Mark English made the standard for the European Athletics Indoor Championships and reclaimed his national indoor 800m title over the weekend.
The Letterkenny native beat the 1:48.50 qualifying time required for participation in next month’s 800m in Prague, Czech Republic, with 1:47.17 for a sixth place finish at the Sainsbury’s Indoor Grand Prix in Birmingham on Saturday.
Then, on Sunday, the 21-year-old won a cagey 800m final the GloHealth Senior Indoor Championships at Athlone Institute of Technology International Arena, adding to his victories in 2011 and 2013.
English, in the colours of UCD, clocked 1:51.34 to overcome Declan Murray of Clonliffe Harriers and Ferrybank AC in Waterford’s Niall Tuohy.
“Both lads ran excellent races,” English said afterwards. “To beat the two of them, for me, is a good indication going out to the Europeans in Prague.
“The weekend indicates that I can put a race back to back. I’m well practised in that over the last year or two.
“Hopefully I’ll get two or three tough sessions this week and then taper towards the Europeans. I’m really excited about getting out there.”
The other Donegal success story was a familiar one as Mary McLoone from Tir Chonaill AC won the triple jump. Her 12.10 metres was enough to seal a 10th gold at the national indoors.
McLoone, from Lettermacaward, was long jump champion in 2005 and triple jump winner in 2000 and 2005 and then from 2008 right through to 2013.
In the 5k walk, Milford’s Brendan Boyce was second with 20:33.58 behind Alex White from Leevale AC on 19:52.36.
Tir Chonaill AC’s Conall Mahon, who is from Irvinestown, Co Fermanagh, took third and bronze in the men’s triple jump with 14.08 metres.
St Johnston native John Kelly took home a silver medal in the shot putt behind Sean Breathnach from Galway Harriers AC. The 20-year-old Letterkenny IT student Kelly’s best was 15.97 metres.
Former Letterkenny AC member Maria McCambridge, who is now representing Dundrum South Dublin AC, won the women’s 3,000m in 9:26.77.
Gerard O’Donnell from Carrick-on-Shannon AC lived up to his favourites’ billing to claim the 60m hurdles title.
Despite clipping the first couple of hurdles O’Donnell powered to victory in a time of 8.32 seconds.
O’Donnell, who achieved the European standard of 7.79 seconds - running 7.73 seconds - the week before last, is the son of the Mary Gildea of Crumlin, Ardara, and the late Peter O’Donnell from Leac Chonaill, Ardara, and has wider family connections in the Kilcar and Donegal Town areas.