Everard puts wheels away after unlucky cycle of injury
There was more than a touch of deja vu when Ciara Everard clinched the qualifying standard for next month's European Indoors with her first run of the season last weekend.
Back in 2013, the 24-year-old UCD half-miler also qualified for the European Indoors on virtually her first day out and, then as now, she was making her comeback after a cycling accident.
Everard had a bad fall off her bike in April 2012 and suffered a lot of residual problems that only came right 10 months later, when she ran the Irish indoor 800m record of 2:02.54.
Disaster struck again last November when she came off her bike a second time and tore a quad muscle.
It was the final straw in a disappointing season as she also suffered a stress fracture in 2014 which stopped her building on the success of making the European Indoor final in 2013.
But last Sunday's 2:03.39 run in Athlone confirmed that the young Kilkenny physiotherapist is back to full fitness and she has, not surprisingly, sworn off cycling now, admitting: "I'm not allowed bike it anymore!"
Now qualified and working part-time with DBC physiotherapy on the Belfield campus where she is also studying for a Master's, Everard recently got in three weeks of training at altitude in South Africa with James Nolan's UCD training group.
They barely had time to digest their Christmas dinner as they left for Potchefstroom on St Stephen's Day and returned on January 17.
"I felt I was in good shape because we had a time-trial out there and I ran 2:03," Everard revealed.
She had actually been hoping to get the European qualifying time in Ghent this weekend so was delighted to get it first day out, but is still among the Irish competing in Belgium tomorrow, who include her brother Eoin and her UCD team-mate Karl Griffin.
Ireland currently has a talented crop of 800m women which should get even more competitive now that Ciara Mageean has returned to fitness and Katie Kirk has switched allegiance from GB but they all need to kick on, especially as the qualifying standard for World Championships this summer is 2:01 flat, a time only four Irish women, including Sonia O'Sullivan, have ever broken.
Both Mageean (anchor mile) and Kirk (800m) are running in a New Balance Irish women's distance medley team in Boston tomorrow which also includes Christine McMahon and Claire Tarplee.
At home, the intervarsity indoors are in Athlone today and the finals of the GloHealth National Indoor (club) League take place there tomorrow.
GloHealth have also confirmed their sponsorship of Irish schools athletics which is coming into the meat of its cross-country season.
The Leinster Schools cross-county championships take place in Santry next Wednesday, Ulster are in Mallusk next day and Connacht (Sligo racecourse) and Munster (CIT) hold theirs on February 24, all qualifying competitions for the All-Ireland Schools event in Clongowes Wood College on March 7.