Athletics

Ciara Mageean cuts five seconds off personal best

Ciara Mageean set a new Northern Ireland 1500m record

CIARA Mageean bounced back from a disappointing Olympic Games with a new Northern Ireland 1500m record at the Paris Diamond League.

The Portaferry woman had taken a bronze medal at the European Championships earlier this summer and was expected to reach the final in Rio but was tamely eliminated at the semi-final stage.

Mageean clocked 4:01.46 as she slashed five seconds off her previous best to move to second on the Irish all-time list behind Sonia O’Sullivan’s 3:58.85 set in Monaco 21 years ago.

Scotland’s Laura Muir took up the running with 500m to go before going on to run a British record and the fastest time in the World this year of 3:55.22. Muir too had disappointed in Rio finishing seventh in the final after misjudging the race according to many expert observers. Muir finished ahead of Kenya’s Olympic champion Faith Kipyegon with Rio fifth placer, Dutchwoman Sifan Hassan (3:57.13) in third.

Mageean, a year older than Muir at 24, was always toward the back of the field but held on well for possibly her best performance of the season. It makes one wonder if a few more fast races may have helped the former camóg cope better with the demands of the event in Rio.

Meanwhile, Ulster’s bright young starlets were creating a stir at the AA of England U17 Championships in Bedford. St. Johnston, Co Donegal shot putter James Kelly was the first to strike gold with a convincing win in the U17 age group with an impressive 16.64m throw.

His Finn Valley team-mate Sommer Lecky was also on top of the podium after a victory in the U17 girls’ high jump after clearing 1.75m. Beechmount’s Davicia Patterson, despite competing for the first time over 300m, took the silver medal in a fantastic 39.46 seconds and Ballymena & Antrim’s Lauren Roy snatched a bronze medal in the 100m.

At home, Jason Smyth had his final race before heading out to defend his Paralympic T13 100m title in Rio next moth. The Derry Track Club athlete cruised to a smooth victory over that distance at the Team Trophy Meeting in 10.76 seconds.

Lagan Valley’s women and the men from City of Derry Spartans were winners of the team trophies although there may be questions over the eligibility of Andrew Doyle who scored four victories for the Derry squad. It was back to roads for Paddy Hamilton after taking a 1500/5000m double on the track at the National Masters’ championships the previous weekend.

The Slieve Gullion athlete made the trip to Carlow to win the Rockford 4-Miles 19:56. That put him comfortably clear of Kilkenny’s Brian Maher, with Cillian O’Leary of Raheny in third place. Philip Goss led home a large field in the Rathlin Run 10 Miles.

The North Belfast Harrier duelled with Newcastle’s Patrick Higgins in the early stages before moving clear to home in 60 minutes and 40 seconds.

Higgins improved on his third place finish 12 months earlier to take the runner-up spot with Orangegrove’s Andrew McIntyre in third spot. Newcastle’s Mari Troeng won the women’s race for the second consecutive year with a 74:39 timing.

Athletics

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