Doyle and Griggs Deliver 1500M Epic as Shanahan Breaks 800M Championship Record

ByEmma Porter |

Clonliffe’s Cathal Doyle held off Nick Griggs in one of the great championship races in the men’s 1500m, with both athletes diving over the line in the weekend’s most dramatic track finish. Doyle would ultimately get the nod on the clock in a winning time of 3:49.11, with Griggs second in 3:49.15.

Speaking after the race Doyle said, “It’s not the first dive I’ve had to do across the line, but it was worth it today. I’m not sure if I would have taken the win without it, I’ve lost on a dive before so I wasn’t taking any chances. I knew Nick wasn’t going to be slowing down at the line so I’m delighted I was able to hang on against such a talented athlete.”

Carla Sweeney (Rathfarnham W.S.A.F. AC) defended her 1500m title in the women’s race with a from-the-front performance to cross in 4:21.61. Ellie Hartnett 4:24.40 and Lucy Homles (West Waterford AC) 4:25.13 completed the women’s podium.

Louise Shanahan (Leevale AC) regained her 2022 800m title in 2:03.54, breaking Ciara Mageean’s 2016 CR in the process. Shanahan was challenged by Georgie Hartigan (DSD AC) for much of the race, before a kick form the front sealed the title for the Cork athlete.

The men’s 800m race went the way of Cian McPhillips (UCD AC) who claimed his first senior indoor track title in 1:52.79. McPhillips sat patiently for much of the race before unleashing a race-winning-move with 200m to go which would ultimately see him cross ahead of Dara Donoghue (Lucan Harriers A.C. 1:53.14) and teammate Mark Milner (U.C.D. AC 1:53.18).

The 400m races were just as compelling, headlined by an impressive showing from Newport’s Sharlene Mawdsley who crossed in 52.04 to pick up her first 400m indoor title having taken the indoor 200m title the previous two years.

Mawdsley, who finished ahead of relay teammates Sophie Becker and Roisin Harrison, said, “I wanted to get to the break first and get out as fast as I could. I’m happy with the performance and the win was the goal this weekend. I’m in better form than I probably produced today so I’ll try get in another race in the next week and see how it goes. I’ll be taking it one competition at a time so we’ll see what the year brings.”

The men’s 400m gold went to Cillin Greene (Galway City Harriers) in 47.20, with David Ryan (Moycarkey Coolcroo AC) 47.99 in second, and Brandon Arrey (Raheny Shamrock AC) 48.15 in third.

The 60m sprints provided two very popular winners. Israel Olatunde (Tallaght AC) made it three senior indoor titles in a row, matching his three 100m outdoor titles. Olatunde warmed up through the rounds, posting 6.85 in the heats, 6.72 in the semi-final, before posting a gold medal run of 6.71 in the final.

Olatunde was pushed all the way in a final stacked with a host of emerging sprint talent. Bori Akinola (UCD AC) 6.76 followed Olatunde home, with fellow Tallaght AC athlete Sean Aigboboh (Tallaght AC) 6.77 completing the podium. All eight sprint finalists would break the seven second mark on the day.

Molly Scott (St. L. O’Toole AC) won back the 60m title she had last one in 2019 to complete a very successful weekend having taken silver in yesterday’s 60m hurdles behind Sarah Lavin.

Scott, who continues her return from a long term injury, posted 7.36 to take gold in today’s final ahead of defending champion Sarah Leahy (Killarney Valley A.C. 7.42) and Mollie O’Reilly (Dundrum South Dublin AC 7.48).

Speaking after the race Scott said, “I got out of the blocks as hard as I could today and didn’t think about anyone else. I knew I had to focus on my own lane, but I could pinpoint so much that didn’t go right. Coming from where I’ve been I’ll have to take this. It’s going to take a bit of time to get back to where I was two years ago, but the chapter wont close until I’m running fast again. I have big expectations of myself, and I’m delighted with the gold, but a little bit disappointed with the time.”

John Travers (Donore Harriers) ran away from the field in the men’s 3,000m with 800m to go, crossing in 8:13.17 to add to the 3,000m indoor titles he picked up in 2018,2019, and 2020 (1500m in 2015).

The women’s 3,000m provided another epic finish on the day with Claire Fagan (Mullingar Harriers AC) claiming her first senior track title with a 9:33.35 personal best performance.

Fagan stayed on strongly up the home straight to pip Niamh Kearney (Raheny Shamrock AC) on the line (9:33.47). Defending champion Cheryl Nolan (St. Abbans AC) put up a gallant defence of her title to cross in third in 9:35.11.

Farranfore Maine Valley’s David Kenny picked up his 4th national indoor title in a row with a 19:30.10 performance in the men’s 5,000m walk.

Kate Veale (West Waterford AC) produced an outstanding 3,000m walk to claim her 7th indoor title in a row in a huge personal best of 12:27.84 which moved her to second on the all time list behind Gillian O’Sullivan’s national record of 11:35.34.

16-year-old Kara Morrissey (St. L. O’Toole AC) claimed gold in the women’s pole vault competition with a personal best performance of 3.15, completing the pole vault double this weekend for St Laurence O’Toole AC who also claimed the men’s competition with Matthew Callinan Keenan. Leading favourite Ellen McCartney entered her competition at 4 meters and unfortunately failed on three attempts.

Sophie Meredith (St. Marys Limerick AC) won gold in the long jump with a 6.05m best, while Reece Ademola (Leevale AC) continues his quest to break the illusive 8-meter mark with a best today of 7.82m which took gold.

Michaela Walsh (Swinford AC) picked up her seventh straight indoor shot put title on the trot with 15.03, while Andrew Cooper (Gowran AC) claimed his first with 14.53m.

Full results can be found HERE.

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