Murray and O'Donnell's Euro delight
ATHLETICS: It was a successful weekend for 60m hurdler Gerard O'Donnell and 800m runner Declan Murray as both secured qualification for the European Indoor Championships in Prague.
O'Donnell (Carrick on Shannon AC) was the first to do so when he competed in the IFAM indoor meeting in Belgium on Saturday. O'Donnell quickly got into his stride to record a new personal best of 7.87secs to qualify for the 60m hurdle final.
He then went on to produce the run of his career to win the final and set another new personal best of 7.73 seconds - inside the required standard of 7.78 for the European Indoor Championships next month. The performance marks a big breakthrough for the Leitrim native, until recently O'Donnell hadn't broken eight seconds for the event.
Murray, meanwhile, was also in superb form on Saturday with a 1.48.32 800m at the Boston University Scarlet and White Invitational in the US.
The Clonliffe Harriers athlete's time was inside the required standard of 1.48.50 for the European Indoor Championships. "I went through 600 in 1:20 and brought it home. It feels good to get the standard out of the way at my first attempt," Murray said afterwards. "I'm running a 1,000m at the Millrose Games next week, and I hope to break the Irish record, then it's off to Ireland for the GloHealth Nationals the week after that."
Breen claims Latvian win
RALLY: Craig Breen has won the Rally Liepaja in Latvia to get his bid for FIA European Rally Championship glory back on track.
Breen moved in front on stage two and was in fine form thereafter, claiming his second ERC win and third Rally Liepaja podium despite difficult driving conditions caused by snow showers.
"It's awesome," said Breen, who was competing in a Peugeot Rally Academy 208 T16 alongside co-driver Scott Martin. "It's been a rally of attrition but when we were pushing we were only once beaten on one stage by 0.7s so we always had the speed. It's a great confidence boost for my home event, the Circuit of Ireland Rally, and I hope it will be the first of many."