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Dublin: 11 °C Tuesday 23 April, 2019

Proper, O'Lionaird and English all hoping to shine at National Indoors this weekend

Athlone will play host to the National Indoor Championships on 21-22 February.

Gerard O'Donnell, John Travers, Kelly Proper and Ciarán O'Lionaird at the launch today.
Gerard O'Donnell, John Travers, Kelly Proper and Ciarán O'Lionaird at the launch today.
Image: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

THIS WEEKEND THE GloHealth Senior Indoor Championships take place at the Athlone Institute of Technology International Arena with the likes of European 800m bronze medallist Mark English, 16-time national indoor champion Kelly Proper and 2013 European Indoor bronze medallist Ciarán Ó Lionáird among the big names competing.

The meet, taking place on 21 and 22 February, also acts as the final chance to achieve the qualification standard for this year’s European Indoor Championships which take place in Prague in early March.

English has two attempts to reach the 1.48.50 qualifying time for Prague this weekend as he’ll first contest the Sainsbury’s Indoor Grand Prix in Birmingham on Saturday before returning to Athlone on Sunday to battle with Declan Murray for the Irish title.

Ferrybank’s Kelly Proper has been Ireland’s most prolific winner at the Irish indoors, winning no fewer than 16 national titles and could stretch that to 19 by the time the weekend is over as the Waterford athlete will contest the 60m, 200m and long jump competitions.

Kelly Proper Kelly Proper will look to add to her incredible medal tally at this weekend's championships. Source: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

Proper told The42 today: “I’m really looking forward to it. The National Championships are always are great weekend and they bring out great performances.

“Athlone is brilliant because it’s so compact and it’s great to have world class facilities on our door step.”

Another athlete looking forward to competing this weekend is Ciarán Ó Lionáird who has yet to race at the €10 million venue. However, while a national title is obviously the Cork runner’s goal, he knows he faces a battle with both John Travers and Paul Pollock in the 3000m.

He told The42: “This weekend is about qualifying for the European Indoors in March. There are a lot of good runners here now. Two or three years ago I could have maybe skipped the nationals and have the top qualifying time and go.

“But you know, that’s good for Irish sport and Irish athletics that I’ve to come back here and I’ve got to compete against these guys and try to beat them. It’s exciting.”

Ó Lionáird also confirmed he was likely to take part in both the 1500m and 3000m this weekend but was unsure what he’d focus on for the Europeans. However, having finished third over the longer distance two years ago, the 26-year old admits he has unfinished business in that event.

Tickets for both days of the GloHealth Senior Indoor Championships are still available to buy for €10 at the gate. 

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About the author:

Steve O'Rourke

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