BY KIERAN McCARTHY
RISING young Irish athletics star Darragh McElhinney will hope to secure his place at this summer’s European Junior Championships when he races at the prestigious IFAM (International Flanders Athletics Meeting) meet in Oordegem, Belgium this Saturday.
The current Celtic Ross West Cork Youth Sports Star is bidding to qualify in the 1500m for the European championships, and to book his place there Darragh needs to achieve the qualifying standard twice. In his opening track season race at the recent British Milers Club Grand Prix meet in Solihull, Birmingham, the Glengarriff teenager (16) ran a new 1500m PB of 3:49.32, five seconds faster than his previous best. This run equated to a 4:06 mile, explained his coach Steven Macklin. The European junior 1500m qualifying standard is 3:52.00 so Darragh was well inside that. If he can repeat his performance from Birmingham at Oordegem, he has every chance of qualifying for the Europeans in July.
The Coláiste Pobail Bheanntraí student is currently ranked second over 1500m in Europe U18s, just behind Norway’s Jakob Ingebrigtsen.
Darragh warmed up for this weekend in style when he won the intermediate boys’ 1500m at the Munster Schools T&F Championships at CIT last Saturday, running a 55-second last lap to finish a comfortable winner in 4:39.63, six seconds clear of second place. (Read story below)