Gerard O’Donnell And Cian McPhillips Aim For European Standard

Gerard O’Donnell and Cian McPhillips will have one chance to book a place at the European Indoor championships this weekend.

60m hurdler O’Donnell (Carrick-on-Shannon) and 800m runner McPhilips (Longford) both take part in the Irish Life Health Elite Athlete Indoor Micro Meet at the national indoor arena this Saturday.

With Covid-19 restrictions preventing the National Indoor championships taking place, Athletics Ireland received special permission for the first athletics event in the country since October, allowing athlete’s a chance to qualify for next month’s European indoor championships in Poland.

The event is limited and invite only to elite athletes with O’Donnell’s only competitor Matthew Behan in the 60 metre hurdles which will see two races an hour apart as both hurdlers target a qualifying time of 7.80 seconds.

McPhillips is looking to make his first appearance in a senior Irish international singlet, he competes in the 800 metres and faces stiff competition from 2019 European indoor bronze medallist Donegal’s Mark English.

McPhillips will also face 2017 European junior bronze medallist Kildare’s John Fitzsimons and Conor Duncan of Raoath. McPhilips will need to hit the qualifying standard of one minute 48.25 seconds.

The 2021 European indoor championships take place in Torun Poland from March 5-7.