MARK ENGLISH GOES in search of his seventh Irish 800m title at this weekend’s Irish Life Health National Senior Championships.
English heads for Morton Stadium bidding to win a sixth title in a row and a seventh in total going back to his first in 2011.
The Letterkenny man – who has also won six Irish indoor crowns – has already had a memorable 2019 with the winning of a bronze medal at the European Indoor Championships in Glasgow.
In early March, English came home in 1:47.39 at the Emirates Arena, behind Alvaro de Arriba of Spain and Great Britain’s Jamie Webb to win his third European medal following a 2014 outdoor bronze and a 2015 indoor silver.
English will face competition from Zak Curran and John Fitzsimons, but it would rank as a mammoth upset if the 26-year-old UCD AC star is not atop the podium on Sunday evening.
A week after a fifth place finish at the European Under-20 Championships in Boras, Sweden, Sommer Lecky will look for glory in the women’s high jump.
Last weekend, Lecky got over at 1.84 metres, but it wasn’t enough to get the 2018 World Junior silver medalist into the top three.
“I’m kind of gutted because I knew 1.87m was in me but you have to perform on the day,” was the verdict of the Finn Valley AC woman.
Lecky won this event with a 1.71m attempt in 2016 – when she had just turned 16.
Brendan Boyce has already qualified for the 2020 Olympic Games in Rio and the Finn Valley AC man goes in Sunday’s 10k race walk amid a stacked field that included Leevale’s Alex Wright, Cian McManamon from Westport and Farranfore Main Valley’s David Kenny.
Boyce has a full collection of gold, silver and bronze from this event previously and will hope to add to the sideboard on Sunday.
The Kelly brothers, John and James, will be in shot put contention, but face strong competition there in the likes of Eric Favors (Raheny) and Sean Breathnach (Galway City Harriers).
Just last week, John Kelly set a new Ulster and Donegal shot put record with an 18.01m attempt in Sweden. John won the event in 2017, while he was the 2016 silver medalist and younger brother James was the bronze medalist last year.
Geraldine Stewart from Tir Chonaill AC took silver in the women’s shot put in 2018 and will be hopeful of returning this weekend with some success.
Kelly McGrory of Tir Chonaill AC helped Ireland set a new 4x400m mixed relay record of 3:24.14 at last month’s European Games in Minsk. McGrory has had her share of injury woe, but ran the third leg of the race to help make a new mark
McGrory is in the 400m hurdles action this weekend having won the event three years ago.
Conall Mahon has already won a triple jump bronze medal and Caolan O’Callaghan was an agonising fourth in 2017. The Tir Chonaill AC pair go again this weekend in the capital.
American-based Finn Valley AC student Oisin Gallen will be hopeful of a final in the 1500m while Finn Valley’s Mollie Gribbin is another to watch in the jumps.
Among the other Donegal athletes in action are Lifford-Strabane AC javelin throwers Sarah Crawford, Gareth Crawford and Fergus Cox.Tags: