WITH the postponement of the World Indoor championships, the Irish Life Health National Indoor Championships at Abbotstown at the weekend was the final competition of the indoor season for most athletes.
For an athlete like Phil Healy of Bandon, it was always going to be the last meet because her favoured 200m event is no longer contested at major indoor championships because being drawn in lane six gives an athlete such a huge advantage.
Early in February she set a new Irish 200m record of 23.10 at the Athlone international and was again in top form in the final on Saturday.
Again, drawn in lane six, she was never threatened as she raced to another impressive victory in a time of 23.16.
On Sunday, she was back on track again to take bronze in the 60m in 7.36, just behind her sister Joan (below), who competes for Leevale, who was second in 7.33, with victory going to Ciara Neville of Limerick in 7.30.
It was strange to see Louise Shanahan of Leevale enter for the 1,500m at the championships.
The last time she competed over the distance indoors was when she won the All-Ireland U18 title in 2015 in 4:43.97, but she did clock 4:33.97 outdoors when she won in Berkeley, California two years ago when she was based there for studies.
Now based in Cambridge University in England, she won the British Universities indoor 800m title a couple of weeks ago and also competed in the short course cross country championships.
On Sunday it was the very experienced Ciara Everard from Kilkenny who took over the lead with two laps to go, after a very slow tactical start.
She looked to have the race won, but a very determined Shanahan never gave up, and sprinted past the leader in the last 50m to win in 4:40.45.
She follows in the footsteps of her father Ray, who won the first two national indoor 1,500m titles in 1988/99 when the championships were held in Nenagh.
Incidentally, Garrett Barry of North Cork won the 1,500m title in 1993, the last time a Cork athlete won a 1,500m title.
Darragh McElhinney of Bantry and UCD took over the lead in the 3,000m with two laps to go, but was passed by John Travers of Donore at the bell and then faded to finish third in 8:06.18 behind the 8:00.96 of Travers.
David Cussen of Old Abbey cleared 2.00m and 2.05m at the first attempt in the high jump, and then cleared 2.08m at the third attempt to win his first senior indoor title.
In the 60m, Conor Morey of Leevale won his first round heat in 6.91, and followed up with another win in the semi final in 6.85, a fraction outside his PB of 6.84 from last year. He again clocked 6.85 in the final for bronze behind winner Dean Adams from Ballymena in 6.74.
To close the meet, Leevale won the women’s 4X200m relay in 1:42.26 with Emily Wall, Shona Lowe, Louise Shanahan and Joan Healy on the team.
At the Big East championships in Geneva, Ohio, Charlie O’Donovan of Leevale and Villanova, was back to championship running.
He won his heat of the mile in 4:15.50 and then found himself in a very competitive final where just one second separated the first five finishers.
O’Donovan put in a strong performance but had to settle for second in 4:20.17 behind Matthew Payamps of Georgetown in 4:19.88.
His Leevale clubmate Luke Horgan of McNeese was fifth in the mile in 4:18.24 at the Southland Conference in Birmingham, Alabama.
Fearghal Curtin of Youghal and Arizona State was second in his heat of the mile in 4:07.24 at the MPSF championships in Seattle, Washington.
At the Sun Belt championships in Birmingham Alabama, Sam Healy of Leevale and University of Louisiana made a welcome return to hurdling, finishing fourth in the 60m hurdles in 8.16.