BY KIERAN McCARTHY
IT hasn’t been the ideal build-up to the national senior indoor championships for the Healy sisters, but Phil and Joan are hopeful they can make an impact at the Sport Ireland National Indoor Arena this weekend.
Reigning 400m Irish indoor champion Phil will look to defend her title, but she hasn’t raced yet this season and admits she is six weeks behind where she would ideally be after hitting a bump in her winter training block at the end of last year.
‘Am I in the position that I would like to be in? No, but you have to accept that, and it’s coming around slowly. I am missing that extra bit of sharpness work, but it is what it is,’ Healy says, but the Ballineen woman has the talent and determination to put herself in the mix on Sunday. The 15-time senior national champion, who has racked up seven Irish indoor titles, will travel without huge expectation, given this will be her first race of the year. The European Indoors at the start of March is still her target, and she already has the qualifying standard for the 400m from last year, while the 4x400m relay is also an option.
Meanwhile, Joan Healy will be in action in the women’s 60m on Sunday, hoping to pull out the big performance she has been working towards. Her best performance this season was a 7.35 at the end of January, still outside her PB of 7.31, and also outside the European Indoor Athletics Championships 60-metre qualifying standard of 7.24. All the pieces of the jigsaw are there, she feels, including the speed, and now she needs to put all those pieces together and find her rhythm.
Also, Glengarriff’s Darragh McElhinney, fresh from setting two new PBs already this month (indoor 3000m and 5000m in Boston) will defend his Irish men’s 3000m indoor title that he won last year. That was his first-ever Irish senior indoor crown.
Last weekend in the USA Newcestown teenager Jane Buckley, a freshman at Providence College in Rhode Island, produced a huge new indoor 3000m PB of 9:06.44.