Fins’ flyer in sprint squad

by Karl Graham

FINGALLIANS AC star Sarah Murray has been included in Ireland’s 4x100m women’s team for the European Athletics Championships taking place in Amsterdam in July.
The 22-year-old joins Catherine McManus, Joan Healy, Niamh Whelan, and Phil Healy on the relay team that hopes to leave its mark on Europe.
Speaking to the Gazette, Murray described how delighted she is to be picked to represent her country for the first time at senior level.
“It’s my first time to represent Ireland at senior level in a big championship so I’m delighted. We had to be in the top 16 in Europe to qualify so we were racing away in Geneva and Belgium over the last few weeks to try and stay in the top 16.
Murray has pulled on the green vest for Ireland at junior level but this pales into insignificance compared to doing it at the highest level.
“I’ve represented Ireland before on junior teams but this will be the first time at senior level so to be officially named on the team going away to represent Ireland is great,” said Murray.
“At the moment we are ranked 13th in Europe and we have to improve our time by about half a second to get into the final but you never what could happen,” said Murray.
Starting out with her local community games at Under-10 level before joining the Fingallians Athletic Club, Murray didn’t grow up idolising previous Irish stars such as Sonia O’Sullivan like many other young athletes, she instead credits her long time coach Joe Evans for inspiring her.
Evans, however, is modest about his impact, praising the work done by Murray at youth level with Damian Wall to lay a perfect platform for her progress.
He took on the role of main coach when she was 13 and works with her in tandem with Dolores Evans and Grainne McCall who help with core work while John Stacey provides sports science support.
Evans says “it is a very special moment for the club” adding that Murray is “going to improve even more next year. She has the dedication and the internal motivation”.
She joins a rare group of athletes to be selected for this elite level of competition. In so doing, she follows in the footsteps of the Swords’ club’s Mark Howard who represented them on the European stage at Under-23 level, winning a bronze medal in the 200m in 2000.
Fiona Tuite and Ann-Marie Torsney have both represented the club at youth level on the international stage.
Murray’s career is still in its infancy but she hopes this July will not be the one and only time she gets to represent her country. “I hope this isn’t the only time I’ll represent Ireland at senior level, on a relay team or individually.”
And Evans believes she will push on, saying the target for 2016 was simply to get in the senior squad with hopes to be there as an individual in the pipeline for 2017.

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