Irish athlete Nick Griggs breaks more records in Cork

The Tyrone teenager took the NI senior and Irish U23 record in the 3000m

Nick Griggs
Nick Griggs took the Northern Irish Senior and Irish U23 record in the 3000m (SYSTEM)

NICK Griggs produced one of the outstanding performances from Irish athletes at the 70th edition of the Cork City Sports on Tuesday night.

Despite cold and breezy conditions, the Tyrone teenager added NI senior and Irish U23 records to his burgeoning collection with a 7:41.68 timing in the 3000m.

That saw the young Newmills man take third place behind former American collegiate 5000m champion Olin Hacker, who stopped the clock at 7:40.49 after taking up the running with 450m to run.

Another US athlete Kasey Knevelbaard just out-leaned Griggs for the runner-up spot in 7:41.61, while Candour Track Club’s Callum Morgan was 12th in 8:00.05.

The previous U23 record-holder Darragh McElhinney was further back in 16th with an 8:03.25 timing after being jostled in mid-race.

The record may prove some consolation for Griggs who has missed out on Olympic selection despite lowering his 1500m time to 3:35.40 in Nice on June 15, albeit with the Olympic qualifying being 3:33.50.

That only placed him fourth fastest Irishman for the distance this year with the three Olympic 1500m places going to Andrew Coscoran, Luke McCann and Cathal Doyle.

Another Mark Kirk-trained athlete to lose out narrowly on Olympic qualification, Louise Shanahan, was competing in her hometown. Shanahan turned in a fine performance to finish second in the women’s 800m in 2:02.65 behind USA’s McKenna Keegan who was timed at 2:01.60.

“To be racing at the Cork City Sports is a dream,” said Shanahan.

“I’ve never raced the senior race here and I’d have loved to win, but the next best thing is finishing second. The race was fantastic, the entire way around I could hear people cheering for me.”

Paris-bound Sarah Lavin sprinted to victory in the 100m hurdles recording 12.83 seconds after a flawless display of hurdling to see off the challenge of Americans Talie Bonds (12.95) and Liberia’s Ebony Morrison (13.15).

Sarah Lavin now holds Irish records at 100m and 100m hurdles
Paris-bound Sarah Lavin was victorious in the 100m hurdles

Bandon Bullet Phil Healy never fails to impress at this her home meeting and this year was no different. The 29-year-old finished fourth in the 100m in 11.45, won by Celera Barnes of USA in 11.14, and fifth in the 200m in a seasonal best 23.34 seconds, a race won by Australian teenage star Torrie Lewis in 23.01.

Sophie Becker warmed up for the individual 400m in Paris finishing fifth in 23.51.

Bandon hammer thrower Nicola Tuthill also tuned up for the Olympics by finishing third against two of the world’s best. The 20-year-old will be making her Olympic debut next month and threw 69.90m behind US pair Brooke Anderson (73.10m) and Janee Kassanavoid (73.10m).

Ireland's Nicola Tuthill finished fourth in the hammer at the European U23 Athletics Championships
20-year-old Nicola Tuthill will be making her Olympic debut next month

Another Cork athlete to make the most of home support was Reece Ademola thrilled the crowd with a victory in the men’s long jump, getting out to 7.71m. That edged out club-mate Shane Howard by a single centimetre, with American Jason Smith back in third on 7.60m.

Back on the track, Paris-bound Sophie O’Sullivan faded out of contention in the women’s 3,000m, coming home 12th in 9:08.66 in a race won by USA’s Taylor Werner in 8:43.12.

As is customary at the Cork City Sports, the evening ended with the mile, where Nathan Green of the USA cleared out early on the last lap to win in 3:53.67.

Illustrating perfectly how devalued a sub-four minute mile has become nowadays; 12 men bettered that once mythical mark.

Cathal Doyle was the best of the Irish after finishing strongly to fill the runner-up spot in 3:54.48, with American Sam Prakel a close third in 3:54.48 while Lagan Valley’s Lughaidh Mallon finished 16th in 4:07.36.