The 148th Irish Life Health National Senior Track and Field Championships came to an end on Sunday after four days, spread over two weekends.
With a record 727 athletes registered, Athletics Ireland and the officials, planned the Championships with meticulous detail to ensure the event would go ahead. Despite taking place behind closed doors, the sheer delight and hunger of the athletes to be able to compete was clear to see as they put on quite a show.
Following on from last week’s 100m success, Phil Healy of Bandon AC claimed her 38th National title and 12th National Senior title as she stormed to gold in the 200m. Once again Healy faced stiff competition from Sarah Lavin but stayed composed and crossed the line first with a time of 23.57.
Running in lane six, Healy was out of the blocks quickest and looked to be pulling away from the field but sprint hurdles specialist, Sarah Lavin, who took silver last weekend in the 100m, kept the pace. With 40 metres to go, there was just a stride separating the pair but in the end, Healy could not be caught. Lavin of Emerald AC took silver in 23.74 while youngster, Lauren Roy, left Morton Stadium with a Senior Bronze and the U23 200m gold.
For Healy, this is her first sprint championship double and expressed her joy of being able to race despite the broken season. Sarah Lavin will take huge confidence and positives from her performances at the Championships after suffering from an ankle injury which put her out for much of the season in February.
“I knew Sarah was going to push me all the way to the line, she’s a phenomenal athlete,” said Healy. “Especially coming back from the injury that she had in February. I’m just really happy to come again and take the title on top of the 100m last week. I knew I had the strength too, having done some 400m work as well, but it was a fight the line, that’s what athlete’s want.”
“It’s just great to have the opportunity to race again, because without these Championships, I probably wouldn’t have raced. So, a few weeks off now, and then back into the winter training.”
Michelle Finn had a Championship to remember adding 3000m steeplechase gold to her 5000m title which she claimed last week.
Finn, from Leevale AC took the lead from the start and raced on her own, lapping the field to win her specialist 3000m event in 9 minutes 59.72 seconds. Aoibhinn McGoldrick (Raheny Shamrock) took home silver and secured U23 gold in the process with a time of 11:25.51. Emily Grennan (Tullamore Harriers) left with bronze.
The middle-distance honours in the 800m went to Raheny Shamrock’s Iseult O’Donnell. After a closely bunched race, several runners tried to make a move on the final bend but it was O’Donnell who proved to be the strongest as she blitzed past the 1500m champion Amy O’Donoghue on the outside to storm to victory. Iseult O’Donnell took the title in 2:09.13, ahead of O’Donoghue who claimed silver while Claire Mooney secured bronze in 2:10.53.
Mayo’s Sarah Quinn won a hotly contested 100m hurdles event in 13.67. Quinn soared past Lilly-Ann O’Hara who was leading coming onto the last hurdle to claim the title in the closing metres while Molly Scott won bronze in 14.11.
The pole-vault was won by 17-year-old Orla Coffey who cleared 3.50 metres to win her first ever Senior title. Silver went to Una Brice of Leevale.
Micheala Walsh won a competitive shot-put competition with 14.19m and U-23 gold along with it.