BY KIERAN McCARTHY
PHIL Healy will lead the West Cork charge at the 2016 GloHealth senior indoor national championships this weekend.
The Ballineen sprinter is one of four Bandon Athletic Club members that will fight it out for national titles this Saturday and Sunday in Athlone. Her older sister Joan (60m), Ronan Duggan (800m) and Mark O’Sullivan (3,000m) are also in action.
Phil Healy will compete in the 200m, and possibly the 60m, depending on the race schedules. If she does race in the 60m, Irish athlete Phil (21) – who has represented Ireland at the European Championships and the World Relay Championships – will be up against her sister Joan (23), who is back on track after three injury-disrupted seasons.
Phil has been in good form over the last few weeks, running a PB of 23.74 in the indoor 200m and an U23 national record 7.35 (and another PB) in the indoor 60m. Her sister Joan ran a PB of 7.41 in the same race.
Phil also won the 200m at the Universities Indoor Championships in Athlone as well as competing in the AIT Grand Prix last week against top international athletes. She won her heat of the 60m in 7.40 and, after a bad start in the final, finished fourth in 7.37 – the race was won by American sprinter Barbara Pierre (with a PB of 7.09), who is ranked fourth in the world this year.
This is the last competition of the indoor season and Phil will head back into a block of hard training before flying to Spain at the end of March for a two-week warm-weather training camp with the European Championships in Amsterdam being the big target.
Meanwhile, her older sister Joan, an Irish and PE secondary school teacher, is hoping that Lady Luck shines on her this season after an injury-ravaged last few years,
‘At the beginning of my 2013 season, I suffered some bad injuries that slowed down progress until it finally stopped me from competing for three years,’ explained Joan, who represented Ireland in the 100m at the 2008 World Junior Championships in Poland.
‘This is my first year back since my injuries, with my new coach Alan Mahony, and I’ve already exceeded my expectations for this indoor season, considering the length of time I have been away from the sport due to injury. Two weeks ago I ran a huge lifetime best in the 60m in Athlone with 7.41 so I’m hoping to dip into the 7.3s this weekend at the national seniors.’
Joan previously won a bronze medal at the European Youth Olympic Festival in 2009.