Irish Masters Athletes Prepare to Shine at European Championships in Poland

March 14, 2024

The European Masters Athletics Indoor Championships takes place from March 17th to 23rd, 2024, in Torun, Poland. Over 3,400 athletes from 38 countries will be participating, and among the formidable contenders, Ireland stands out with a robust team of 108 athletes, comprising 47 women and 61 men, ready to leave their mark on the competition.

Led by their stellar performances on both the World and European stages, Team Ireland carries high expectations as they head to Torun. Notably, Brian Lynch from North East Runners, holder of the current M60 1500m World Record, and Joe Gough from West Waterford, former World Record Holder in M65 800m and current European Record holder in M70 800m, spearhead the team's aspirations. Although Avril Dillon, current W40 60m Hurdles World Record holder, won't be present, the Irish contingent remains formidable.

Among the standout athletes representing Ireland is the remarkable Ann Woodlock from Donore Harriers, set to compete in the over 85 age category in both the 1500m and 3000m events. John McDermott from Sligo and Jim O’Shea from Farranfore Maine Valley, both competing in the over 80 age category across various disciplines, bring years of experience and expertise to the team.

Martin McEvilly from Galway City Harriers, fresh from breaking the Irish 3000m Indoors record, aims to continue his stellar form in the M75 category. Sean McMullin from Mullingar, boasting an impressive tally of 27 World and European medals and 29 Irish records, sets his sights on adding to his remarkable achievements in the M75 category.

Annette Kealy from Raheny, a seasoned podium finisher at European and World levels, brings her expertise to the 3000m and Cross-country events in the W55 category. Meanwhile, Rachel Akers from Ennis showcases her prowess in throwing events, aiming for success in the Hammer, Discus, and Weight Throw disciplines.

A notable addition to the Irish team is Kieran Kelly from Raheny, making his debut at Masters level as he competes in the 1500m event. Additionally, a host of former World and European medalists, including Edel Maguire, Geraldine Finegan, and Snezana Bechtina, among others, are poised to continue their legacy of excellence at the championships.

Furthermore, the Mens 70 age category 4x200m Sprint Relay team also are another strong contender for a podium finish.

Although some of Ireland's strongest Masters athletes are unable to compete in this edition, anticipation builds for the upcoming World Championships in Gothenburg, Sweden, in August 2024. Despite their absence, athletes like Avril Dillon and Tommy Hughes, among others, are gearing up to make their mark on the global stage.

As Team Ireland prepares to showcase their talent and determination in Torun, Poland, the European Masters Athletics Indoor Championships promises to be a thrilling spectacle, where age is no barrier to the pursuit of sporting excellence.

Featured Image: Ronan Gately