European places at stake in Tullamore
A place on the Irish team for the European Juniors is the big prize on offer for athletes competing in the GloHealth Junior and U-23 Championships in Tullamore tomorrow (10.30).
Irish underage sprinting is on the rise, with both the men's and women's 4x100m teams already inside the qualification standard for the Europeans along with a number of individuals.
Among these are Sligo sprinter Zak Irwin, Sean Lawlor of Donore Harriers and Tallaght pair Joseph Ojewumi and Eoin Doherty.
Ciara Neville, Roisin Harrison, Phoebe Murphy and Sharlene Mawdsley head the entries for the junior women's sprints .
Trim's Harry Purcell is hot favourite for the 400m after running a season's best 47.33 seconds in Mannheim last weekend.
Over the longer distances, Kevin Mulcaire from Ennis TC, who broke John Treacy's Irish junior 5,000m record earlier this season, drops down to the 1,500m.
Last weekend, Nadia Power of Templeogue AC ran a European Junior B standard of 4.24.62 in the 1,500m in Watford and she hopes to improve on that time tomorrow.
Irish junior 110m hurdles record holder Matthew Behan of Crusaders AC is favourite to win his specialist event and nail down a place on the Irish team.
Swinford's Michaela Walsh, who smashed both the hammer and shot records at the recent Tailteann Games, takes on Alice Akers in the hammer and Ann-Marie Torsney in the shot.
After a throw of 55.43m in Mannheim last week, Eoin Sheridan is favourite for the men's discus, while, in the shot putt, John Kelly is the form man after an eye-catching effort of 18.61m in Letterkenny last May.
Several of those competing in the U-23 European Championships that start in Tallinn next Thursday are also due to run in Tullamore.
Marcus Lawler, who will go in the 100m as well as his specialist 200m in Estonia, currently tops the Irish sprints rankings with times of 10.47 and 20.74.
In the women's 100m, Bandon's Phil Healy and Cliodhna Manning of Kilkenny City Harriers, will go head-to-head.
Sarah Lavin, who won silver at the European Juniors in 2013, is showing a welcome return to form and ran 13.45 seconds in Mannheim last weekend. She will also run in the Cork City Sports next Tuesday.
Mid-Sutton's Sarah McCarthy qualified for Tallinn with a breakthrough leap of 6.23m in the long jump at the University Championships that puts her top on the current Irish listings.
The All-Ireland Juvenile Championships will also be held in Tullamore this weekend.