Great week of athletics for Cork's Phil Healy and Charlie O'Donovan

Great week of athletics for Cork's Phil Healy and Charlie O'Donovan
Charlie O’Donovan is welcomed to the mile sub4 club by miling greats Mark Carroll and Marcus O’Sullivan in Boston on Saturday. This picture was taken by another great miler Frank O’Mara

IT was another great week of indoor athletics for Cork athletes, with Phil Healy of Bandon racing to a new Irish indoor record at the Athlone IT international meet on Wednesday. 

Her time of 23.10 for 200m finally broke the 23.17 record of Ciara Sheehy that has stood for seventeen years. She looks set to concentrate on 200m this year.

At the same meet, Darragh McElhinney of Bantry and UCD, running his first race of the season, clocked a new PB of 4:04.57 for eight place in the mile.

On Saturday, Charlie O’Donovan of Leevale and Villanova University won his mile race at the David Hemery Valentine Invitational in Boston University. 

His time of 3:58.95 made him the seventh Cork runner to break four minutes for the mile. 

He follows in the footsteps of John Hartnett of Fermoy who had a best time of 3:54.7 in 1973, Kieran Stack from Doneraile with 3:59.4 in 1988, and four Leevale runners, Marcus O’Sullivan with 3:50.94 in 1988, Ken Nason with 3:58.09 in 1995, Mark Carroll with 3:50.62 in 2000, and Ciaran O’Lionaird with 3:52.10 in 2013.

Phil Healy of Ireland on her way to winning the final of the Hodson Bay Hotel Women's 200m event, in an Irish national indoor record time of 23.10, during the AIT International Grand Prix 2020 at AIT International Arena in Athlone, Westmeath. Photo by Sam Barnes/Sportsfile *** NO REPRODUCTION FEE ***
Phil Healy of Ireland on her way to winning the final of the Hodson Bay Hotel Women's 200m event, in an Irish national indoor record time of 23.10, during the AIT International Grand Prix 2020 at AIT International Arena in Athlone, Westmeath. Photo by Sam Barnes/Sportsfile *** NO REPRODUCTION FEE ***

Later in the evening Charlie was back on track to pace one of the 3,000m races.

The Boston meet featured no fewer than 24 one mile races catering for athletes of all standards.

Fearghal Curtin of Youghal and Arizona State was in action in the mile at the Iowa State Classic in Ames, Iowa. 

He was in the leading group of six runners with 400m to go but faded a little in the closing stages and finished sixth in 4:04.77, a huge improvement on his previous best of 4:08.29 at the end of January.

Another big PB came the way of Stephanie Cotter of West Muskerry and Adams State University. 

She competed in the mile at the Don Kirby Collegiate Elite in Albuquerque, New Mexico and easily won in a time of 4:44.23, to improve on her 4:50.27 from last March.

At the Bulldog Invitational in Birmingham, Alabama, Luke Horgan of Leevale and McNeese State University was second in the mile in a time of 4:19.21.

Team-mate Grace McKenzie of Belgooly recorded two fine wins, winning the 60m hurdles in 8.60 and the long jump with a jump of 5.97m.

The Samford Bulldog Invitational was also held at the same venue and Sam Healy of Leevale and University of Louisiana, Monroe was second in the long jump with a jump of 7.19m in the last round after fouling his first two attempts.

Darragh McElhinney of U.C.D. A.C., Co. Dublin, celebrates on his way to winning the Junior Men's event during the Irish Life Health National Senior, Junior & Juvenile Even Age Cross Country Championships at the National Sports Campus Abbotstown in Dublin. Photo by Sam Barnes/Sportsfile 
Darragh McElhinney of U.C.D. A.C., Co. Dublin, celebrates on his way to winning the Junior Men's event during the Irish Life Health National Senior, Junior & Juvenile Even Age Cross Country Championships at the National Sports Campus Abbotstown in Dublin. Photo by Sam Barnes/Sportsfile 

Louise Shanahan of Leevale and Cambridge University signalled her intentions from the gun when she raced over 800m at the British Universities indoor championships in Sheffield. She settled into second place and maintained her position until another runner came up on her shoulder at the bell. 

Her response was immediate as she squeezed through to take over the lead, and then sprinted to an impressive victory in 2:09.70.

The Irish Universities indoor championships were held on Saturday at the Athlone IT stadium. Once again DCU topped the points table for both men’s and women’s competition. 

They had a total of 66 points for men with UCC fifth on 29 and CIT eight on 14.5, while DCU had 102 points for women, ahead of UCC on 51 and CIT seventh with 15.

Wins were few and far between for Cork. Annette Quaid of UCC and Leevale won the 800m in 2:25.65; Ruby Millet of UCC and Carlow won the long jump with 5.76m, Clodagh Walsh of CIT and Abbey Striders won the pole vault with 3.50m, Katie Walsh of CIT and Carraig na bhFear won the combined events with 2934 points, and David Kenny of CIT and Farranfore won the 2k walk in 7:25.99.

Biggest disappointment of the weekend was the Munster senior and masters indoor championships in Nenagh. 

The meet failed dismally to attract numbers and a big re-think about its future is needed.

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