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Sunday 17 December 2017

Mageean leads Irish indoors

Ciara Mageean made the qualifying standard fro the 1500M
Ciara Mageean made the qualifying standard fro the 1500M

In a busy year that includes the World Indoors, the European Championships and the Olympic Games, athletes are facing difficult choices.

Already it looks like the team for the World Indoors in Oregon from March 17-20 will be the smallest ever. At the moment, only Ciara Mageean and Rose Anne Galligan in the 1500m have made the qualifying standard although Mageean has no plans to travel.

Mark English's time of 1:46.99 is fractionally outside the 800m time of 1:46.50, while Ben Reynolds's 7.73 seconds is one-hundredth off the 60m hurdles mark of 7.22 secs.

Reynolds hopes to make the time before the March 7 cut-off and runs in the Czech Republic on Saturday. English is also hoping for selection.

Sprinter Amy Foster is another who has opted out after twice marginally falling short of the 7.32 secs time she would need to make for the 60m.

She bypassed last weekend's Glo Health National Indoors with her target now a 100m qualification mark for the Rio Olympics.

Her time of 11.41 secs from last year sees her just outside the current list of 54 with 11.32 secs the qualification mark and 11.37 secs currently making the quota.

Also absent was race walker Robert Heffernan of Togher, who decided to compete in a 5000m at the French Indoors instead which he duly won in 19 mins 40.21 secs.

In his absence, his training partner Brendan Boyce won his first national title in 12 attempts.

In other results last weekend, steeplechasers Kerry O'Flaherty, Sara Treacy and Michelle Finn, all of them bound for both the European Championships and the Rio Olympics, finished first, second and third in the 3000m.

Carlow's Marcus Lawler celebrated his 21st birthday by winning the 200m with a new stadium record of 20.96 secs at the Glo Health National Indoor Championships in Athlone.

Lawler had warmed up for the 200m by finishing a fighting fifth in the 60m won by Shercock's Craig Lynch in 6.81; Lawler ran 6.92 secs.

Bandon's Phil Healy made a morale boosting return to competition by winning both the 60m and the 200m.

Highlight of the field events was a new record in the men's shot set by 37-year old Seán Breathnach from Galway.

Breathnach's mark of 18.16m in the fourth round, added nine cm to Paul Quirke's 1991 mark.

Making it a UCD double in the 800m races were Ciara Mageean and Mark English. Mageean won the women's race in 2:03.76 from Riocht's Laura Crowe. In the men's race, English ran an untroubled 1:51:57 - slower than his heat time of 1:48.15

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