Following swiftly on from Jason Smyth’s superb IPC World Championships sprint double in Lyon last week, the weekend National Championships in Dublin saw some significant local performances.
Indeed, sprint hurdler Tom Carey (right) reappeared from a fallow two years to grab the 110m Hurdles individual gold in the Morton Stadium.
Declan Reed and Connor Bradley were also prominent in their 5,000m and 1,500m finals, both finishing in fifth place with strong runs but sadly despite some worthy efforts, only the cross channel based Tom Carey made it onto the podium in Dublin.
On Friday evening Greg Roberts got back to winning ways with an emphatic win in Ballymoney at the NFU Five mile road race, his 26m 25s clocking bringing him home on a testing course, well clear of the 200 plus field.
Meanwhile Gary Slevin had an unusual double at Malin Town on Sunday morning, taking both the Malin Mile and 5K titles posting 4m 47s and 16m 41s in the process.
Starting with the Morton Stadium Championships and Tom Carey, the forgotten man of local athletics made a winning return by clocking 14.77s to convincingly take the 110m Hurdles gold medal on Sunday afternoon.
The cross channel based athlete with Collon Lane connections, was a stalwart of the high flying Spartans men’s National League squad up to 2011 but increasing work demands and injury sidelined him until his surprise return this weekend.
He was a clear winner on Sunday and hopefully can build on this significant victory into the future.
Connor Bradley qualified comfortably on Saturday for Sunday’s 1,500m final and in a gripping race was up there but sadly not in a medal position at the line.
His fifth place finish in 4m 47.75s was a good effort and he did win the battle of the North West runners with Letterkenny’s Danny Mooney, seventh on 3m 50.33s.
However in a desperate drive to the line he missed out on individual bronze by just over half a second, John Coghlan claiming it on 3m 47.17s and Annadale Striders James O’Hare grabbing fourth with 3m 47.41s.
Kilkenny man Eoin Everard just about snatched the gold with 3m 44.58s, inches ahead of the West Waterford athlete David McCarthy, a man with significant local connections, who posted 3m 44.73s for a close up silver.
In the 5,000m final Declan Reed improved his track pb to a very impressive 14m 39.34s for a hard earned fifth place finish, a great effort from the doughty Spartan and a result of some serious training in recent months.
The title was won convincingly in 14m 07.18s by Mark Christie of Mullingar but behind him there was a terrific tussle between the next four finishers with eight seconds separating them on the line.
Michael Mulhare of Portlaoise took silver on 14m 31.37s, East Cork athlete James McCarthy claimed bronze on 14m 34.52s and was followed in 14m 36.01s by Annadale’s Andrew Agnew with the Spartan chasing him home, some 11 seconds clear of the sixth placer.
The other locals battled well and in a few cases could well have made their event finals.
In the men’s 800m Pajo Hamilton ran 1m 55.07s in his heat and was desperately unlucky not to make the final. The guy 0.11s ahead of him qualified as did two runners from another heat who posted 1m 59s clockings!
Letterkenny’s Darren McBrearty ran 1m 50.21s for bronze in the final.
Aaron Carlyle ran a strong 50.54s in his 400m heat but he too didn’t make the cut for the final. The man who pipped him ran 50. 38s to qualify and the local man was left considering what could have been.
However it’s good to see him back in good shape and there will be other opportunities no doubt.
Mark English flew back from his Friday night London Diamond meeting heroics to qualify on Saturday and pushed defending champion Brian Murphy all the way in Sunday’s final, second on 27.27s behind Murphy’s 47.17s.
Amy McDaid took in both the women’s 800m and 1,500m but found the pace in both too hot to handle at this stage of her development. Emmet McGinty ran 20th in the 5,000m final posting 15m 39.49s.
An athlete well know on the local circuit Lifford’s Anne Marie McGlynn took silver in the Women’s 5,000m, her 16m 41s clocking bringing her home behind winner Maria McCambridge’s 15m 59s.