It was a baptism of fire for a battling Irish team on the first session of the European Indoor Athletics Championships in Glasgow today (March 1).
Phil Healy (Bandon) was the only Irish athlete to progress from the first session finishing third in her 400m heat in 53.13. It earned her a fastest qualifier spot into tonight’s semi-finals where she goes in lane 2 of second semi-final at 20:44 – only the top two advance.
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Cillin Greene (Galway City Harriers) was the first Irish athlete out in the Emirates Arena and was left a little battered and bruised on the track in his 400m heat after a runner fell right in front of him.
This left the Galway athlete sprawled on the track having had an earlier collision at the break. Greene was still positive after his senior debut: “I’m disappointed I didn’t get to leave with a time or advance through the rounds but I’ll take a lot from it.”
Thomas Barr (Ferrybank) was frustrated to finish fifth in 48.22 in his 400m heat. “I’m frustrated that I didn’t get going but downs are part of the territory of the sport,” said Barr afterwards. “I’ve had more ups than downs in my career. It was a bad day at the office but I’m motivated to move for the outdoor season.”
Siofra Cleirigh Buttner (DSD) finished fourth in her heat of the women’s 800m in 2:06.00. The race slowed dramatically from 400m to 600m and that ultimately cost her place in the semi-finals.
Sophie Becker (St Joseph’s) finished fifth in her 400m heat in 53.99 on her senior debut and learned she needs to be more ‘ruthless’ at this level of competition and hold her ground at the break.
Phil Healy (Bandon) got out fast in her 400m heat but was clawed in just on the line. “It wasn’t what I wanted but I’ll get back out there and give it a go this evening.
John Travers (Donore Harriers) and Sean Tobin (Clonmel) were the last two competitors in the first session in the men’s 3,000m heats.
Travers ran out of gas in the final laps finishing 14th in 8:12.54 in the first heat. The Donore Harrier was in a good position but said his legs felt ‘like concrete’ in the last 800m.
That left Sean Tobin looking for a final spot with the top four advancing automatically. Tobin delivered a battling display and closed hard in the last 400m but he just missed out in fifth in a season’s best of 7:56.29. The fastest losers all came from the first heat.
In the evening session, Sommer Lecky (Finn Valley) transitions from the U20 ranks in her first senior international in Group A of the women’s high jump qualification.
Ciara Mageean (UCD) will then be looking to make the final of the women’s 1500m in heat 2 of qualification.
Then there is a trio of Irish men in the 800m heats which includes Mark English (UCD), European indoor silver medallist from Prague 2015, Zak Curran (DSD) and Conall Kirk (Annadale Striders) making his Irish debut.
Rounding out potential Irish action in the evening session will be Phil Healy in the semi-finals of the women’s 400m.
- Sophie Becker (St Joseph’s) 53.99
- Phil Healy (Bandon) 53.13
- Siofra Cleirigh Buttner (DSD) 2:06.00
DNF Cillin Greene (Galway City Harriers)
- Thomas Barr (Ferrybank) 48.22
- John Travers (Donore Harriers) 8:12.14
- Sean Tobin (Clonmel) 7:56.27
Irish in action this evening
Sommer Lecky (Finn Valley), women’s high jump Group A, 19:00
1.96m automatic qualification or at least best 8 performers advance to final
Ciara Mageean (UCD), women’s 1500m heat 2, 19:20
First 2 in each heat and next 3 fastest advance to the final
Conall Kirk (Annadale Striders), men’s 800m heat 2, 19:56
Mark English (UCD), men’s 800m heat 3, 20:04
Zak Curran (DSD), men’s 800m heat 4, 20:12
Phil Healy (Bandon), women’s 400m semi-finals, 20:44