After a six year absence from the track Gareth Turnbull made a winning return in the 800 metres clocking in 1.53.87 with Ailish McSweeney also showing fine sprinting form as she clocked an impressive 11.75 to win the womens 100 at the Dublin Graded Meeting in Irishtown Stadium.
The early afternoon temperatures of the mid 20’s were replaced by a cooling breeze blowing up from Dublin Bay as up to 200 athletes gathered for the fourth meeting in the series organized by Dublin Board.
Raheny,s Feidhlim Kelly fresh from a 100 metres victory in a new p.b. of 11.85 took the field though the opening lap in 54 seconds with Andrew Connick and Micheal Dowling leading the chasing bunch with Turnbull hanging in the middle of the filed. 600 metres was reached in 82.5 s and it looked like Connick and Dowling might prove best but the strong running Belfast man was looming large as they moved around the final turn and the lack of racing has not dimmed his trade mark home straight surge as Gareth moved ahead to win in 1.53.57 with the Sliabh Buidhe man Connick second and Michael Dowling running faster tha before in third spot. No fewer than 10 p.b.’s achieved in the two development races on the programme including John Travers who moved down in distance to record a 1.56.36.
“It is nice to be back “was Gareth Turnbull’s post race comment “and I hope to finish the season healthy” was how he described his season’s ambitions.
Other impressive winners of the ten 800 metres races were Ferrybank’s Patrick Flynn who won with an impressive home straight surge in 1.55.83 and DSD’s Eoin Healy who won his race in 1.57.50.
Another athlete happy to be back was Raheny’s Siobhan Eviston who front ran her way to an impressive 2.12.72 just outside her best. Out of action for the best part of three years, through injury, on the evidence of this performance her progress throughout the remainder of the season will be interesting.
National 100 metres Champion Ailis McSweeney was quickly out of the block which was reflected in her winning time of 11.75. “I am quite happy but Barcelona qualification is my aim “ was how she summed up her run. With quite a few athletes hovering around the 11.6/11.7 mark the National Womens 100 should be very interesting.
Joe Sweeney continued his winning ways as he won the 3000 in 8.10.62. His steady 65 second tempo left him well clear of the field from early on and he was quite pleased as he said after the race “ I really did not ease down for this. A 13m50 5000 in a few weeks time is my target”
Clonliffe’s David Donegan won the Pole Vault with a 4.80 clearance. His clubmate Ian Rodgers cleared 4.70 and narrowly failed at 4.80 as he went in search of a new National Junior Record. Stuart Greene cleared 4.60 in third spot. These athletes are part of an enthusiastic group of vaulters who compete at most of the graded meetings in stark contrast to throwers and jumpers who seem to be in short supply despite the much vaunted coaching sessions that appear to have taken place.