Track & Field

Barr and English the leading lights in memorable year for IUAA

As the new intervarsity season prepares to get under way, it seems as good a time as any to reflect on what a memorable 2015 it was,  a year when two of our leading lights, Thomas Barr and Mark English, took home medals from international competitions.

Thomas Barr with the clock showing his IUAA indoor 400m record

Thomas Barr with the clock showing his IUAA indoor 400m record

English, a medical student at UCD, backed up his 2014 season with a silver medal at the European Indoor Championships in Prague. Mark was not the only University student on show that week, though, with Dara Kervick (DCU) making the step up to senior international level with a brave run to make the semi-final of the 400m. Ciara Everard Of UCD as came an impressive sixth place in her 800m semi-final. John Travers of Athlone IT finished seventh in the 1500, while in the sand pit, Adam McMullen from UU finished 14th in the long jump.

Silver lining: Mark English after finishing second at the European Indoor Championships.

Silver lining: Mark English after finishing second at the European Indoor Championships.

To round off the events the Irish 4×400 men’s team finished sixth place with a quartet made up of an entire DCU selection: Dara Kervick, Timmy Crowe, Harry Purcell and Brandon Arrey.

The World University Games, of course, was the big highlight of the year, with Thomas Barr of the University of Limerick winning the gold medal over 400m hurdles in a time of 48.78, but  let’s also note some of our other star performers there.

Athletes such as Ciara Everard (University College Dublin), who placed a magnificent sixth in the 800m final in 2:02.46. Then there was John Travers (Athone IT), who finished eighth in the 1500m final, with a most inspirational run, in 3:42.63 . Kevin Batt (Adams State) finished ninth in 5000m Final in 14:28.74. Adam McMullan (University Ulster) jumped 7.61m for 10th in the long jump final. Not only were the IUAA very proud of all the athletes that competed, but this is boding well for the future of university athletics on the big stage.

We then had the 2015 World Outdoor Championships in Beijing, with again great university representation. Thomas Barr (UL) finished 11th overall in 48.71 which is off his best, but to come 11th on the world stage is something special, and he will build from here to hopefully make that final next year in Rio de Janeiro. Ireland also had a record-breaking 4x400m men’s team of Brian Gregan, Brian Murphy, Thomas Barr and Mark English (with Timmy Crowe as sub), who ran 3:01.26 for a new national record. Mark English finished fifth in his semi final of the men’s 800m in 1:45.55, a good run by the (UCD) athlete which placed him 10th overall, the highest of all Irish athletes on the track. Ciara Everard placed seventh in her heat in 2:03.98.

A wonderful year it was, with great athletes, fantastic performances, and we just can’t wait to get going and do it all again next year!

We can not forget every athelete that won medals in the Glo Health Irish Senior Championsips, of which there were many.

We at Irish University Athletics would like to wish the very best to all for the upcoming cross country season and on your very own Road To Rio.

By Michael Deady, IUAA Public Relations Officer.

Image: Athletics Ireland
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Cathal Dennehy

Cathal Dennehy

Cathal Dennehy is a freelance journalist, a once-serious, now-retired athlete who writes for a number of international publications in the running industry. He previously worked for the Sunday Tribune, Irish Runner magazine and has written for the Sunday Independent, Irish Independent, Irish Examiner and the Guardian. He is also a regular contributor to Runner's World.
His banter levels are often poor, occasionally exceptional.

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