Ireland equal best team performance in Estonia

Ben Reynolds was third in Estonia
Ben Reynolds was third in Estonia

Ireland equalled their best ever performance by finishing seventh in the First Division of the European Team Championships in Tallinn, Estonia.

There were four individual victories. Brian Gregan took the 400m with 46.54, Mark English was in total control as he won the 800 in 1 minute 47.60, Paul Robinson came first at 1,500 in 3 minutes 51.05 while record breaker Thomas Barr was first in the 400 hurdles with 49.30.

Fionnuala Britton came second in the 5,000 after a race long battle with Euro 10,000 champion Ana Dulce Felix of Portugal while Barr and Gregan were joined by Craig Lynch and Brian Murphy to give the 4x400 relay another silver.

The Northern Ireland representatives performed well. Ben Reynolds had a slow start in the hurdles after the field were recalled twice. He had an empty lane beside him but came through strongly to claim third in 13.82.

Kerry O’Flaherty was just outside her record as she placed fourth on the steeplechase with 9 minutes 53.18, Anne Marie McGlynn was also fourth in the 3,000 with a best of 9 minutes 21.19 while Amy Foster came fifth in the 100 in 11.59.

Christine McMahon was sixth in the 400 hurdles in 59.24 and later ran the anchor leg of the relay, Dempsey McGuigan came eighth in the hammer with 62.71, Adam McMullan was tenth at long jump 7.39 with Matthew Martin 12th in the javelin 60.86.

Had it only been a track meeting Ireland would have been placed first but as it was they equalled the seventh ranking achieved last year in Dublin. Belarus, Norway and Finland were promoted to the Premier Division.

Meanwhile, Katie Kirk struck gold at 800 metres in the England Under 23 Championships at Bedford in a time of 2 minutes 02.78 a personal best. She now looks forward to the Commonwealths. Aislinn Crossey came fifth in the U20 800.

There was silver for Megan Marrs in the U20 hurdles in 14.10 just one day after setting a championship best of 11.71 over 100 at the Schools Inter Pro.

Zoe Brown propelled herself up the Commonwealth rankings with her 4.40 metres pole vault in Athlone. This added 5cms to her own Northern Ireland record.

Jonny Steede and Diane Wilson lived up to their favourites rankings with victories in the Flagstaff to Carlingford Race which was the fifth round of the NIMRA Championship.

Steede was followed all the way by Seamus Lynch who crossed the line just 20 seconds behind. Paul McAnespie came third.

Diane continued her run of successes to take the ladies comfortably from Shileen O’Kane with Catherine O’Connor third.

Philip Goss and Claire Connor gave North Belfast double success in the ‘Between the Bridges’ 5K Road Race on the Westlink which was especially closed for the event.

Goss was given a good race by Orangegrove athlete John Craig who was just four seconds down. Annadale’s Owen Carleton took third.

Claire Connor, third at Lisburn on Wednesday, dominated the ladies winning from Hannah Oldroyd of Saltire and Catriona Donaldson from Lagan Valley.