Ireland athletes target European Championship success in Estonia

Ben Reynolds
Ben Reynolds

Eight Northern Ireland athletes including five Commonwealth selections are on the Irish side for the European Team Championships in Tallinn, Estonia this weekend.

Ben Reynolds will hope to complete the double after winning the 110 hurdles in 13.71 in last year’s event in Dublin. If conditions are right he will close to his Northern Ireland record of 13.49.

Two more record breakers will be in the 100 and steeplechase. Amy Foster clocked 11.40 for the short sprint while Kerry O’Flaherty ran 9:52:94 over the barriers.

Christine McMahon is in the 400 hurdles and 4x400 relay, 66.62m thrower Dempsey McGuigan goes at hammer with Anne Marie McGlynn at 3000, Michael Martin javelin and Adam McMullan long jump complete the local line-up.

There should be chances of medals for record-breaking 400 hurdler Thomas Barr, Kelly Proper at 200 and long jump, Mark English 800, Paul Robinson 1500, Fionnuala Britton 5000 and Tori Tena in pole vault.

The top three teams will be promoted to the Premier Division. Ireland will face Belarus, Greece, Norway, Romania, Portugal, Finland, Belgium, Hungary, Slovenia, Lithuania and the hosts Estonia.

They will be aiming to improve on last year’s best ever finish of seventh in Dublin.

Meanwhile, the Schools Interprovincial Championships are being held on Saturday at Santry Stadium, Dublin with Ulster competitors expecting a medal hall.

Oisin O’Callaghan of Abbey at 800, Chris Conlon and Eoin McCann, Rathmore and Craig McMeechan, Bangor Grammar at 3000 look good along with Robbie Marrs, RBAI, high jump and Andrew Barkley, Belfast High in discus.

On the girls side there can be wins for Megan Marrs, Strathearn, 100, Clodagh O’Reilly, Loreto, Cavan at 3000, with top places for Lydia Mills of Ballyclare High in long and triple jumps and Michaela McNally, Lurgan College in hammer.

On Sunday, the fifth round of the NIMRA Mountain Championships are being held from Flagstaff to Carlingford over an 11-miles course which includes 3000 feet of climb.

Jonny Steed has taken victories at Glenariff, Commedagh and Annalong and should be the athlete to beat again over this demanding course.

British round winner Alan Bogle will go close if he competes along with Deon McNeilly, Sean Lynch, Neil Carty and William McKee.

The ladies race should go to Diane Wilson after a battle with Shileen O’Kane. Hazel McCausland and Val Linton can be next. The action starts at 10am.