Thursday 22 February 2018

Barr to raise Morton Games curtain among star-studded field

Ireland's Thomas Barr
Ireland's Thomas Barr

Lindie Naughton

A 400m hurdles race featuring Ireland's Thomas Barr will raise the curtain at tonight's Morton Games at Santry (7.00).

Although former world champion Dai Greene is a late withdrawal, Barr faces a challenging field led by Czech Michal Broz who is chasing a World Championships qualifying mark.

They'll be followed by the 100m men, with British Olympian Mark Lewis-Francis taking on Mario Forsythe from Jamaica. Marcus Lawler from Carlow and Sligo's Zak Irwin lead the home entry. Also running is the 2011 world champion Yohan Blake from Jamaica. Going in the women's 200m is Ferrybank's Kelly Proper, who has been whittling away at her personal best this season.

A strong British contingent, led by Andy Vernon, runs in the Albie Thomas Memorial 3,000m. The form man is the up-and-coming American Will Geoghegan, winner of the mile at the Cork City Sports.

Brian Gregan, Dara Kervick, Richard Morrissey, Craig Lynch and Brian Murphy - all members of the Irish 4 x 400m squad - line out in the men's 400m. The 'Boys in Green' take on an entry led by Birchfield's Jarryd Dunn.

In the women's 800m, New Zealand's Angela Perry, fresh from her sub-two minute time at the World University Games in Korea, competes against an entry that includes Ciara Everard of UCD and Riocht's Laura Crowe. Crowe, who has an impressive lifetime best of 2:00.93, has run 2:03.79 so far this year.

Race of the night could prove to be the women's mile, where all eyes will be on UCD's Ciara Mageean after her eye-catching 4:08.32 for 1500m at Heusden last weekend - her second fastest time ever for the distance. Back in 2011, Mageean ran a mile time of 4:38.81 indoors. In the steeplechase Kerry O'Flaherty, Sara Treacy and Mary Cullen lead the local entry.

Feature race of the night is the Morton Mile, where Australia's Jeff Riseley, with the fastest mile time in the field, leads the entry. Returning to Santry is the 2011 Morton Mile winner Jordan McNamara of the USA. Of the Irish, Tom Cotter of Dunleer is aiming to become the 41st Irish athlete to break the four-minute barrier. Also lining out is John Travers of Donore who ran 3:55.44 in last year's race, and Kilkenny's Eoin Everard, whose best mile time of 3:58.93 dates from the 2013 Morton Mile.

Tickets on the gate cost €10; children are free. Also scheduled is a pre-programme featuring Paralympics, Irish Milers Club and junior races (5.30).

Irish Independent

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