Darragh McElhinney wows the home crowd in Cork by breaking his own Ireland U23 record in the 3000m


Darragh McElhinney wowed the home crowd with a superb solo performance to break his own Ireland U23 record in the 3000m at BAM Cork City Sports, a Continental Tour bronze meeting, on Tuesday. The 21-year-old athlete from Cork came home in 7:44.01, nearly five seconds ahead of an international field.

I’m happy about that,” said McElhinney, who broke John Treacy’s Irish U23 record for the 5000m in the summer.

“I didn’t expect to get such a gap on the field like I did. I was just trying to get to the bell with some rest and then give it my all.”

McElhinney edged out Emile Cairess of Great Britain while 17-year-old star Nick Griggs put in another superb performance to finish sixth in 7:53.40, a whopping eight seconds off McElhinney’s Ireland U20 outdoor record.

It was a night of outstanding performances by Irish athletes, and no more so than in the men’s shot put, where John Kelly of Finn Valley broke the Irish senior record of 20.16m and broke the Irish record of 20.07m set by his rival Eric Favors was raised by Raheny earlier this year.

That left Kelly third that night, with Italian star Nick Ponzio taking the win with 20.71m. Favors also broke his previous record with a throw of 20.11 m in fourth place.

Sarah Lavin showed the performance of her life when she finished second in the women’s 100m hurdles and clocked a 12.84, beating her previous personal best of 12.93. The race was won by USA’s Jade Barber, who set a stadium and meeting record of 12.72.

“I really ran my own race tonight and struggled with that at the Morton Games,” said Lavin, who ran in Dublin at 1.10pm three nights earlier. “I kept it all the way (tonight) and it was so important. There is nothing like the pressure to get the best out of myself.”

Lavin will now travel to Oregon for the World Championships, which begin Friday week.

“It’s huge from a mental point of view,” she said. “This is my seventh or eighth race in eight days and I was wondering how to do it, but my coach has a plan and she rarely makes a mistake.”

Sarah Healy showed an excellent kick to win a dramatic women’s 3000m. The 21-year-old broke her own Irish U23 record in 8:46.14.

But there was a nervous moment for the Dubliner as she neared the finish, her legs slacking as she slammed onto the track, her shoulders over the line – but only just – as she came to a halt.

“I felt good up to the last 300 meters and then in the last 40 meters I realized it wasn’t going to be nice. That has never happened to me.”

When asked about the impact of her fall, Healy said, “If you’re happy with the result, you don’t really feel it and I’m really happy about that.”

Two-time Olympic champion in the 800m, Caster Semenya of South Africa, finished eighth in 9:11.71.

Phil Healy was in a class of her own in the women’s 400m, the Bandon AC athlete got the crowd going as she cleared Cliodhna Manning (52.76) by 52.06.

“I was very happy with that, it was very windy on the backstretch so I’ll take that,” said Healy, who is bypassing the Worlds this month to focus on the Europeans in August.

“We’ve had a slow start to the season because the European Cup is the main goal and that’s seven weeks away, but I always wanted to come here. Cork is always my favorite meeting of the year and brings out the best in me.”

Israel Olatunde celebrated a brilliant win in the men’s 100m with a time of 10:31 ahead of Britain’s Sam Gordon (10:33) and there was a fitting final for Irish track and field fans in the men’s mile where Cathal Doyle shot to victory by Clonliffe in 3:56.35.

“I wanted to wait until the last 100,” said Doyle, who fell short of winning last weekend’s Morton Games by two-hundredths of a second. “I had to walk away with the win tonight or I would have been disappointed.”

Doyle has been running with a broken bone in his wrist and elbow lately, but it didn’t seem to bother him. “Just stick it on,” he said. “Be great.” Darragh McElhinney wows the home crowd in Cork by breaking his own Ireland U23 record in the 3000m

Fry Electronics Team

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