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National Track and Field Championships wrap: Sarah Lavin coasts to 100m hurdles win at Santry

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Sarah Lavin of Emerald AC, Limerick, after winning the women's 100m hurdles final during day one of the Irish Life Health National Senior Track and Field Championships 2022 at Morton Stadium. Photo by Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile

Sarah Lavin of Emerald AC, Limerick, after winning the women's 100m hurdles final during day one of the Irish Life Health National Senior Track and Field Championships 2022 at Morton Stadium. Photo by Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile

Sarah Lavin of Emerald AC, Limerick, after winning the women's 100m hurdles final during day one of the Irish Life Health National Senior Track and Field Championships 2022 at Morton Stadium. Photo by Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile

On a day of high winds at Morton Stadium, Limerick’s Sarah Lavin blew her domestic rivals away to win her seventh national senior outdoor title in the 100m hurdles, the 28-year-old Emerald AC athlete coming home a distant winner in 14.06 seconds ahead of Kate Doherty (14.64).

The time was a long way outside the 12.93 personal best Lavin clocked on her most recent outing in Madrid, and there was good reason for such a modest time from the Tokyo Olympian – it was run into a 5.0 metres-per-second headwind.

“You can never take any of these for granted and on a day like today, you never know how it’s going to go,” said Lavin, who described the conditions as “mad”. Lavin will be back in action at the Stockholm Diamond League on Thursday before the Morton Games on Saturday and the Cork City Sports on Tuesday week as she counts down to next month’s World Championships.

The headwind was a comically strong 8.3m/s for the men’s 110m hurdles final, where long-time rivals Matthew Behan and Gerard O’Donnell squared off for the title. Behan built a substantial lead by halfway but O’Donnell closed with every stride approaching the line, with Behan given the verdict in the photo finish, 15.61 to 15.63.

The men’s 200m final saw Raheny’s Mark Smyth clock an impressive 21.95 into a vicious 6.5m/s headwind, which brought him home well clear of Andrew Egan (22.41) and Luke Morris (22.44) to take his first national senior title. Race favourite Robert McDonnell was an absentee after pulling up midway through his heat.

In the women’s 200m, Sligo’s Lauren Cadden came from behind to overhaul Killarney’s Sarah Leahy near the finish, taking gold in 24.94 (-4.0m/s) to Leahy’s 25.06. It was Cadden’s first national senior title and she described it as “unreal”, dedicating it to Ray Flynn, the Sligo athletics stalwart who passed away in April.

Thomas Barr bounced back from a recent spell on the side-lines due to an achilles tendon issue and looked well within himself when coasting through to the final of the 400m hurdles, clocking 51.97 to win his heat. Mark English and John Fitzsimons breezed to victory in their 800m heats to set up what should be an absorbing showdown in Sunday’s final.

Fionnuala McCormack was a wide-margin winner of the women’s 5000m, the Kilcoole AC athlete clocking 16:07.75 to come home 12 seconds clear of sisters Sorcha and Ide Nic Dhomhnaill, who took respective silver and bronze medals. “It was tough enough out there, but it’s always nice to win a national title,” said McCormack.

John Kelly of Finn Valley pulled off an upset in the men’s shot put, throwing a championship record of 19.25m to beat national record holder Eric Favors of Raheny, who won silver with 18.74m. “I’m very happy,” said Kelly. “I came out with a goal of throwing 19 metres and I did that.” Favors said it was a “rough” competition and “the worst performance” of his year but paid tribute to the champion: “John is an amazing shot putter. Hats off to him – he had a great day.”

Seán Mockler of Moycarkey Coolcroo took gold in the men’s hammer, throwing 65.33m to beat Brendan O’Donnell of Lifford Strabane who took silver with 61.07m. Michaela Walsh of Swinford won double gold on the day: the women’s shot put with 14.58m and the hammer with 57.37m.

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Jayme Rossiter of Clonliffe took gold in the men’s 3000m steeplechase in 9:26.43, just ahead of a fast-finishing Finley Daly of Sligo and Togher’s Liam Harris. Leevale’s Una Brice fared best in the women’s pole vault, winning gold via her clearance of 3.55m ahead of Clodagh Walsh who had a best of 3.35m. Saragh Buggy of St Abban’s took victory once again in the women’s triple jump, her 12.92m giving her a 17th national title counting indoors and outdoors.

Sam Healy claimed gold in a strong men’s long jump competition, the Leevale athlete jumping a best of 7.54m to beat Bandon’s Shane Howard who jumped 7.51m. “They’re a great bunch of jumpers and Irish long jumpers are definitely on the rise,” said Healy. “It’s building and it’s going to reach high places very soon.”

Sommer Lecky of Finn Valley took the women’s high jump with a 1.79m clearance with Philippa Rogan second with 1.76m and Daena Kealy of St Abban’s third with 1.73m. Seán Breathnach of Galway City Harriers took the men’s weight for height with a national record of 4.94m.

The men’s 4x100m title went to Tallaght AC in 42.22 ahead of Crusaders (42.55), while in women’s 4x100m gold went to Dundrum South Dublin in 49.01.


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