Thursday 17 January 2019

Gregan best bet without Gillick

With six athletes under 49 seconds this season, the men's 400m is shaping up as the race of the meet at this weekend's Woodie's DIY Irish Indoor Athletic Championships in the Odyssey Belfast.

In the absence of David Gillick, who is training in Florida, Clonliffe athlete Brian Gregan (pictured) tops the listings after his 46.82second run in Vienna earlier this month.

Last year, DSD's Nick Hogan was a surprise winner of the 400m after Gregan failed to emerge from the heats. Gregan is unlikely to make the same mistake twice.

He faces a strong field that includes Tim Crowe, Brian Murphy, Paul Scanlan, Billy Ryan and Kieran Kelly. Add to that the name of Paul Hession, who won't defend his 60m title.

Two laps of the Odyssey track will prove tough for him, but with a best of 20.30 for 200m, he's certainly one to watch.

In the men's 60m, Ballymena's Dean Adams aims to improve on his second place behind Hession last year.

He faces competition from Belgrave Harriers' Craig Fleming, Jonathan Holmes and Chris Russell. Ailish McSweeney runs the women's 60m after clocking a personal best 7.34 in Chemnitz a few weeks ago. Celbridge's Claire Brady who beat McSweeney to win the 60m last year, Amy Foster and Niamh Whelan will all push her hard.

Kelly Proper won the long jump last weekend at Sheffield, and is aiming for the European Indoors qualifying mark of 6.50.

She also has a 200m time of 23.97 this season.

As for the 60m hurdles, Derval O'Rourke still reigns supreme. So far this season, the Cork athlete has improved from an opening time of 8.16 in Linz to 8.03.

Over the longer distances, the men's 800m sees a likely show-down between rising stars Mark English and Darren McBrearty, while in the women's 3000m are Mary Cullen and Fionnuala Britton.

p Highlights RTé2 Monday 7.0pm

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