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Mageean and English to lead Irish quest for European Indoors

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Mark English (Finn Valley AC, Donegal), right, dips for the line to win the men's 800m, ahead of Cian McPhillips (Longford AC), during the recent Irish Life Health Elite Athlete Indoor Micro Meet at Sport Ireland National Indoor Arena, Sport Ireland Campus. Photo: Sam Barnes/Sportsfile

Mark English (Finn Valley AC, Donegal), right, dips for the line to win the men's 800m, ahead of Cian McPhillips (Longford AC), during the recent Irish Life Health Elite Athlete Indoor Micro Meet at Sport Ireland National Indoor Arena, Sport Ireland Campus. Photo: Sam Barnes/Sportsfile

Mark English (Finn Valley AC, Donegal), right, dips for the line to win the men's 800m, ahead of Cian McPhillips (Longford AC), during the recent Irish Life Health Elite Athlete Indoor Micro Meet at Sport Ireland National Indoor Arena, Sport Ireland Campus. Photo: Sam Barnes/Sportsfile

Ciara Mageean and Mark English will lead Ireland’s medal hopes at next week’s European Indoor Championships in Torun, Poland after a team of 24 athletes was announced by Athletics Ireland.

Fresh from his national indoor record in Abbotstown on Saturday, English will race the men’s 800m, a distance at which he has twice won medals at this championships.

Mageean will race the women’s 1500m, in which she won bronze at the last edition in Glasgow, though it’s been an up-and-down season for the 28-year-old, who started with a strong 8:54.66 for 3000m but was well off her best when clocking 2:04.40 for 800m shortly after her long-time coach, Jerry Kiernan, passed away.

Beyond that duo, Phil Healy, Síofra Cléirigh-Buttner and Nadia Power appear to hold the best medal chances, though it will prove a big performance if any of them make it into the final at 400m or 800m.

Healy made a flying start to her season on Sunday by clocking an outright 400m PB of 51.99 in Abbotstown, while Power has been in tremendous form of late, breaking the Irish indoor 800m record last week with her 2:00.98 in Torun.

That record was lowered again on Sunday night as Síofra Cléirigh-Buttner clocked 2:00.58 in Arkansas.

Junior star Cian McPhillips will make his senior championship debut in the men’s 800m and another 18-year-old, Israel Olatunde, will also run at his first senior championship, racing the 60m alongside Leon Reid and Dean Adams.

Emerald AC club-mates Ciara Neville and Sarah Lavin will contest the 60m and 60m hurdles respectively, while Dublin Track Club training partners Andrew Coscoran and Seán Tobin will be looking to qualify for the final at the very least in the men’s 1500m and 3000m respectively.

Ireland selection – Leon Reid (60m); Israel Olatunde (60m), Dean Adams (60m), Ciara Neville (60m), Joan Healy (60m), Molly Scott (60m), Phil Healy (400m), Sophie Becker (400m), Sharlene Mawdsley (400m), Mark English (800m), Cian McPhillips (800m), John Fitzsimons (800m), Nadia Power (800m), Síofra Cléirigh Buttner (800m), Georgie Hartigan (800m), Andrew Coscoran (1,500m), Paul Robinson (1,500m), Luke McCann, (1,500m), Ciara Mageean (1,500m), John Travers (3,000m), Séan Tobin (3,000m), Darragh McElhinney (3,000m), Michelle Finn (3,000m), Sarah Lavin (60mH)

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