National Senior Track and Field Championships – Mid-Distance and Distance Preview
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The 800m, 1500m, 3000m Steeplechase and 5000m races at this weekend’s Irish Life Health National Senior Track and Field Championships have the potential to be thrilling. The 150th edition of the championships takes place on Saturday and Sunday at Morton Stadium in Santry.

 

800m

Louise Shanahan (Leevale AC) leads the entrants in the Women’s race. Shanahan has had a fantastic Outdoor season clocking a new Irish record of 1.59.42 at the Belfast Irish Milers club meet in May. The Tokyo Olympian will prove tough to beat as she looks to reclaim her title, however she won’t have it all her own way.

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Jenna Bromell (Emerald AC) will also be in contention. Bromell has a Season’s Best of 2.02.22 from the Belfast IMC meet also. Both Claire Mooney (Naas AC) and Georgie Hartigan (Dundrum South Dublin AC) are entered in the 800m and 1500m but if either run the shorter of the distances expect them to contend for national glory.

The Men’s race sees John Fitzsimmons (Kildare AC) and Mark English (Finn Valley AC) go head-to-head. Fitzsimmons leads the Irish rankings this season with 1.45.66, while English ran 1.46.02 last week.

Kevin McGrath (Bohermeen AC), Mark Milner (Tullamore Harriers AC), Callum Hurley (Ferrybank AC), and Conall Kirk (unattached) have all ran under 1.50 this season, while Harry Purcell (Trim AC) returned to action last weekend winning at the NI and Ulster Championships in Belfast.

1500m

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Georgie Hartigan (Dundrum South Dublin AC) has the fastest time this season of the entrants in the Women’s 1500m. Hartigan ran 4.09.87 in Philadelphia at the end of April.

The event is quite open. Carla Sweeney (Rathfarnham WSAF) has ran 4.17.57 in recent weeks, while Niamh Markham (Ennis Track AC) took six seconds off her PB to clock 4.20.36 in Watford recently. Other athletes who will be in the mix include Ellie Hartnett (UCD AC), Niamh Carr (Ballymena and Antrim AC), Niamh Kearney (Raheny Shamrocks AC), U18 athlete Kirsti Foster (Willowfield), Maisy O’Sullivan (St. Abban’s AC), and Fiona Kehoe (Kilmore AC), who have all run under 4.28 this season.

The Men’s looks extremely hotly contest. Andrew Coscoran (Star of the Sea AC) and Luke McCann (UCD AC) lead the field this Season’s Bests of 3.36.54 and 3.36.93.

Expect the likes of Cathal Doyle (Clonliffe Harriers), Paul Robinson (St. Coca’s AC), Shane Bracken (Swinford AC), Kevin Kelly (St. Coca’s AC), and Nick Griggs (Mid Ulster AC) to all be in contention.

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5000m

Four-time Olympian Fionnuala McCormack (Kilcoole AC) is entered in the Women’s 5000m. McCormack is the star name in the field with a PB of 15.12.97. McCormack last ran a track race when she won the national title over 5000m in 2019 clocking 15.51.97.

Sisters Sorcha and Ide Nic Dhomhnaill will fancy their chances. Sorcha has ran 15.58.52 this season, while Ide has ran 16.03.44.

Two other strong contenders for the medals will be Aoife Kilgallon (Sligo AC) and Aoife O’Cuill (St. Coca’s AC).

Darragh McElhinney (UCD AC) is the lead entrant in the Men’s 5000m. McElhinney ran a new Irish U23 in Belgium in May or 13.17.17 and has also impressed over 1500m this season.

Hiko Tonosa (Dundrum South Dublin) and Efrem Gidey (Clonliffe Harriers) will also fancy their chances in the race.

Jake O’Regan (St. John’s AC), Jack O’Leary (Mullingar Harriers), and Keelan Kilrehill (Moy Valley AC) are also likely to feature prominently.

3000m Steeplechase

Michelle Finn (Leevale AC) is the overwhelming favourite to win the Women’s 3000m Steeplechase title. The two-time Olympian has ran 9.46.93 this season.

Aine Burke (St. Coca’s AC) and Amy Greene (Finn Valley AC) have both ran under 12 minutes this season.

Finley Daly (Sligo AC) has the fastest time of the entrants going into the Men’s race. Daly ran 9.14.40 in the UK in May.

Oisín Spillane (Tralee Harriers AC) and Liam Harris (Togher AC) have both ran under 9.30 this season, while Rory Chesser (Ennis Track AC) and Jayme Rossiter (Clonliffe Harriers) have both medalled in this event before.

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