Medal makes me think bigger - English
Mark English may be Ireland's only clear medal hope at the upcoming European Indoor Championships but the rising Donegal track star does not feel burdened by the pressure.
A particularly inexperienced young team of 12 was announced for Prague (March 5-8) yesterday and the 21-year-old UCD medical student, who brought home 800m bronze from the European outdoors last summer, will carry the weight of expectations yet he does not regard it as additional pressure.
"You're always going to have different expectations after getting a medal, it just comes with the territory," English (pictured) said.
"I try to see the positives in everything that happens. I'm looking at the confidence that medal has given me," he added, saying his first major medal has inspired him to 'think bigger'.
"It kind of normalises what you might not have thought was possible in the past," he explained. "It gets you thinking bigger. I'm no longer thinking the way I did about just making up numbers."
English goes to Prague ranked fourth in Europe and despite his youth, has already picked up plenty of championship racing experience, unlike many of his team-mates.
An injury setback has unfortunately forced out Ciara Mageean so Kilkenny's Ciara Everard (also UCD), who made the final in Gothenburg two years ago, is the team's only woman.
But some exciting talents will be making their international senior debuts, particularly Clonliffe quarter-miler Dara Kervick (23) from Piltown in Kilkenny, whose 46.53 last weekend leaves him ranked 10th in Europe.
Letterkenny's Danny Mooney and Donore's John Travers will both contest the 1,500m, Clonliffe's Irish-American Declan Murray is the second man in the 800m and Annadale's marathoner Paul Pollock has underlined his versatility by qualifying for the 3,000m.
Leitrim's Gerard O'Donnell (Carrick-on-Shannon) gets his first senior international vest after breaking the eight-second mark for 60m hurdles and Crusaders' Adam McMullen becomes the first Irish men's long jumper to contest this event since Ciaran McDonagh in 2002.
English and Kervick will double up in the 4x400m relay with Clare's Timmy Crowe (Clonliffe), Waterford's Paul Murphy (Ferrybank) and Meath's Harry Purcell (Trim).
Irish team - 400m D Kervick. 800m M English, D Murray & C Everard. 1,500m J Travers & D Mooney. 60mH G O'Donnell. 3,000m P Pollock. Long Jump A McMullen. 4x400m English, Dervick, T Crowe (Clonliffe), P Murphy (Ferrybank) & H Purcell (Trim).