Belfast Irish Milers Club Meet 2021 (29th May)
European Under 20 Standard for Eoin Quinn
As Northern Ireland is a bit further down the road to post-Covid normality, there was no limit on spectators at the Mary Peters Track on Saturday 29th May for the Belfast Irish Milers Club Meet. Spectators always add to the atmosphere of an event and as Ireland starts to reopen more and more in the coming weeks and months, it’s something we can look forward to again at events nearer to home. Conditions on the day were perfect for running, sunny and warm, which really added to the enjoyment of the event and definitely brought the very best out of all the Mullingar athletes, particularly Eoin Quinn in the 800m.
The day began with the junior races and Mullingar athletes were very much to the fore. The Junior Girls 1,000m included five girls from Mullingar Harriers. It’s been over a year since these girls last raced, so they were bound to be feeling rusty but despite this, they really stepped up to the challenge and put in terrific performances, led home by Leah Geoghegan finishing fast in 2nd place, followed closely by Grace Byrne (4th), Adele Geoghegan (7th), Caoimhe Byrne and Caoimhe Donohue. In the Junior Boys 1,000m, Jamie Wallace took the lead from the start and set a good strong pace, with Conor Sherwin and Conor Liston following close behind. With 250m to go, Jamie was passed but kept running hard to the finish to place 4th, followed by Conor Sherwin (6th), just ahead of Conor Liston (7th). Now that our juvenile athletes have had their first race in a very long time, judging on these fine performances, they can look forward with great confidence to their next racing opportunities.
Moving to the senior programme, Charles Okafor had his first race since last September, running in the 100m against some of the best senior sprinters in Ireland. Charles was unfazed by the quality of the opposition, powering from the start and despite finishing down the field, was happy to run 11.10 seconds, the fastest he has run in the first race of a season, which augers very well for the season ahead.
The Club’s middle distance athletes were out in force and it was a memorable occasion for most, with personal bests the order of the day. For Eoin Quinn it was a real breakthrough. Eoin finished 2nd in his 800m race in a time of 1:50.45, an outstanding time for an u/20 athlete. He ran a very confident race and was in the leading group from the start and actually took the lead on the home straight before having to settle for second place in a dash for the finish line. Eoin was rewarded with a PB and this was inside the qualification standard for the upcoming European u/20 T&F Championships. Eoin will be looking to repeat this level of performance over the coming weeks in an attempt to secure selection on the Irish team.
In the 5,000m races, Euan Lagan was first into action. Making the most of the favourable weather conditions, Euan finished strongly in 6th place in his heat in a time of 15:41.52. This was an improvement of over 35 seconds on his previous best time. In the women’s 5,000m race, Claire Fagan was always prominent and finished strongly to secure 3rd place in a time of 16:49.10. This was marginally outside her PB, which she recorded at the same venue three weeks ago, but was another very strong performance.
The 1,500m races saw three of our juvenile members step up and compete in senior competition. Last week Colin Smith broke 4 minutes for 1,500m for the first time and he was determined to build on that performance. Colin was always in contention and finished 6th in his race in a fantastic time of 3:53.86. This is a huge improvement for Colin and now establishes him as one of the leading middle distance athletes in Ireland in his age group.
Diarmuid Fagan also had a fine run to finish in 8th place in his heat with a PB of 4:04.13. This was also his second PB in the space of a week and further evidence of his development as an athlete with great potential. Ross Killalea ran a very patient and well controlled race to improve his best time by a huge margin of 12 seconds finishing in a time of 4:10.20. Ross can be very satisfied with this time, as he is one of the most improved young athletes around.
In the final event of the day, Cormac Dalton took part in the 1,500m A race. Cormac is better known as a 5,000m and 10,000m athlete but his current form is such that he is comfortable over shorter distances too. Cormac finished in an excellent 2nd place in the race and recorded a PB by 9 seconds with a time of 3:46.50. This was a very good confidence boost for Cormac, as he competes in the European 10,000m Cup in Birmingham, England on coming Saturday 5th June. It was a fitting end to a really strong series of performances from Mullingar Harriers athletes.