Lightning Lawler a class apart
Carlow flier sets schools records for both 100m and 200m
Just after he crossed the line in the senior 200m at the Aviva All-Ireland Schools Championships in Tullamore, Marcus Lawler glanced left to check the clock.
When he saw the figure of 20.88 – later rounded down to 20.87 seconds – he leaped into the air with pure joy.
The time not only broke the 30-year-old schools record, it was a first sub 21-second time for Lawler, an Irish junior record, and tantalisingly close to the World Championships qualifying mark of 20.60.
Earlier, Lawler had smashed the 100m schools record when he ran 10.59 after false starting on his first attempt. He completed a memorable day by helping CBS Carlow to relay success.
On an exceptional day for Irish sprinting, Phil Healy of Colaiste na Toirbhirte was another double winner and record breaker. Her time of 11.83 seconds for the 100m broke Emily Maher's 1998 mark of 11.91, while the 23.98 she ran for the 200m was the first ever sub 24-second schools run.
Zak Irwin of Sligo Grammar produced the third sprint double of the day, with his winning time of 21.75 in the inter boys' 200m shaving half a second off the old mark.
Siofra Cleirigh Buttner of Colaiste Iosagain continued her remarkable schools career; her 800m winning time of 2:03.81 in the senior girls' race not only knocked almost seven seconds off the record, but was just fractionally outside Ciara Mageean's Irish junior record of 2:03.07.
Sean Tobin of High School Clonmel improved the senior boys' 800m record to 1:50.65. Tobin returned to the track later to win the 1500m.
Other double winners were Brandon Arrey of Davis College Mallow, in the inter 400m and 400m hurdles, and Molly Scott of Colaiste Conglais, in the junior 100m and 75m hurdles. Brothers Kevin and Brian McGrath of St Pat's Navan won the junior and inter boys' 800m titles.
In the field, Daniel Ryan of CBS Thurles jumped 6.67m for a new junior boys' long-jump record, while Arlene Crossan of Loreto Letterkenny improved the junior girls' record to 5.58m.
A third record came in the inter boys' triple jump, won by Darren Proud of Pres Ballingarry with a 14.04m effort.
Alice Akers of Scarriff won the inter girls' hammer with a best of 47.47. She also finished second in the discus behind Kayleigh Cronin of St Brigid's Killarney, who threw 41.13m.