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Olympian Sarah Lavin shows class to take gold at national championships

The 150th edition of the Irish national championships got underway this afternoon.

Sarah Lavin celebrates with her medal.
Sarah Lavin celebrates with her medal.
Image: Laszlo Geczo/INPHO

Updated Jun 25th 2022, 10:13 PM

TOKYO OLYMPIAN SARAH Lavin (Emerald AC) secured her seventh outdoor national title in tough conditions on the first day of the 150th edition of the Irish Life Health national track and field championships in Morton Stadium this afternoon.

Lavin showed all her class and experience in dealing with the strong headwind, taking the 100m hurdles title in a time of 14.06. The World indoor finalist is set to be back in action in the heats of the 100m tomorrow afternoon (2.20pm).

Kate Doherty (Dundrum South Dublin AC 14.64 ) secured the 100mH silver medal, with Sarah Quinn (St. Colmans South Mayo AC 14.94) taking the bronze.

Matthew Behan (Crusaders AC) won his first national 110mH title, crossing in 15.61. Behan denied Gerard O`Donnell (Carrick-on-Shannon AC) his 6th national 100mH title in a row, with O’Donnell having to settle for second in 15.63. David Dagg of Dundrum South Dublin claimed bronze in 16.83.

Mark Smyth (Raheny Shamrock) stormed to the men’s 200m title, racing clear in the final 50m to cross in 21.95. The race for silver and bronze ended in a blanket finish with Andrew Egan (Galway City Harriers AC 22.41) and Luke Morris (Emerald A.C. 22.44) dipping best at the line to claim silver and bronze respectively.

Olympian Robert McDonnell (Galway City Harriers) who would have been one of the likely favourites to medal had to unfortunately pull up in the earlier heats.

Lauren Cadden (Sligo AC) claimed her first national senior outdoor title in the women’s 200m. Cadden battled brilliantly with Sarah Leahy of Killarney Valley coming up the home straight, Cadden eventually crossing for first in 24.94. Leahy battled on bravely to cross in 25.06, with Roseanna McGukian (City of Lisburn AC) taking bronze in 25.38

The first track medals of the day went the way of Jayme Rossiter in the men’s 3000m steeplechase. Rossiter (Clonliffe Harriers AC) claimed the win in dramatic style, with the Clonliffe athlete staying in contention throughout and did well to avoid a late fall to take the win on home turf, crossing in 9.26.43. Liam Harris of Togher closed all the way to the line to finish was in 9.26.64, while Finley Daly of Sligo was third in 9.27.29.

matthew-behan-of-crusaders-a-c-on-his-way-to-winning-the-race Matthew Behan of Crusaders A.C. on his way to winning the race. Source: Laszlo Geczo/INPHO

The men’s hammer were the first field medals on offer on day 1. Sean Mockler (Moycarkey Coolcroo) continues to impress and posted a best of 65.33m into the teeth of the wind. Brendan O’Donnell (Lifford Strabane A.C. 61.07m) was second and Simon Galligan (Clonliffe Harriers A.C. 59.53m) third.

Michaela Walsh (Swinford A.C.) retained her title in the women’s shot put with a best penultimate throw of 14.58m. Casey Mulvey (Inny Vale A.C. 13.58m) was second with multi-event star Kate O’Connor of Dundalk St. Gerards AC third (13.42m).

Saragh Buggy (St Abbans) claimed her 10th national outdoor title in the women’s triple jump with a best of 12.92m. Buggy will return to action for tomorrow’s long jump final where she will come up against her clubmate Ruby Millet. 

The pole vaulters had a tough day of competition with a gusty crosswind making conditions extremely challenging. It didn’t stop Una Brice (Leevale AC), who secured gold with a 3.55m clearance. Clodagh Walsh (Abbey Striders A.C. 3.35m) was second, with Abbie O’Neill (Ballymena & Antrim A.C. 3.25m) third.

In the heats of the 800m, Sarah Healy (UCD AC), Louise Shanahan (Leevale AC), Claire Mooney (Naas AC), and Jenna Bromell (Emerald AC) all safety progressed to tomorrow’s final which is set for 7.00pm. On the men’s side, Mark English (Finn Valley), John Fitzsimons (Kildare AC), and Harry Purcell all comfortably quailed for their respective final set for 7.15pm tomorrow.

In the evening session, Fionnuala McCormack (Kilcoole AC) took a dominant win in the women’s 5000m/ The Olympian took an early lead in the race, building her advantage with each lap in a masterclass of solo distance running. The Kilcoole star would cross in 16.06 to claim the gold. The battle for silver and bronze medals was a family affair, with the Donore Harrier sisters Sorcha (16.19) and Ide Nic Dhomhnaill (16.20) crossing the line second and third, respectively.

There was action a plenty in the field events Michaela Walsh (Swinford AC) doubling up on her morning success in the shot put to take the women’s hammer title, making it 17 national titles overall. The Mayo woman threw 57.37m to fend off Margaret Hayden (Tallaght AC 54.05) and Casey Mulvey (Inny Valley AC 48.97) who took the silver and bronze medals.

The men’s shot put was hotly anticipated and did not disappoint thanks to a superb throw-off between the in-form pair of John Kelly and Eric Favors. Conditions were never going to allow for anything nearing 20 meters, but that didn’t quell the tight battle for gold. Kelly (Finn Valley AC) continued his superb season, eventually securing the national shot-put title with a championship record throw of 19.25m. The Donegal man took the record from Eric Favors (Raheny Shamrock) who finished his day with a best throw of 18.74m.

Back on the track, Olympian Thomas Barr (Ferrybank AC) secured his place in tomorrow’s 400mH final after a professional performance in the windy conditions to go sub-52 (51.47). Joining Barr in the final at 6:50pm tomorrow will be Clonliffe Harriers pair of Thomas Anthony Pitkin and Niall Carney.

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Nessa Millet (St Abban’s AC) and Kelly McGrory (Tír Chonaill A.C) have both progressed to their 400mH final. Rising star Lucy McGlynn (Tír Chonaill A.C) also made it through to the final.

The Men’s 400m final is set to be a star-studded line up with Olympians Christopher O’Donnell (North Sligo AC) and Marcus Lawler (Clonliffe Harriers) both safely progressing from today’s heats. Eanna Madden (Carrick-On-Shannon) will also be one to look out for at the battle for the championship title at 7:35pm tomorrow. O’Donnell will look to continue his super season of performances, with his 48.17 finish in the heats being the fastest of the day.

The hotly-contested women’s 400m is set to be an unmissable race with Olympians Phil Healy (Bandon AC), Sophie Becker (Raheny Shamrock) and Cliodhna Manning (Kilkenny City Harriers) all securing safe passage to tomorrow’s final at 7.35pm. Becker secured the quickest heat time at 54.67.

Ellie Hartnett (UCD AC) and Carla Sweeney (Rathfarnham W.S.A.F. A.C.) will battle it out in the women’s 1500m at 8:10pm tomorrow evening. Both secured their places in the finals with strong first place finishes in their heats, Sweeney crossing the line in her heat in 4:36.36, just a second ahead of Hartnett.

Luke McCann (UCD AC), Nick Griggs (Mid Ulster AC), Cathal Doyle (Clonliffe Harriers) and Paul Robinson (St. Coca’s A.C.) have all come through their respective heats to make their way to tomorrow’s 1500m final, set to begin at 8:20pm. 

Drawing a close on day one was the 4x100m relays: in the women’s race, Dundrum South Dublin AC were victorious after an impressive performance from Mollie O’Reilly, Jennifer Hanrahan, Molly Hourihan and Kate Doherty. Tallaght AC took the men’s title after a neck and neck battle with Crusaders AC, securing the title were Sean Aigboboh, Kieron Elliot, Simon Essuman and Joseph Finnegan Murphy.

Day two will be streamed in entirety on the Athletics Ireland YouTube channel, with live coverage on RTE2 from 6.05pm. 

Full results available here 

Updated at 22.19 with results of evening session 

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