Three Wicklow athletes to compete in Euros
THREE Wicklow athletes have qualified for the European Athletics Championships in Amsterdam next week. Fionnuala McCormack (Kilcoole) and Tara Jameson (Slí Cualann) will run in the 10,000m on Wednesday, July 6 and Deirdre Byrne (Slí Cualann) will run in 5,000m on Saturday, July 9.
We got a chance to speak with Deirdre Byrne and Noreen O’Reilly, one of Tara Jameson’s juvenile coaches, following the announcement of the Irish squad on Sunday evening.
Deirdre Byrne qualified for the squad following her run in a 5k race in Watford at the end of May.
“I just dipped under the qualifying standard there. Athletics Ireland has an A and a B qualifying standard for the European Championships and I was about half a second underneath the B standard. So they ended up taking athletes who reached the B standard and I just found out there on Sunday night,” she said.
It’s a short enough turn around period to find out you’re qualified and then to race but Byrne is delighted and wouldn’t have minded if they told her the day before. She has been blighted by injuries over the past few years.
“It’s kind of hard to progress but thankfully I’ve been able to get a consistent kind of year together which is really helpful.”
Byrne is based in Raheny now but splits her training between there and Wicklow. “I do harder sessions on a Wednesday and a Saturday and then on a Sunday I’ll do a long run if I’m not racing down at the club at home. Then I do easier runs in between that. So there are three hard runs in a week and maybe take one rest day in between that.”
Being a teacher gives her time to train, especially in the summer, but she won’t change her routine too much for the race in Amsterdam other than easing up a few days in advance to freshen up her legs.
She races on the Saturday evening.
Tara Jameson has also been blighted with injuries over the last few years having had surgeries on her left knee and left hip but she has had a steady season of racing and her reward is qualification for her first European Championships.
Noreen O’Reilly explained how it is her first time at the championships as a senior.
“She ran in the Cross Country as a junior and she ran in the Steeplechase way back but this is her senior event,” said Noreen.
Jameson has been studying in Iona College in the US for the past six years and runs at a high collegiate level. She qualified for the Europeans following some good results over there.
“In the NCA finals she ran 32.52, her PB, and that put her inside the standard. There is still another two weeks to qualify for Rio but she’d have to run 32.15 to qualify and she’s 30 odd seconds outside of that.
“She’s had a really long season, she’s won her own Conference then she won the preliminary NCs and came 7th the NC final and made All American, which is amazing. She should have been reaching this level a few years ago but injuries prevented her but now she’s just flying.”
O’Reilly was Jameson’s coach when she was younger along with Noel Conway in the Inbhear Dee club that feeds into the Slí Cualann club. She recounts what Jameson was like when she first arrived at the club.
“When she came first she only came with her friend Claire and if it wasn’t for Claire she would have been in athletics at all. She messed around for a while but when she started training I knew she was always going to be running 10ks, maybe marathons down the road. I’ve never seen anybody with better heart and lungs in my life.”
Tara Jameson will run in the 10k on Wednesday evening.
Deirdre Byrne, of Sli Cualann A.C., on her way to winning the women’s 5000m during the GloHealth National Senior Track & Field Championships at Morton Stadium in Santry on Saturday last.