Cork City Sports Still a Class Event after 70 Years

July 10, 2024

by Perri Williams

The Cork City Sports celebrated its 70th running of the event last night in what was an exhibition of talent and organizational ability. National records were broken, personal and seasons best obtained along with some new meet records. Cork’s elite athletes were loyal in their support for the event, showcasing their talent in front of a delighted home crowd.

The ladies hammer was a world class event with the current world number one (Brook Anderson) and number four (Janee Kassanavoid) from the USA taking part. On what was not the most ideal night for hammer throwing with the wind resisting the throwers, American and world number one Anderson threw 73.10 to take victory in a new meet record. Second was Janee Kassanavoid (2023 World Silver medalist) and third Ireland’s Olympic bound Nicola Tuthill (UCD). This was Tuthill’s Cork City Sports debut. “As a kid, I came up every year. To be able to come out here as a competitor and to be able to get on the podium against such a strong field is amazing,” she reported after the event. Anderson, with a personal best of 80.17 fouled her three throws in the USA trials thus the world number one will not be representing the USA in Paris, instead Cork got to see her in action.

In the 200m Phil Healy ran a season’s best of 23.34 to finish 5th in a new season’s best. Sophie Becker finished 6th in a personal best of 23.51. The event was won by Australia’s Torrie Lewis in 23.01. Lewis is the current Oceanic 200m champion. Mark Smyth (Raheny Shamrocks) won the men’s Heat 1 200m in a new personal best, with a legal wind reading.

Sarah Lavin recorded yet another 100m Hurdles victory when going under the 13 second barrier for the eleventh consecutive time. While Lavin would of course like to record a personal best in front of the home crowd, her time of 12.83 was achieved in sub optimal conditions. The Limerick native can now move onto Paris with confidence in her season’s performances.

The 800m was a very close affair with the final 60m being the race decider. Louise Shanahan (Leevale), McKenna Keegan (USA) and Sharne Swart (South Africa) battled for 800m gold with Shanahan ceding to Keegan on the line. The cork woman spent the next hour sighing autographs for delighted fans. The men’s 800m had a dramatic finish with Edmund Du Plessis (South Africa) falling across the line to clinch victory by one tenth of a second from Josh Hoey (USA).

The affable Reece Ademola delighted the home crowd with his series of superb jumps. He was the only Cork winner on the night. If popularity can be judged from the roars of the crowd – Reece is right up there.

The 3000m was a closely contested affair with a leading group of eight athletes in contention for gold with 400m to go. An American charge was mounted with Olin Hacker and Kasey Knevelbaard down the back straight. Ireland’s Nick Griggs dug deep over the final 80m to finish second to Hacker. Griggs time of 7.14:68 was a new u23 Irish record surpassing the old mark by Daragh McIlhenny.

The final event of the night – the one mile was one of the best track races on the night. Twelve men recorded a sub-4-minute mile. Renowned sub-four-minute mile statistician AAI president John Cronin stated, “Henry McLuckie is the 400th person to break the sub-four-minute mile on Irish soil”. There was a first too for Cork’s Charlie O’Donovan as also recorded his first Irish sub four performance. The winner was American Nathan Green with Ireland’s Cathal Doyle in second place. Doyle is a great racer who has a plethora of top two performances over 1500m / mile this year.

Past World Championship winner Sonia O’Sullivan and Frank O’Meara were in attendance – both past participants of the Cork City Sports.

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