead with ranking points towards Tokyo on offer.

High Jump: Men and Women 12.10pm
The High Jump will see 2020 double Indoor/Outdoor Champions David Cussen (Old Abbey A.C.) build on his impressive PB of 2.10 alongside Jordan Lee of Killarney Valley A.C. Women’s Indoor Champion Sommer Lecky (Finn Valley A.C.) will look to continue with her year-on-year progression as she looks to track towards a big outdoor season. Aoife O’Sullivan of Liscarroll A.C. will complete the High Jump field.

60m Hurdles Women 13.25pm (2 series – the second will take place an hour after the first race)
The 60m Hurdles will see the return of Sarah Lavin (Emerald A.C.) who recently secured a PB (8.18) in Ostrava last month. Lavin has already acquired the European Indoor Standard. 2019 European U20 Championships silver medalist (Heptathlon) Kate O’Connor will complete the 60m hurdles line up.

60m Hurdles Men 13.40pm (2 series – the second will take place an hour after the first race)
Multiple National Champion Gerard O’Donnell (Carrick-on-Shannon A.C.) will line up beside fellow National Champion Matthew Behan of Crusaders A.C. in the Men’s 60m Hurdles in what will be a season opener for both athletes.

1500m Women 16.10pm
The middle-distance division looks particularly strong at present and the 1500m will see 2020 800m National Champion Amy O’Donoghue (Emerald A.C.) take to the start line. Ellie Hartnett of UCD A.C. will complete the line-up along side Clonliffe Harriers A.C. athlete Greta Streimikyte who will be eager to impress as she builds towards the Paralympic Games later this year. (Pacer TBC).

800m Men 16.25pm
There is an impressive field confirmed for the Men’s 800m and 2019 European Indoor Medalist Mark English (Finn Valley A.C.) will be looking to open his season. English who already has the European Indoor Standard will be joined by John Fitzsimons (Kildare A.C.), Cian McPhillips (Longford A.C.), and Conor Duncan (Ratoath A.C.). Kevin Woods of Crusaders A.C is set to pace.

Shot Put Men and Women 16.35pm
Finn Valley’s James Kelly will be the sole competitor in the Men’s Shot Put and he will be eager to build on his impressive 2020 campaign. The Women’s Shot Put will see the return of National Indoor Champion Michaela Walsh (Swinford A.C.), who will line up alongside Casey Mulvey (Inny Vale A.C.), and Ciara Sheehy of Emerald AC. Kate O’Connor (Dundalk St. Gerards A.C.) will complete the field as she looks to build towards another season on the Combined Events circuit.

3000m Men 18.00pm
Arguably the race of the day could be the Men’s 3000m where the 1-2-3 from the 2020 National Indoor Championships will take to the start line. A line up of Darragh McElhinney (U.C.D. A.C.), Hiko Tonosa (Dundrum South Dublin A.C.), John Travers (Donore Harriers), Conor Bradley (City of Derry Spartans A.C.), and Michael Power (West Waterford A.C.) should prove an intriguing race. All 5 athletes will be seeking to achieve the European Indoor Standard. Jonny Whan of Clonliffe Harriers A.C. is set to pace.

Sunday 21 February 
400m Women 11.40am
Day two starts off with the Women’s 400m and multiple National Champions will be taking to the starting blocks. Phil Healy (Bandon A.C – Acquired European Indoor Standard last year) will look to continue on from her record breaking 200m this time last year, alongside 2020 National Indoor and Outdoor 400m Champion Sophie Becker (Raheny Shamrock A.C.). Completing the 400m field will be Sharlene Mawdsley (Newport A.C.), Catherine McManus (Dublin City Harriers A.C.), Grainne Moynihan (West Muskerry A.C.), and Nicole Walsh (Galway City Harriers A.C.).

400m Men 11.45am
The Men’s 400m looks like it will be a tight affair on paper and all four athletes will be looking to impress. The line up contains 2020 indoor champion Cathal Crosbie (Ennis Track A.C.), alongside outdoor champion Christoper O’Donnell (North Sligo A.C.), Cillín Greene (Galway City Harriers A.C.), and Andrew Mellon, Andrew (Crusaders A.C.).

Long Jump Men and Women 12.15pm
National Champion Shane Howard of Bandon A.C. will be the sole representative in the men’s long jump, while multiple National Champion Saragh Buggy (St. Abbans A.C.) will be joined by Sarah McCarthy (Mid Sutton A.C.), and Kate O’Connor (Dundalk St. Gerards A.C.) in the Women’s Long Jump.

1500m Men 13.40pm
The 1500m will see the experienced John Travers (Donore Harriers) take to the start line beside Luke McCann (U.C.D. A.C. – Achieved European Indoor Standard) who impressed in his recent outing at the Meeting de l’Eure, in Normandy on 14 February. Jonny Whan (Clonliffe Harriers A.C.) who impressed throughout 2020 completes the field. Kevin Woods (Crusaders A.C.) is down to pace.

60m Women 15.15pm (2 series – the second will take place an hour after the first race)
There is a strong representation in the Women’s 60m event and all 7 athletes will be eager to claim the fastest time on Sunday. Joan Healy (Leevale A.C.) has the European Indoor standard from 2020, while other athletes confirmed for the start line this weekend include Kate Doherty (Dundrum South Dublin A.C.), Sarah Lavin (Emerald A.C.), Lauren Roy (City of Lisburn A.C.), Molly Scott (St. L. O’Toole A.C.), Aoife Lynch (Donore Harriers A.C.) and Niamh Whelan (Ferrybank A.C.).

60m Men 15.25 (2 series – the second will take place an hour after the first race)
The final event of the Irish Life Health Elite Micro Meet is the Men’s 60m and there is unlikely to be much between all 7 athletes scheduled to run. Leon Reid (Menapians A.C.) holds a European Indoor Standard from last year. Marcus Lawler (St. L. O’Toole A.C. ), and Mark Smyth (Raheny Shamrock A.C.) look set to double up this weekend, while Conor Morey (Leevale A.C.), Joseph Ojewumi (Tallaght A.C.), and Israel Olatunde (UCD A.C.) will look to start their 2021 seasons off with a bang. 2020 National Indoor Champion Dean Adams (Ballymena & Antrim A.C) completes the stacked field.

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