Sunday, January 31, 2016

Morland Improves Again As Lavin Is On Way Back

It has been almost four years and 23 hurdle race since Sarah Lavin has been beaten by an Irish athlete (excluding the DQ in last years Nationals). The last to beat her was Catherine McManus in Santry in May 2012. In that four year period she has undoubtedly been the Irish number 1, taking on the mantle in the post-Derval O' Rourke era. O' Rourke had taken on that mantle from Susan Smith with both their careers only briefly over lapping, similar to Lavin and O' Rourke. As a result there has never been a genuine rivalry in women's short hurdling in Ireland.

It is early days but there is the potential of a high level head to head scenario developing over the coming years with the progression of Elizabeth Morland this season. Morland won the GloHealth Irish Juniors 60H today in Athlone in 8.43 which puts her #4 on the Senior All-Time Rankings and #2 on the Junior list behind only Lavin. Lavin followed up immediately to run her fastest time in almost two years with 8.34 to win the u23 title. With only 0.09 between them on season bests the scene could be set for a battle royale at the GloHealth Irish Seniors in four weeks time. Behind Morland and Lavin today in their respective races were Megan Marrs (8.98) and Rachel Dunne (9.28) in the Juniors and Lily-Ann O'Hora (8.65 - beating her four year old PB) and Shannan Dawkins (9.01).

The Junior Men's was setup to be a Ben Foster versus Jack Murphy but Paul Sexton upset the applecart to take the title in 8.36, taking Murphy (8.40) off the last with Foster (8.58) in 3rd after a stumble off the first.

Stumbles off the first were also order of the day in the U23 race with Garbhan McKenna and Andrew Creamer both stuttering paving the way for Antonio Fernandez to win in 8.24. Creamer had a DNF while McKenna recovered to take silver in 9.01 and Donal Kearns 3rd in 9.14.

Monday, January 25, 2016

Hurdle Season Underway - Morland Breaks Irish Record

Elizabeth Morland has started 2016 like she finished 2015 when breaking the Irish Senior, U23 and Junior indoor pentathlon record in Athlone on Saturday. She kicked off her day with an 8.56 over the 60m hurdles, the fastest by an Irish athlete in 2016. Catherine McManus and Megan Marrs were battling out in Jordanstown also on Saturday with a tie in the heat (both 8.78) and then McManus edging the final with 8.77 to 8.79. Naomi Morgan had a PB run and edged closer to sub-9 with 9.03. Molly Scott ran 8.64 over youth heights while Shane Aston (8.65) and Rolus Olusa (8.70) also opened their hurdle seasons in Athlone on Saturday.

Back in Jordanstown, Garbhan Mckenna ran his first hurdle race out of junior in Jordanstown and edged out his coach, Tom Reynolds, 8.43 to Reynolds' 8.48. Ben Fisher ran 8.47 over the junior heights.

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Ireland - A Nation Of Sprinters?

An analysis of Ireland's performances at global championships (Olympics and Worlds) from 1983 to 2015 has thrown up some interesting statistics. One of interest to the hurdling community is the change in success from what was predominantly long and middle distance to sprints and hurdles.

In that time, there have been 21 global championship and recording the Top 16 placings of Irish athletes in each of those has shown that in the first 7 editions (1983 to 1995) sprinters and hurdlers achieved zero Top 16 placings. The middle 7 editions (1996-2004) saw a big improvement with sprints and hurdlers closing the gap on endurance (63% to 37%) while the last 7 global championships has seen sprints and hurdles overtake endurance (62% to 38%).

The graph below shows the comparison of Top 16 placing from Endurance to Sprints (& hurdles) relative to each other over the past 32 years. Is it safe to say now that Ireland has moved to be a nation of sprinters and hurdlers?

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Royal Rumble Rankings - Top 10

Top 10 of the Royal Rumble Rankings.

#10 - Matthew Behan (Crusaders)
#9 - Timmy Crowe (Clonliffe)
#8 - Ben Kiely (Ferrybank)
#7 - Christine McMahon (Ballymena and Antrim)
#6 - Sarah Lavin (UCD)
#5 - Jason Harvey (Crusaders)
#4 - Gerard O' Donnell (Carrick-on-Shannon)
#3 - Paul Byrne (St Abbans)
#2 - Ben Reynolds (North Down)
#1 - Thomas Barr (Ferrybank)

Remainder of Top 40 for 2015 is here

Monday, August 31, 2015

European Youth Champs Present Great Opportunity

The first European Youth Championships takes place next year in Georgia and the European Athletics qualifying standards are here in this link. The hurdle standards are very attainable for several of our athletes who are U18 or U17 next season.

Boys 110H 14.55
Boys 400H 55.90
Girls 100H 14.25
Girls 400H 63.00

Hopefully common sense will prevail and Irish standards will not be tinkered with and will be left as proposed by European Athletics. Getting more athletes exposure at International level will hopefully address the concerning lack of depth we have seen recently in the Irish senior teams in Beijing and Moscow before that and also the Irish Junior teams in the 2012 and 2014 World Junior championships.

Sunday, August 30, 2015

2015 Royal Rumble Rankings

The end of season is here so here is the 2015 Royal Rumble Rankings. To start, its from 40 to 11 with the Top 10 to follow in the coming days.

40 - Eoin Power
39 - Eoin Kelly
38 - Shannen Dawkins
37 - Oisin Fitzpatrick
36 - Adam Hill
35 - Tim Bowler
34 - Naomi Morgan
33 - Sarah Connolly
32 - Rachel Dunne
31 - Darren Prout
30 - Michael Bowler
29 - Tom Reynolds
28 - Clodagh O' Mahoney
27 - Josh Essuman
26 - Joe Halwax
25 - Jessica Neville
24 - Leanne Prout
23 - Korough Foroughi
22 - Ciaran Barnes
21 - David McCarthy
20 - Andrew Creamer
19 - Niamh Malone
18 - Evan McGuire
17 - Kelly-Ann Doyle
16 - Simon Taggart
15 - Kate McGowan
14 - Brandon Arrey
13 - Garbhan McKenna
12 - Nessa Cooper Millet
11- Catherine McManus

Top 10 to come later.......

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Reynolds The Underdog But He Usually Beats Guys He Shouldn't

Ben Reynolds opens his account in Beijing in a matter of hours (4:47am). He is drawn in Heat 4. There are 5 heats with 4 from each heat progressing to the semi-final along with the 4 fastest losers. He is 7th fastest in the heat so while it will be very challenging to progress, he has regularly proven to be able to beat the startlist.

Here is a look at his rivals.

Greggmar Swift (BAR)
PB & SB  13.28
World University Games champ and Pan-Am Games 4th this season.

Jhoanis Portilla (CUB)
PB & SB 13.30
5th in the Pan-Am Games and ran his PB only 3 weeks ago

Hansle Parchment (JAM)
PB 12.94 SB 13.08
Olympic Bronze medalist from London 2012, #10 on All-Time list.
Has raced in 2 months so uncertain on his form or condition

Milan Ristic (SRB)
PB & SB 13.50
Serbian record holder but form has dipped since he ran that in May not going under 13.70 since.

Aleec Harris (USA)
PB and SB 13.11
Ran his PB in Paris in ealy July. Probably the form man in the heat but it is his first major championships.

Nicholas Hough (AUS)
PB & SB 13.41
Ran his PB when winning the Australian Championship in March. Since the European season has started has struggled to get back to that level but say a return somewhat in Leuven 3 weeks ago with 13.64.

Mathias Buhler (GER)
PB 13.34 SB 13.43
His PB comes from 2012 and has been inconsistent this season and despite having a faster SB than Reynolds he is beatable.

Calling it, it looks like Harris, Swift and Portilla. The 4th spot should be Parchment but, it may be wishfull thinking, there is some element of doubt as he hasn't raced sinced June. If Reynolds gets a PB, I would suspect he will be in the hunt for a semi-final spot.