THE Irish Life health national indoor championships provided two days of top class action at the NIA in Abbotstown over the weekend, with Cork athletes prominent amongst the results.
The men’s long jump attracted three Cork competitors, Shane Howard of Bandon, Reece Ademola of Leevale and Adam Turner of Belgooly. Ademola caused a big surprise last summer when he returned after missing two years to win the national league with a jump of 7.47m, and recently helped his club win the national league.
On Sunday, he opened his competition by fouling his first two attempts, putting himself under pressure to make a decent mark on his third attempt.
There was no problem as he jumped 7.31m to take the lead from Howard, who fouled his first jump before posting 7.29m and 7.28m with his next jumps. He again fouled his fourth jump, while Ademola increased his lead with a jump of 7.40m.
Howard finally got things together with jumps of 7.47m and 7.40m with his final jumps, while Ademola fouled his final jumps and had to settle for silver behind Howard with gold. Adam Turner was fifth with a best of 7.08m – his first time over 7m.
Howard competed in the US a week before nationals, finishing third in the USC Open in Columbia, South Carolina with a jump of 7.48m in the colours of Winner’s Circle.
Ademola was also involved in the high jump, but failed with his three attempts at 2m.
There was no such problem for David Cussen of Old Abbey who cleared 2m at his first attempt, and then cleared 2.05m and 2.10m before taking three attempts to clear 2.15m to win the competition.
Darragh McElhinney of Bantry and UCD completely dominated the 3,000m and had the race won a long way out, crossing the line in 8:02.84.
The women’s 800m saw Claire Mooney of Naas set the pace from the gun, with Louise Shanahan of Leevale perfectly positioned on her shoulder.
Nothing changed until 100m to go when Shanahan sprinted for home and crossed the line to win in 2:06.72.
Once again, Phil Healy of Bandon was never threatened in the 400m and produced another accomplished run to win in a time of 51.75 for a new championship record.
This is the fourth time Healy has run under 52 seconds this year as she chases the Irish record of 51.58 held by Karen Shinkins.
Last Summer, Conor Callanan of Leevale became the youngest ever winner of an Irish senior championship when he won the pole vault. On Sunday, he was back in action clearing four heights at the first attempt before clearing 4.60m at the second attempt. That left him the joint winner of the title as Matthew Keenan Callinan of SLOT finished the competition exactly the same.
The women’s pole vault saw Una Brice of Leevale win the silver medal with a jump of 3.50m, with Clodagh Walsh of Abbey Striders third with 3.35m.
Sarah Healy of UCD was an impressive winner of the women’s 3,000m in 8:53.67, finishing well clear of Michelle Finn of Leevale in 9:11.46 in second.
Michael Healy of Youghal won the weight for distance with a throw of 8.21m, with his brother Barry third with 7.51m.
The Leevale team of Okwu Backari, Fatima Amusa, Ella Scott and Lucy May Sleeman combined to finish a very close second in the 4X200m relay with a time of 1:41.90 behind DSD in 1:41.15.
In the US, Fearghal Curtin of Youghal ran a new PB when he finished fifth in the Boston University Last chance meet on Sunday.
His time of 13:46.12 improved on his previous outdoor best of 13:49.91 from last summer.
Sam Healy of Leevale and Texas San Antonio was second in the long jump at the C-USA championships with a jump of 7.56m.
At the Big East championships in Chicago, Charlie O’Donovan of Leevale and Villanova was fourth in the mile in 3:59.10 – his fourth time breaking four minutes this season.
At the same meet, Evan Byrne of Togher and Butler was fifth in the 5,000m in 14:06.86 and 8th in the 3,000m in 8:04.24 for a new PB.
At the Big 12 championships in Ames Iowa, James Ezeonu of Leevale, a newcomer at Iowa State, was 10th in the 60m hurdles in 8.33.