Over 100 Irish Masters Athletes heading to Poland with high expectations of success.

February 22, 2024

The European Masters Athletics Indoors Championships takes place from 17th to 23rd March 2024 in Torun, Poland. With this being just around the corner, Run Republic reached out to Ronan Gately, Records Officer of the Irish Master Athletes Association, to learn more about Team Ireland.

'Ireland will be very well represented with 112 Masters athletes - the 7th largest team out of a total of 3,443 athletes from 38 countries.

'There will be 50 Women and 62 Men from Ireland split across the age categories, where Team Ireland will go with high expectations based on recent performances on the World and European stage where Ireland are consistently punching above their weight.

'These expectations are bolstered by the fact that there will be 2 current World Record Holders amongst the team (Avril Dillon DSD - W40 60m Hurdles and Brian Lynch North East Runners - M60 1500m) and 1 former World Record Holder (Joe Gough West Waterford - M65 800m and current European Record holder in M70 800m).

'The redoubtable Ann Woodlock (Donore Harriers) will compete in the over 85 age category in the 1500m and the 3000m. John McDermott (Sligo) will compete in the over 80 age category in the 60m Hurdles, 400m and Pentathlon and Jim O’Shea (Farranfore Maine Valley) will compete in the same category in the High Jump, Long Jump and Pentathlon.

'Martin McEvilly (Galway City Harriers) will compete in M75 category in the Cross-country and is in sparkling form having recently smashed the Irish 3000m Indoors record by 50 secs running 13.03.95.

'Sean McMullin (Mullingar) also goes in the M75 category in the 3000m Track Walk and 5000m Road Walk and also the Cross-country. He will be looking to add to his huge tally of 27 World and European medals won to date and 29 Irish records held.

'Annette Kealy (Raheny – W55) who is no stranger to the podium at European and World level (15 medals to date) will run in the 3000m and Cross-country.

'Rachel Akers (Ennis – W35) will compete in the Hammer, Discus and Weight Throw. She is an outstanding thrower and remains 9th on Senior Irish all-time list for Hammer (with a throw of 59.12m in 2007).

'It is wonderful to see the hugely talented and in-form Kieran Kelly (Raheny) represent Ireland for the 1st time at Masters level as he runs in the 1500m.

'In addition to the above athletes Ireland will be represented by a large number of former World and European medal winners who will have high hopes of more success including: Edel Maguire W60 – Clonliffe; Geraldine Finegan W55 – North East Runners; Carmel Crowley W55 – Bandon; John Corr – M50 – Leevale; Declan Toal – M50 – North East Runners; Snezana Bechtina W40 – Clonliffe; Sinead McConnell W55 – Finn Valley; Kay Byrne W60 – Finn Valley; Catherine O’Connor W45 – Sli Chulainn; Carol Kearney W55 – Lucan Harriers; Lucy Moore-Fox W65 – DSD; Mary Leech W45 – Drogheda & District; David Hayde – M55 – St Laurence O’Tooles; Mary Barrett W65 – Loughrea; Shane Sheridan M65 – DSD; Mick Priest M70 – Fr Murphy AC and Hugh McSweeney M75 – Eagle AC.

'A number of our strongest Masters athletes are unable to travel on this occasion but will no doubt be gearing up for the World Championships in Gothenburg, Sweden in August 2024 including: Annette Quaid, Carlton Haddock, Anne Gilshinan, Tommy Hughes, Ger Cremin, Mark O’Shea, Denise Toner, Kelly Neely, Pauline Moran, Zoe Quinn, Michael Kiely and Tommy Payne.'

Featured Image: Ronan Gately, Records Officer, Irish Master Athletes Association