High achiever Louise Shanahan celebrates a first 800m title 

Cork athletes Shanahan, Phil Healy and Michelle Finn showed their class at the National Championships in Santry
High achiever Louise Shanahan celebrates a first 800m title 

Louise Shanahan of Leevale AC celebrates winning in Santry. Picture: INPHO/Bryan Keane

CORK athlete Louise Shanahan recorded a great victory on the first day of the National Championships in Santry on Saturday.

In the women’s 800m, Shanahan clocked 2:03.62 to win her first senior national title and beat a star-studded field.

The Leevale flier crossed the line for gold ahead of Siofra Cléirigh-Buttner and Georgie Hartigan.

The high-achiever is doing a PhD in quantum physics at Cambridge University while on the track, her primary aim is the 2024 Olympics in Paris, rather than the upcoming version, with the World Student Games also a target in 2022.

Collecting a first national senior 800m title this weekend was another key step in her ongoing progress and she could yet slip into the top 48 to be included for the Tokyo Olympics. Before this Saturday's race, she was 51st.

Shanahan's father Ray is well known on the Irish athletics scene as a top-level competitor and former Irish endurance coach.

When Louise picked up her first national title last year in the Irish Indoor Championships 1,500m, she was emulating Ray's victories in 1988 and '89, making them the first father and daughter duo to achieve the feat.

Michelle Finn managed a championship best in the 3,000m steeplechase, 10 seconds ahead of Eilish Flanagan, running 9:36.94. Leevale's Jessica Coyne was fourth.

 

Michelle Finn of Leevale AC. Picture: INPHO/Bryan Keane
Michelle Finn of Leevale AC. Picture: INPHO/Bryan Keane

Castlemagner native Finn is already an Olympian after taking part five years ago in Rio. The 31-year-old sealed her place at this summer's event at the Paavo Nurmi Games in Turku, Finland at the start of June.

The Ballineen Bullet Phil Healy secured a staggering 13th national title in the 400m.

It was her first outdoor gold over that distance, but her time of 52.33 also gained her valuable points to help her qualify for the Olympic Games. Given the blustery conditions, Healy's pace, only 0.83 outside her personal best, was a hugely impressive run.

Healy is already on course to compete in the 200m at the Olympics and with the Irish 4x400m mixed relay team. She is closing in on 400m qualification as well.

Picture: INPHO/Bryan Keane
Picture: INPHO/Bryan Keane

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