Walker Brendan Boyce and 800m runner Mark English are in the team but Tori Pena has decided not to travel.
Reigning 50k World Walks Champion Robert Heffernan will lead as the team of 30 to compete at the European Track and Field Championships in Zurich 12-17th of August. This is one of the largest teams ever to compete at the championships.
Last August the Cork man made history by becoming Ireland’s third ever World Champion when he struck gold in Moscow. At the 2010 Barcelona European Championship, a medal eluded Heffernan on two occasions with fourth placing’s in both the 20km and 50km Walk
Heffernan said: “I am really looking forward to the huge challenge that lies ahead in Zurich and look forward to bringing more national pride to Ireland”. He will be joined by Brendan Boyce while Laura Reynolds competes in the 20k Walk.
21 year old Thomas Barr has had a breakthrough season smashing the Irish 400m Hurdles record running 48.90, a time which currently ranks him number three on the European rankings. The Waterford man has added to his building reputation by beating the reigning World Champion Jehue Gordon of Trinidad at the Morton Games. Barr who was a semi-finalist at the 2012 European Championships is looking to become Ireland’s first male finalist in 400m Hurdles: “I will be targeting a place in the final and then I will be looking to deliver my best performance”
Mark English will make his debut European appearance with his season’s best of 1.45.03 run in the 800m at New York Diamond League meeting ranks him fourth in Europe. At the Morton Games English produced another fine performance setting a stadium record of 1.45.30 when winning the 800m in convincing style from Martin Ryan of USA. The Donegal man will be joined by Declan Murray.
Ireland will be represented in the 1500m by Ciaran O’Lionaird, Paul Robinson and John Travers. This is the first time since 1986 that Ireland has three representatives in this event.
Ciaran O’Lionaird (Leevale AC) who was a World Finalist in 2011 secured his place on the team by winning the GloHealth national championships on Sunday. While Robinson has had a series of impressive runs this year including setting a new personal best in the mile of 3.54.77 at the Oslo Diamond league on the 11th of June. John Travers 1500m split of 3:37.27 at the Morton Mile qualified him for the European Championships (3:39.30) and he followed this up with a third placing at the national championships.
Former double European Cross Country Champion Fionnuala Britton will contest the 5000m and 10,000m at her fourth European championships which equals the Irish record for number of appearances at the championships. Britton placed fourth in the 10,000m in the 2012 championships. Sarah Collins has made the decision not to compete in the 5000m after an intense NCAA season.
Brian Gregan who secured the needed standard in the final week of qualification with 45.94 to finish sixth in the 400m at the Gugl Meet in Austria will be looking to continue his improved run of form. He was a finalist at the 2012 Championships.
Irish Record Holder Amy Foster will be competing in the 100m alongside Phil Healy. National Junior Record Holder Sarah Lavin will line up in the women’s 100m Hurdles and Christine McMahon in the 400m Hurdles.
National champion Zoe Brown will be the sole representative in the Pole Vault with Tori Pena making the decision to withdraw as season hasn’t gone as planned.
Ireland will be represented in relays with a women’s 4x100m team and a men’s 4x400m team.
Kevin Ankrom High Performance Manager said: “These European Championships will be highly competitive with all of Europe’s best set to compete. This team has medal potential and I will be looking for our key athletes to progress through the rounds and to make finals”.
He added: “For athletes like Sarah Lavin and Christine McMahon these championships will form an integral part of their performance development towards Rio 2016 and beyond”
Athletics Ireland has also announced that for the first time they will be sending a team to compete in the European Marathon Cup which is run in conjunction with the European championships Marathon with the results based on the national team’s three fastest finishers. Paul Pollock (Annadale Striders AC) will lead the men’s team and Nicola Duncan (Galway City Harriers AC) will lead the women’s team. There is first Irish International caps for Marathoners Thomas Frazer, Kevin Seaward, and Barbara Sanchez
National Endurance Coach Chris Jones said “It is a big step forward for us to be sending teams to compete in the men’s and women’s marathon cup competition at the European Championships. We have worked closely with the marathon mission squad to ensure that our eight athletes will be competitive in Zurich.”
|Amy Foster||100||City of Lisburn AC||David Reid|
|Phil Healy||100||Bandon AC||Shane McCormack|
|Kelly Proper||200||Ferrybank AC||Brid Golden|
|Brian Gregan||400||Clonliffe Harriers AC||John Coghlan|
|Richard Morrissey||400||Crusaders AC||Chris Zah|
|Declan Murray||800||Clonliffe Harriers AC||Frank Gagliano|
|Mark English||800||UCD AC|
|Ciarán Ó Lionáird||1500||Leevale AC||Mark Rowland|
|John Travers||1500||Donore Harriers||Jerry Kiernan|
|Paul Robinson||1500||St Coca’s AC||Robert Denmead|
|Sarah Lavin||100h||UCD AC||Noelle Morrissey|
|Laura Reynolds||20k RW||Mohill and District AC||Colin Griffin|
|Christine McMahon||400h||Ballymena & Antrim AC||Ian Neely|
|Jason Harvey||400h||Crusaders AC||Paul McKee|
|Thomas Barr||400h||Ferrybank AC||Hayley and Drew Harrison|
|Fionnuala Britton||5000/10000||Kilcoole AC||Chris Jones|
|Brendan Boyce||50k RW||Letterkenny AC||Robert Heffernan|
|Robert Heffernan||50k RW||Togher AC||Marian Heffernan|
|Barbara Sanchez||Marathon||Clonliffe Harriers AC||Sebastien Locteau|
|Kevin Seaward||Marathon||St Malachy’s AC|
|Maria Cambridge||Marathon||DSD AC|
|Nicola Duncan||Marathon||Galway City Harriers AC||Nick Anderson|
|Paul Pollock||Marathon||Annadale Striders AC||Andy Hobdell|
|Sean Hehir||Marathon||Rathfarnham WSAF AC||Dick Hooper|
|Thomas Frazer||Marathon||St. Malachy’s AC||Tony Houchin|
|Zoe Brown||PV||Raheny Shamrock AC||Jim Alexander|
|Women’s||4×1||Final Pool to be Announced by the 27th of July|
|Men’s||4×4||Brian Gregan, Richard Morrissey, Thomas Barr, Mark English, Craig Lynch, Brian Murphy|
|Sarah Collins||5000||Withdrew from selection|
|Tori Pena||PV||Withdrew from selection|