Saturday, June 27, 2015

Lavin Starts To Hit Form

No matter how great an athlete has been they will always have a slump or dip in form or a phase where times aren't dropping. Sarah Lavin wasn't setting the world on fire earlier this season but she has no doubt re-grouped and is now back in the zone where she belongs with a couple of sub 13.50 runs in Mannheim today (13.49/13.45). You also get the sense that now that she is in her groove those times will keep on dropping over the coming weeks. 

Also in Mannheim, Matthew Behan and Garbhan McKenna competed in preparation for the upcoming European Junior championships. It was a good taster of what was to come in Sweden. Behan made the B final where he finished 4th in 14.38 after a 14.00 in the heat, only 0.01 off his own Irish Junior Record. McKenna clocked 14.49 in his heat and has shown good consistency with this his  fourth sub 14.50 of the season. After Daniel Ryan's Irish Youth Record earlier this month, evidence that high hurdling is in rude health is further demonstrated with news that Ben Fisher got confirmation that he has been selected for the Commonwealth Youth Games in Samoa later in the summer. The high hurdler is one of only three Northern Ireland athletes selected and is part of the Tom Reynolds training group which also includes Ben Reynolds and Garbhan McKenna.

In Belgium, Christine McMahon won the Nivelle EAP meet in 58.10, a season's best. Gerard O' Donnell was within 0.09 of his PB with 14.19 while Ben Kiely (53.16) and Nessa Millet (61.21) were still chasing Euro U23 standards.

Kate McGowan was only 0.12 off a Euro Juniors B standard at the Munster championships with 61.37, a PB of over half a second. 

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Barr Tastes Defeat As Reynolds Steps Up

European Team Championships
Just in case we were starting to think Thomas Barr was becoming (in a European context) invincible, the European Team Championships was a timely reminder that it is a competitive sport we are in and nothing can be taken for granted. Not that Barr would and also some context in that the winner of the race was the European silver medallist from Zurich and behind Barr in third was the champion from Zurich.

Ben Reynolds ran a season's best of 13.73 for second in Greece, behind local favourite Douvalidis and ahead of Svodoba, continuing his strong and improving early season form. Sarah Lavin had struggled somewhat over the hurdles this season but the line of class is permanent, form is temporary is very true in her case as she ran 13.58, a season's best and a Euro U23 standard for 6th. Christine McMahon also had an SB for 7th in the 400m hurdles with 59.00.

English U20/U23
In Bedford, at the English U20/U23 (incl some U18 races) championships there were no standout performances but some solid runs by the Irish and a bronze for Brandon Arrey.

Ben Fisher 110H 5th 14.38 PB

Brandon Arrey 400H 3rd 53.98
Garbhan McKenna 110H DNS Final (heat 14.44)

Nessa Millet 400H 5th 60.90
Ben Kiely 400H 4th 53.07 (heat 52.64)
Andrew Creamer 110H 9th 14.93 PB

Tailteann Games
Molly Scott erased another Olive Burke record (after claiming the Irish Schools one earlier in the month) when winning the Girls 80m Hurdles in 11.14. Niamh Malone had a big breakthrough run with an EYOF qualifier in the Girls 300m hurdles in 43.43. Jack Rudden Kelly claimed the Boys 100m hurdles in 13.85 while Cathal Locke (56.71) took the 400m hurdles.

Elsewhere, Paul Byrne continued his very consistent sequence of runs with another 51 seconder with a 3rd place finish and 51.33 in Valence in France.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Barr and Reynolds Double In Belgium

Another week and another Thomas Barr performance of note. This time the Oordegem IFAM meet and a 'workmanlike' 49.50 saw him win, a measure of where he has come to considering 12 months ago we would have been jumping up and down.

Ben Reynolds made it an Irish men's double when taking the win in the 110H in a pretty good field. His time of 13.79 was setup by a blistering start and he wasn't to be caught. 

Jason Harvey and Paul Byrne were happy with their season bests of 51.16 and 51.52 while Nessa Millet was content too with her 60.65. Brandon Arrey ran 54.32. Gerard O' Donnell had a scrappy run for 14.41, still adapting to his new approach to hurdle 1, while Andrew Creamer went #4 in the Irish Rankings with a PB of 15.25. Megan Marrs was a little off her best in 14.36 while carnage in the Junior 110H, with incorrect spacing an an earlier race, didn't help Garbhan McKenna who nevertheless clocked a 14.69 into a -1.9. 

Ben Kiely had another win for his French club, SNP Vernon, in 52.92 in the French league while Paul Byrne ran 52.45 in the middle leg of his Belgian tour in Lokeren last night. 

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Barr Sets It Up And Doyle And McKenna Close It Out

From Doha to Bishopstown to Santry to Loughborough, it was a great weekend for the hurdlers in Ireland. Thomas Barr set the scene in the Diamond League on Friday when claiming 3rd in 48.99. In a top class field, Barr timed his now trademark last hurdle drive for probably the biggest performance of his life. It is still early season but Barr seems to have already moved up a gear from 2014. Never a man to make excuses, Barr seems to have learned from his disappointment of Zurich last year and is a stronger, more resilient hurdler. 

The Irish Schools season is ramping up and Kelly-Ann Doyle was the standout from the provincials with a Euro B Standard (61.22) in the Munsters in Cork. Earlier in the week, Matthew Behan ran a blistering 13.79 but no wind reading will rule it out for record or PB purposes. Garbhan McKenna ran another Euro B Standard of 14.28 in Loughborough and that should book his ticket to Sweden. Megan Marrs debuted for Great Britain in Loughborough, finishing 2nd in 14.31.

Also in Loughborough, Ben Reynolds won the first of the Ben&Gerry challenge when clocking 13.91 to Gerard O' Donnell's 14.10 (PB). Nessa Milllet was on target for a big win in the 400H but clipped the last and lost huge momentum  but recovered to claim 3rd in 61.81. Christine McMahon suffered her 2nd bizarre DQ for hooking this season, despite being a left leg lead on the bend!! Jason Harvey and Paul Byrne were slightly off form over 400H at the same meet.

Finally, Santry saw the GloHealth AI Games on Sunday. Simon Taggart made his comeback to take the men's in 15.03 while Elizabeth Morland ran a 13.80 into a -1.9 wind. 

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

British And French League Wins

It was a good weekend for Irish Hurdlers in the British and French leagues with four wins. Competing for British league clubs is always a great opportunity to get some extra competitive action while Ben Kiely (thanks to the indomitable Dermot McDermott) goes a step further and competes in the 'championnats de France interclubs d'athl├ętisme' for the SPN Vernon club. 

Ben Reynolds 110H 13.81 (+2.0)
Jason Harvey 400H 51.71

Paul Byrne 400H 52.09

Ben Kiely 400H 52.24

Friday, May 8, 2015

British League Action For Top Hurdlers This Weekend

A trio of our top hurdlers will kick off their season in earnest this week in British League matches with Ben Reynolds, Jason Harvey and Paul Byrne all competing. Reynolds will compete the following week again at the Loughborough International as will Gerard O' Donnell. Also in Loughborough will be Megan Marrs and Garbhan McKenna, fresh from their strong season openers (and Euro Junior QT for McKenna) in a miserable Greystones last week. 

Also exciting news that doors to some big races may be starting to open up to Thomas Barr this early season. Barr was confirmed European Athletics Male Athlete of the Month for April earlier this week and ran a blisteringly quick 45.13 relay leg at the World Relays in the Bahamas last weekend. 

Nessa Millet showed a return to her 2013 form with a promising opener of 60.32 at BUCS last Monday. Christine McMahon was DQd for 'hooking' in the same race. Finally, good to hear that former EYOF bronze medalist, Megan Kiely, raced over 400H for her college Eastern Kentucky last weekend in her first long hurdle race in almost two years. 

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Startlists For Greystones IMC Hurdle Races This Saturday

Start Times
2.15 110 H Men Race 1
2.23 110 H Men Race 2
2.31 100 H Women
4.20 400 H Men
4.28 400 H Women

Mens 110H - Race 1
1 Donal Kearns
2 Matthew Behan
3 Garbhan McKenna
4 -
5 Eoin Power
6 Patrick Heffernan
Mens 110H - Race 2 (Youth Heights)
1 -
2 Jack Rudden Kelly
3 Daniel Ryan
4 Ben Fisher
5 Jack Murphy
6 -
Womens 100H
1 -
2 Megan Marrs
3 Ciara Neville
4 Molly Scott
5 Shannan Sheehy
6 Lisa Aspel
Mens 400H
1 Mark Rogers
2 Sean Gill
3 -
4 Ryan Murray
5 Simon Essuman
6 David Ryan
Womens 400H
1 Niamh Malone
2 Kelly Ann Doyle
3 Leanne Prout
4 Kate McGowan
5 Grace O' Rourke
6 Rachel Dunne