Wicklow athletes to compete in Europeans
ATHLETICS DEIRDRE AND ROISIN ON IRISH TEAM
WICKLOW ATHLETES Deirdre Byrne and Roisin McGettigan have been selected by Athletics Ireland for the European Indoor Championships, which take place in Turin, Italy from the 6th to the 8th March.
McGettigan has been one of Ireland’s most consistent middle distance runners over the past 12 months. An Olympic finalist in Beijing, McGettigan raced sparingly in 2008 but still managed to take the Woodie’s DIY National Track and Field title over 1500m.
She put in a hugely impressive performance in her Olympic semi-final before illness struck ahead of her final appearance and hampered her ability to perform in the final.
The Sli Chulainn AC athlete, who is trained by Ray Treacy in Providence in the US, made an impressive start to this year. Last weekend she set a new Irish indoor mile record at the Boston Games in a time of 4.30.06 and will hope to continue this form in Turin.
Club-mate, Deirdre Byrne has also shown some good form this year.
It was Byrne’s performance at the Woodie’s DIY National Indoors in Belfast that guaranteed her a place in Turin.
She won the 3000m in a time of 9.04.74, taking over seven seconds off her pervious best and she will be hoping to improve on this again next month.
The Irish team is dominated by female athletes with Olympic semi-finalist Paul Hession the only male athlete selected on the team so far.
Other athletes, including double European Indoor Champion David Gillick, may be added to the team ahead of the March 1st cut-off point.
Leevale’s Derval O’Rourke, who is returning to form, is selected to run in the 60m Hurdles after she ran a season’s best 8.12 at the Woodie’s DIY National Indoor Championships last weekend in Belfast.
Marian Andrews of Togher A.C and Brona Furlong of Slaney Olympic will compete the 400m in Italy. Both athletes showed impressive form at the weekend when setting personal bests for the 400m in Belfast.
Andrews and Furlong will be joined by Gemma Hynes (Galway City Harriers A.C..), Claire Bergin (Dundrum South Dublin A.C.) and Christine McMahon (Ballymena & Antrim A.C.) for the 4 X 400m Relay.
North Sligo AC’s Mary Cullen, who is included in the squad, showed her potential in Boston too as she came within a second of Sonia O’Sullivan’s Irish 5000m record. Cullen, who is in excellent form after her fourth place finish at the European Cross Country before Christmas, will race in the 3000m.
In the field events, Kelly Proper, ( Ferrybank A.C) has been rewarded with a place on the team following her brilliant weekend performance when she equalled her women’s long jump Irish Record of 6.32 metres.
Meanwhile Deirdre Ryan, (DSD) hopes to continue her good form in Turin, building on the personal best she set when breaking the women’s Irish High Jump Record clearing 1.93m in Germany last month.
‘This Irish team is a combination of experienced and emerging athletes. For many athletes on the team this will be their first time to compete at a major senior championships and this will act as an important development experience for them. In the past we have been very successful at these championships and we can expect to again have some exciting performances and the possibility of bringing home medals,’ said Athletics Ireland CEO, Mary Coghlan.