Athletics: Healy starts on right foot at Indoor League
YOUNG Cork sprinter Phil Healy and Laois club St Abban's got their year off to a flier in the first leg of the new National Indoor League in the AIT International Arena, Athlone.
Healy (Bandon AC), who only turned 20 in the past week, is the reigning Irish schools sprint champion and finished fourth in the European Junior 100m final last summer.
She clocked 7.46 in the 60m yesterday, which moved her into 10th place on the Irish all-time list, slotting in behind Kelly Proper (7.45) but ahead of Niamh Whelan and Lena Barry (7.48).
Behind her was rising Limerick star Sarah Lavin (Emerald AC) in 7.61, with Celtic DCH's Catherine McManus third in 7.66.
Lavin also showed impressive early-season form at her 60m hurdles speciality, opening with 8.40 seconds, which was not far off her Irish junior record of 8.36.
St Abban's finished the day on top of both the men's and women's tables. The men (56 points) held off Raheny Shamrocks (54) and Crusaders (45), while their women scored 28 points, well clear of Kildare's Le Cheile (20) and Craughwell (19), ahead of the second round on February 22.
Fionnuala Britton also got her year off to a good start when she was fourth at the Antrim IAAF International Cross Country and was the first European-born athlete home.
She was overtaken late on by Bahrain's Mimi Belete, who won in 18:07 ahead of her team-mate and Olympic 1500m medallist Maryam Jamal (18:08) and her sister Almensh Belete (18:21), who was running for Belgium.
Britton was next home, crossing in 18:23 ahead of Britain's former European junior champion Charlotte Purdue (18:28).
Sarah Treacy was the next best Irishwoman, in ninth place. The men's race was won by reigning world cross-country champion Japhet Korir in 28:40. Best of the Irish was Portlaoise's Mick Mulhare in seventh (29:37), then Raheny's Mick Clohisey (11th).
Carlow schoolgirl Siofra O'Flaherty (St Laurence O'Toole) was an impressive winner of the junior girls' race in 12:47 from Scotland's Gillian Black (13:20). Ireland's Andrew Coscoran was fourth in junior men's.