Cork athletes back on track at last as Leevale host two events at CIT next week

Cork athletes back on track at last as Leevale host two events at CIT next week
Michelle Finn of Leevale AC going at full tilt. Picture: Sam Barnes/Sportsfile

ATHLETICS is the latest sport to make a welcome return to competition with a number of promotions – obviously under strict guidelines – taking place over the coming weeks.

The Leevale club will host two evening meetings at the end of the month, one on Tuesday July 28 and the second on Thursday 30, both at the Cork IT track.

Both will be held under the Athletics Ireland Competition Guidelines. 

There has been a huge response from athletes eager to get some competition in before the Irish Life Health/National Championships at Santry on August 22 and 23, according to club chairman, Donal Murnane.

“Although we have had to limit our entries, the response has been amazing. We are actually over subscribed so we’ll have to do a bit of deciding as to who can compete. 

The reason we decided to hold the meetings is that we have athletes ourselves competing in the nationals and we needed to have some competition beforehand.

“We clearly stated at the start that anybody doing the nationals would get preference, now it’s like a warm-up for the nationals with athletes like Ciara Neville, Molly Scott and lots of people of that calibre taking part,” added Murnane.

Representing the host club will be the likes of Michelle Finn who had high hopes of achieving the Olympic qualifying time in the steeplechase after knocking three seconds off of her best time in Melbourne back in February before all sporting activity ceased.

Entry to the CIT track will be limited to officials, pre-registered athletes and their pre-registered coaches and no spectators will be allowed.

The East Cork Division will hold a condensed version of their championships, again over two nights, at Carraig na bhFear on Thursday August 6 and Thursday August 13.

Although the Grange-Fermoy club will hold their invitation only Bob Burke four-mile race on July 26, a return to mass-participation road races still seems a long way off, especially with regard to the numbers taking part.

“Covid-19 is going to be with us for quite some time to come, so we must get used to restrictions imposed on us,” says Cork Athletics Board officer John Quigley. “It’s only after successfully running the smaller scale events that we can even contemplate the bigger ones.

“The Cork cross-country championships are scheduled to go ahead at the Board's Riverstick Grounds over the autumn and the success - Covid-wise - of these track events is likely to have a significant impact on how those championships are run.

“Yes, they may be a load of hassle but these are not ordinary times so we must abide by all the guidelines.

"The first rule of any event, and the highest priority, is that everyone, from participant to organising and support personnel, to spectators and the public, goes home safely.”

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