First Irish senior title for O'Donnell
On Sunday last, North Sligo AC's Chris O'Donnell announced his arrival on the senior stage in style with a stunning performance to win his first Irish senior 400 metre title at Morton Stadium, Dublin.
In doing so, he also got the news he was waiting on to confirm his selection to run the 400M and 4 X 400M relay at the upcoming European Senior Championships in Berlin starting on August 7th.
Last summer, O'Donnell thrilled the Sligo sporting community with his heroic performances at the European Junior Athletics Championships in Italy.
He finished 6th on that occasion and broke the Irish junior record. This year O'Donnell had to make that big step up to senior athletics, where there is no protection resulting from the age you are and where many talented athletes often stumble.
O'Donnell headed into Sunday's final as favourite after comfortably winning his heat on Saturday and posting the fastest time for the field this season with 46.82 at the recent Morton International Games.
That was a season's best performance from Chris. However, there were other athletes in the final on Sunday who were determined to not let O'Donnell have it all his own way and in particular Brandon Arrey of Raheny AC.
In a very fast race on Sunday, Arrey went out hard for first 200 and was still leading at 250M mark before the North Sligo athlete cruised past him with 120 to go and maintained his great running form right through the finish line to win in 46.92.
Arrey was second in 47.42. It is a great breakthrough for the 20 year old athlete who is now studying full time at Loughborough University in the UK. Chris can now look with great anticipation to the first senior international championships. He will on this occasion be coming up against a number of faster athletes from all over Europe and it will be more about gaining the critical experience at this level.
However, this young athlete has already shown that he possesses championship pedigree and he will certainly be targeting his pb on the big European stage.
Meanwhile, Aaron Cadden of Sligo AC won his 200m heat in 22:36 and then finished a creditable 5th in the Final in 22:01. Good running also by J.P. Carty who ran in the in the 3000m Steeplechase and finished 5th in 9:36. In the 1500m heat, Emmett Dunleavy was 11th in 4:05.
Lauren Cadden ran 12:22 in her highly competitive 100m heat which actually saw all the field qualify either automatically or as fastest losers. The Final was equally tight with Gina Apke Moses winning in 11:86 with 4th place going to Molly Scott in 11:88. Lauren finished 7th in a nippy 12:21 in what was a super race to watch.
It was good to also see ex Sligo AC star Colm Bourke (Raheny Shamrock) finishing 2nd in the Long Jump with 7.40. Sligo based John Travers (Donore Harriers) won his 1500m in 3:47 in a very tight finish.