Slick organization and a competitive edge to most of the races made for a highly successful Irish Milers’ Club Belfast Meeting hosted by Beechmount Harriers at the Mary Peters Track. The world’s fastest Paralympian Jason Smyth impressed in two 100 metres races designed to hone his sharpness as he prepares for the defence of that title in London next month.
The Derry Track Club athlete stretched his legs in a warm-up race as he strode out to a 10.76 seconds clocking. He improved on that later in the afternoon as he turned up the gas to register a 10.70 mark. Dubliner Catherine McManus was equally impressive with a victory in the women’s 100m in a legal 11.84 before completing a double in the 200m with a windy 23.95 timing.
Letterkenny’s Daniel Mooney was the impressive winner of the 1500m A race but fell well short of a Commonwealth Games consideration standard with a 3:45.49 mark. While Mooney used bold front-running tactics despite the blustery conditions, Blackrock’s 16-year-old Sarah Healy waited until the final straight in the women’s metric mile to snatch victory in a personal best 4:20.84.
Raheny Shamrock stalwart Conor Dooney was a class apart in the men’s 3000m in 8:16.90 and Blarney’s Brandon Arrey produced a superb final straight to win a very competitive 400m in 47.57 seconds.
Another to strike late was Emerald’s Amy O’Donaghue in the 800m, running down UCD’s Alana Lally in the last few metres of the 800m in 2:06.32. The Galway girl was not too disappointed at the defeat when she learned her 2:06.43 was a European U23 qualifying mark.
Like the best of meet directors Eamonn Christie saved arguably his best wine to last in the men’s 800m A race. The Fitzsimons family settled in Dublin, Meath and Westmeath as long ago as the 14th century. Two of their descendants came north on Saturday to provide a rousing finale to the meeting as Mullingar’s Shane overcame distant Kildare cousin Alan with a sharp 1:50.33 timing.
Other DTC athletes were also in top form. Cathal McLaughlin marked his debut in the M50 age group by missing the Irish record by less than a second with a 2:04.74 clocking in the 800m.
Marty Cox continued to improve in the 800m. He fell just short of two minutes with a 2:00.60 mark which puts him in the top six M35s in the UK for the distance.
Conor McIlveen moved closer to Commonwealth Games selection in the T38 100m with legal 13.03 and 13.15 marks. Sean McIntyre got under 4:30 for the first time with a 4:29.14 clocking.
Conán McCaughey showed some residual fatigue from two tough road races in the previous 10 days but battled to a respectable 8:48.20 timing.