Santry set to sizzle again!
Brilliant Morton Games give way to national T&F championships
Santry came alive last week with brilliant runs for Mark English, Thomas Barr and John Travers at the Morton Games - and more of the same can be expected at this weekend's Glo Health Irish Track and Field Championships.
Star of last year's championships was Ferrybank's Kelly Proper, with a hat-trick of victories in the 100m, 200m and long jump. In the long jump, she was taking her seventh national title.
Last year, Proper was concentrating on the heptathlon. This year she has returned to her best two disciplines and most recently ran a personal best 23.16 secs for 200m. This not only qualifies her for the European Championships but puts her second on the all-time Irish list.
All European Championships aspirants are expected to compete in the event they have qualified for this weekend.
So UCD's Mark English will run the 800m and not the 400m in which he finished second last year behind Brian Murphy.
After his 46.56 secs for 400m in Belfast last week, English must feel that the Irish 800m record of 1:44.82 is his for the taking.
Paul Robinson of St Coca's will compete in the 1500m, taking on among others John Travers who ran 3:37.27 on his way to a 3:55 mile at the Morton Games last Friday.
Irish record holder Thomas Barr of Ferrybank has made a habit of breaking 50 seconds for the 400m hurdles and should do so again in Santry. Behind him, Jason Harvey could break 50 seconds for the first time.
Another Northern Irish athlete in top form is sprinter Amy Foster - the co-holder of the Irish 100m record should take her fourth national title on Sunday.
After making the European A standard with a time of 45.94 secs earlier this week, Clonliffe's Brian Gregan should win the 400m.
Showdown of the weekend should come in Saturday's women's pole vault with both Tori Pena and Zoe Brown entered.
American-based Pena has won the title every years since 2010 when she declared for Ireland. Last year, she won with a championships best vault of 4.40m; her Irish record is 4.60m.
Raheny's Brown won the first of her three titles in 2001 and finished second behind Pena last year with 4.10m. With the Commonwealth Games her target, she is in the form of her life and was rewarded with a personal best of 4.42m in Cork, where she beat Pena.
On the track, the form athletes for the women's 800m are Laura Crowe and Rose Anne Galligan. A surprise entry is Ciara Mageean, back after a long injury, who had put her name down for both the 800m and 1500m.
In the sprints David Hynes of Menapians could be for a sprint double, with Craig Lynch leading the opposition.