Great Performances from Cork Athletes at TNT National Championships


The TNT national track and field championships held in Morton Stadium in Dublin this weekend proved to be a successful one for Cork athletes.  Darren Dinneen of Leevale changed his race tactics in the final of the 800m, electing to run close to the all the way leader James Nolan.  However, as the field bunched in the closing 200m he got knocked around a bit and had to settle for fourth place.  For junior Tony Lilley of Togher the weekend was a most rewarding experience.  On Saturday he lowered his PB from 1:52.7 to 1:51.21, just over a second outside the World junior championships qualifying mark.  That was all put right in the final when he ran a great race to finish in seventh position with a time of 1:49.73, booking his place on the Irish squad.  Another Togher junior, Shane O’Shaughnessy, was also in tearing form.  He comfortably won his heat of the 1,500m on Saturday with a sparkling 3:48.74, an agonising 0.74 outside the qualifying time for the World’s, and a major improvement on his previous 3:57.  He had another chance in the final, but this turned out to be a slow tactical race, killing off all chances of a good time.  Here former Leevale runner Ken Nason won his first senior title  after looking out of it with 200m to go.  However, a storming last 100m brought him well clear in the closing stages to win comfortably in 3:52.27.  Derval O’Rourke of Leevale was just two hundredths of a second outside her national junior record of 13.82 as she finished a very close second to Susan Walsh of Waterford in the 100m hurdles.  She is another junior bound for the World championships.  The established Cork runners were in exhibition mode over the weekend.  Sonia O’Sullivan of Ballymore Cobh looked relaxed as she completed an 800m/1,500m double, while Mark Carroll was hardly out of breath in winning the 5,000m.  Clubmate Cathal Lombard battled hard all the way to take the bronze medal.  Breeda Dennehy of Bandon won her first Irish track title in the 5,000m.  Valerie Vaughan of Blarney Inniscarra was fifth with Louise Cavanagh of UCC sixth.  A disappointed Martin McCarthy of Leevale dropped out of the 10,000m before the halfway mark with chest problems.  It was a superb weekend of athletics, enjoyed by everyone.