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Dublin: 17 °C Thursday 13 August, 2020
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No joy for Ireland at European Indoors as last two standing bow out

Ciara Neville and Phil Healy reached the semi-final stages of the women’s 60m.

Neville and Healy were the only Irish athletes competing on day three.
Neville and Healy were the only Irish athletes competing on day three.
Image: Sasa Pahic Szabo/INPHO

OVERALL, IT WAS a rather disappointing weekend for Ireland at the European Indoor Championships in Belgrade.

Just 17-year-old Ciara Neville and Bandon’s Phil Healy were left standing come day three of the competition.

Both athletes bowed out earlier in the semi-final stage of the women’s 60m.

Neville, competing at her first senior event, was the first of the duo to take to the track. She finished in eighth place, with a time of 7.49 seconds.

It comes as a huge learning curve for the teenager, one which she can draw many positives from.

“I went in thinking I have nothing to lose and believing in myself,” she told RTÉ Sport after her race. “I expected I’d go quicker than I did but getting to the semi-final was a big bonus for me so I’m happy with that.

Ciara Neville Ciara Neville before her race. Source: Sasa Pahic Szabo/INPHO

“It was pretty surreal being around all these top-name athletes but I just wanted to run my race and not get phased by it too much.

It’s been such a big experience for me. I’d love to come back here and go faster than my personal best and keep improving every year.”

Healy was the final Irish athlete to appear at the championships. The Cork sprinter finished sixth in her semi-final, clocking a time of 7.39, which is slightly off her season’s best.

Her race threw up some drama, with a false start leading to Sweden’s Elin Ostlund disqualification before she even ran.

“I didn’t get out the best of starts,” Healy said after. ”It was the Swiss runner next to me who twitched the first time but she wasn’t disqualified so you just have to refocus.

Phil Healy Phil Healy in action. Source: Sasa Pahic Szabo/INPHO

“I just didn’t feel like I had the gears to go through today. But to come away a semi-finalist, 7.49, it isn’t that bad but I know there’s more to improve on.”

Meanwhile, yesterday saw Ciara Mageean fail to finish her 1500m final due to injury and John Travers finish 11th in the men’s final.

Friday saw several of the Irish athletes bow out.

Overall, it was a challenging championships for Team Ireland as they start a new Olympic cycle. Team manager Patsy McGonagle is choosing to focus on the positives however.

“Each will have learned from exposure to a European championship competitive environment and with their coaches’ build on that as they regroup and move on,” he told Athletics Ireland.

“The small Irish squad that completed their indoor season here in Belgrade were left with much on which they will no doubt reflect as they refocus for the outdoor period in the summer months the highlight of which will undoubtedly be the World Champs in London in August.”

Irish Performances in Belgrade

  • Ciara Neville 60m – 8th semi-final 7.49
  • Phil Healy 60m and 400m – 60m semi-final 6th 7.40, 400m heat 3rd 54.80
  • Sinead Denny 400m – heat 4th 54.20
  • Ciara Mageean 1500m – final DNF
  • Kerry O’Flaherty 1500m – heat 6th 4:23.82
  • Zak Curran 800m – heat 5th 1:50.87
  • John Travers 1500m – final 11th 3:53.11
  • Tomas Cotter 3,000m – DQ
  • Brian Gregan 400m – semi-final 6th 48.08
  • Ben Reynolds 60m hurldes – semi-final 6th 7.81

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Emma Duffy

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