Conditions were damp, cold and windy for the Lucozade Sport National junior and under 23 track and field championships at Tullamore on Sunday. The weather did not, however, impact too much on performances which were top class.
Leevale’s Brian Murphy is fast making a name for himself over 400m this season. Already the winner of the Irish universities and Munster senior titles, he had his sights on the national under 23 title on Sunday. Well drawn in lane three, he had pre race favourite Gordon Kennedy of Tullamore on his outside in lane four.
While Kennedy went off fast from the start, quickly opening up a good lead, Murphy was content to conserve energy against a strong cross wind. By halfway, however, he was well up with the leaders, leaving it all to fight for in the final straight. And this is where Murphy made his strength work for him as he powered past Kennedy to win in good style. Considering the weather conditions his time of 48.31 was excellent.
Murphy has already proved himself one of the leading 400m runners in the country this year, and now hopes for a place in the 400m at the BUPA Cork City Sports on Saturday. It would be a pity if one of Cork’s leading athletes had to watch the meet from the sidelines.
It was a successful day for the Murphy family in Tullamore as sister Deirdre was a good winner of the junior discus, as well as taking second place in the shot.
Jessika Zebo continued her great form over the hurdles with another superb gun to tape performance to win the junior title.
Leevale newcomer Paul O’Flynn, out of the sport for some years after breaking a leg, was a good third in the junior long jump.
Donna Hosford, competing in her first Irish junior championship, won the silver medal with a jump of 5.16m.
Jer O’Donoghue spent most of the week at the physio for treatment, but still competed in the under 23 100m and finished second to Mark Howard, with training partner Darren Coughlan breathing down his neck in third. Sean Manning was sixth.
Darren O’Donovan took third in the junior 100m, disappointed, no doubt, that his time at the Irish schools championships has not been accepted as a qualifying time for the World juniors. AAI have decided that none of the times at the schools championships are acceptable. A comparison of hand and ‘electronic’ times are available at Irish Schools .
Other good performances came from Orla Coughlan who was 5th in the junior 200m, and 8th in the 100m with Ailis McSweeney just ahead in 7th; Niamh Cremin 7th in the junior 400m hurdles; and Mark Hanrahan 10th and Thomas Maunsell 20th in the junior 1,500m – their first time running in a 3:50 race – won easily by Liam Reale.
Excellent performances all round. Well done everyone.