Healy gets off to flyer with 200m triumph
Phil Healy made a flying start to her outdoor season at the Irish Universities Athletics Championships in Athlone on Saturday, the Waterford IT athlete blitzing her opponents in the women's 200m to win in 23.04.
That ranks behind only the 22.99 national record she set last year and the 23.02 run by Sarah Reilly in 2001 on the Irish all-time lists.
"I'm absolutely delighted," said Healy. "The wind was strong cutting across in the home straight and if the weather is better and I get into the right race with warm conditions and the right track, anything can happen."
Healy will go warm-weather training for the next two weeks before returning home to sit her exams in Waterford, with July's World University Games the focal point of her summer.
Another Irish sprinter to open with a bang was Marcus Lawler, the Carlow IT student routing the field to win the men's 200m in 20.83, the quickest season debut of his career.
"The goal was to get the win and the time was secondary," said Lawler. "I didn't realise how fast it was until I crossed the line but it was brilliant."
Alex Wright was the leading Irish finisher at the European race walking meeting in Podebrady, Czech Republic, the Leevale man eighth in the men's 20km in 1:23:04.
Brendan Boyce, a 50km specialist, was next home in 12th with a PB of 1:24:31, with Cian McManamon 16th and David Kenny 24th. Waterford's Kate Veale was 26th in the women's 20km in 1:44:37.
Elsewhere, Sean Tobin broke the course record to win the Sonia O'Sullivan 10-mile race in Cobh, the Clonmel man making a quick turnaround after the World Cross Country to smash the previous record with 48:34.
Leevale Olympian Michelle Finn was first in the women's race in 57:26.
At the Rotterdam Marathon Breege Connolly was the best Irish finisher, the Rio Olympian clocking 2:37:49 to finish 13th in the women's race, while Ann-Marie McGlynn ran 2:39:19.
Sergiu Ciobanu was the first Irishman home, 23rd in 2:19:52, while former Olympic race walker Colin Griffin netted a big PB of 2:26:48.