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Sunday 21 September 2014

Paul Robinson and Ciaran O'Lionaird make European final in Zurich but there's disappointment for Rob Heffernan

Published 15/08/2014 | 11:22

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Ireland's Paul Robinson ran a new personal best for the mile this week. Photo: Stephen McCarthy / SPORTSFILE
Ireland's Paul Robinson ran a brilliant race this morning

Ireland's Paul Robinson and Ciaran O Lionaird have both qualified for the final of the 1,500m at the European Athletics Championships in Zurich.

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Kildare man Paul Robinson ran a sublime tactical race to finish fourth in the second heat with the first five to qualify.

The 23-year-old will be joined in the final by Ciaran O'Lionaird who ran strongly in a messy first heat of the 1,500m when a bump on the back straight of the final lap looked to have scuppered his chances.

The Irish athlete finished seventh in a time of 3:39.79 and qualified for the final as the third of four fastest losers.

John Travers will be desperately disappointed with his run that saw him finish 14th in that first heat behind O'Lionaird.

There was disappointment for Ireland's world champion Rob Heffernan who found the pace too much in the European 50km walk this morning, pulling up injured with 10k to go when he was clearly struggling physically.

The Togher star looked good in the early stages and was as high as third place.

But he started to struggle from the half-way point as France's two-in-a-row champion Yohann Diniz,  set a relentless pace en route to his third consecutive title with the Frenchman ultimately winning in a world record time.

Rob Heffernan admitted  that part of his problem was in his head.

"I wasn't pulling the boys back and I just didn't care. Bronze didn't excite me, " he admitted.

"Mentally it was very, very hard. I'm fierce disappointed but Yohann broke the world record, he totally over-powered me today," he said.

France's Yohann  Diniz (36) won his third European title by smashing the eight year old record with a phenomenal time of 3:32.33, five minutes faster than Heffernan has ever done.

There was better news for Milford's Brendan Boyce (Letterkenny AC) who knocked three minutes off his PB when he finished 16th in 3:51:34.

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