Teenage sensation Sarah in record-breaking form

by Stephen Findlater
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BLACKROCK AC’S Sarah Healy provided the performance of the Irish Life Health National Indoor Championships when she smashed both the Irish Under-20 and Youth 3,000m records.

It was the teenager – who has just turned 17 – win her her first national senior title in 9.10.43 at the Sport Ireland National Indoor Arena in Abbotstown last Satuday.

Healy was simply outstanding as she left Rio 2016 Olympian Kerry O’Flaherty (Newcastle) firmly in her wake. A rare talent was on display and the Blackrock teenager surpassed the Under-20 record of 9.28.67, previously held by Rose Anne Galligan, and the Youth record of 9.35.1 of Amy Rose Farrell.

Reacting to the news, Healy said she “was really surprised” before adding that she “didn’t think it was that fast”.

O’Flaherty led the first kilometre in roughly 3.10 and then Healy took over, winding it up sublimely to 3.05 and finishing off with a swift 2.55 final kilometre for a comprehensive victory.

“I wasn’t thinking about records and I didn’t really know what was going to happen so it was just about running fast. I felt good following Kerry at the start and thought I could give it a go. Hopefully, I have plenty more senior championships ahead of me!”

Meghan Ryan (DSD) got up for bronze in 9.43.35. She has been one of the most consistent team performers for DSD over the past ten years, on track and cross-country, winning many team medals at national level.

The smile on her face as she sprinted to a bronze individual medal showed how much it meant to her to be on the medal podium. She is now focused on the outdoor season with renewed vigour, as she seeks that elusive gold but will have her hands full with rising star Healy.

Elsewhere, on the first day of action, Mid-Sutton’s Sarah McCarthy bagged the women’s national long jump title with a leap of 5.90m.

On day two, it was a bittersweet day for Crusaders Adam McMullen who was supreme in the men’s long jump winning with a monster jump of 7.99m, It was a mere centimetre off the magical 8m mark and the national indoor record of Ciaran McDonagh.

Phil Healy took a commanding victory in the women’s 400m in 53.10 which was another world indoor standard with Catherine McManus (Dublin City Harriers) running another personal best in second in 53.81. DSD’s Sinead Denny took third in 54.31.

Andrew Mellon, another Crusaders AC man, impressed in the men’s 400m to win in 47.32.

His club mate Matthew Behan also caused a stir in the men’s 60m hurdles to win his first national senior title in a big personal best of 7.84 seconds ahead of the fancied Ben Reynolds (North Down AC) in second in 7.88. Shane Aston (Trim AC) took third in 8.33.

Donore Harriers’ John Travers has been building on his tactical acumen and he won the 3,000m in 8.25.21 from defending champion Eoin Everard (Kilkenny City Harriers) in 8.25.74.

He sat in third at the 200m bell and sprinted past his rivals with 150m to go for a hard-fought victory.

A great walking performance at 5,000m by DSD’s Jerome Caprice saw him pick up bronze, in a time of 20.39.24. He will represent Mauritius in the upcoming Commonwealth Games.

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