Athletics: O'Rourke claims tenth national title
A NEW Irish junior record from Ciara Mageean, sprint victories for Derval O'Rourke, Paul Hession and Claire Bergin and the return to the limelight of former European Junior 1,500m champion Colin Costello were among the highlights of the Woodies DIY Irish Indoor Championships at the Odyssey Arena.
Despite a disruptive recent calf tear O'Rourke, who ran 8.29 in the heats, opened her indoor season by winning the women's 60m hurdles in 8.18 seconds to take her tenth national title.
Unlike O'Rourke, Hession does not intend competing at next month's World Indoors but still retained his 60m title, running 6.75 in the semis and winning the final with 6.76 ahead of teenager Dean Adams, who ran 6.89.
Celbridge's Claire Brady laid down a big early-season marker by winning the women's 60m title in 7.35 ahead of Leevale's defending champion Ailis McSweeney (7.49) and Ferrybank's Niamh Whelan (7.50).
Brady's fourth personal best of the indoor season was also inside the World Indoor qualifying mark (7.40) and also won her the 'Athlete of the Meet' title.
After favourite Brian Gregan surprisingly failed to qualify for the 400m final, Dundrum South Dublin's Nick Hogan won it in 48.59 though Gregan subsequently set a new personal best of 47.58 in the B final.
The sight of Costello (Star of the Sea) winning the men's 1,500m in 3:58:81 ahead of Clonliffe's Conor Healy (3:59.38) was encouraging in his first return to national competition since his career stalled after an unsuccessful stint in a US college.
Deirdre Byrne won the women's 3,000m in 9:03.52 but her bid for a double in the 800m was foiled by City of Lisburn's Kelly McNeice who won in 4:14.63. James McIlroy ran a stadium record of 1:48.64 in the 800m heats and went on to comfortably beat David McCarthy in the final in 1:52.23.
Crusaders' Alan O'Brien, temporarily moving up in distance, won an exciting 3,000m in 8:11.44. There were expected titles for Leevale walker Robert Heffernan and Ferrybank's long jumper Kelly Proper (6.35m), the latter also winning the 200m in 24.14 seconds ahead of her clubmate Whelan (24.15).
Rising distance star Ciara Mageean (City of Lisburn) broke Arlene Smith's 1991 junior 800m record of 2:08.74 with a 2:07.82 victory.
Barry Pender (St Abban's) won the men's high jump in 2.15m ahead of Adrian O'Dwyer, and Caoimhe King (Westport) improved her own Irish junior triple jump record by 2cm when finishing second, in 12.22m, to Tir Chonail's Mary McLoone.