100m specialists targeting Cork

Cork City Sports organisers are putting serious 100m talent together ahead of the live TG4 athletics extravaganza on July 18.

Facing off will be Pan-Am Games and World Indoors medallist Ramon Gittens of Barbados, the USA’s Pan-Am Junior champion Sean McLean and 19-year-old World Youth Olympics champion Sydney Siame of Zambia.

No sub-10-second 100m has ever been recorded in Ireland.

McLean has a lifetime best of 10.01, Gittens’ is 10.02, and though Zambian record holder Siame had been credited for three months with the second-fastest time in the world this year of 9.88 seconds, this has now been delisted by the IAAF due to inaccurate timing.

Siame’s best has been rolled back to 10.18 as a result, but the teen sprinter remains a strong prospect.

Phil Healy, John Travers, Sean Tobin, Eoin Everard, Sarah Lavin and Timmy Crowe are heading the Irish contingent at the CIT track.


The 9.88 no longer listed by the IAAF (Pic: Pierre-Jean Vazel)

Cork City Sports to be broadcast live on TG4

Cork City Sports will return to live television next month, when the legendary athletics meeting is broadcast live on TG4, to commence a multi-year deal.

For the event’s 66th running, July 18th this year will mark the first time in twelve years that the Cork City Sports will have aired on live television.

It will also be TG4’s first ever live athletics broadcast, having featured highlights of the All-Ireland Schools Track and Field Championships from 2004 to 2010. TG4’s athletics coverage resumed earlier this year with highlights of the AIT Indoor Grand Prix from Athlone.

European Championship bronze-medallist and World Championship qualifier Ciara Mageean will compete in the 800 metres against a strong international field from the United States, Jamaica, Canada, Britain, New Zealand and Trinidad and Tobago.

Also among the confirmed Irish names competing are Cork’s own national champion Phil Healy, whose international debut came in the European indoors in Belgrade last March; John Travers, who finished seventh in the 1500m at the 2015 European Indoors in Prague; European Junior silver medallist Sarah Lavin; plus Irish international athletes Timmy Crowe, long-jumper Adam McMullen and Craig Lynch.

Healy, Lavin, McMullen and Travers are all in the strong Irish squad named for the European Athletics Team Championships in Vaasa, Finland, in the run-up to the Cork City Sports.

Further Irish entrants will be announced closer to the meeting.


Top names competing from abroad are Olympic 400m hurdles bronze-medallist and twice World Championship silver-medallist Javier Culson of Puerto Rico, Pan-Am 100m champion D’Angelo Cherry of the United States, Ghanaian athletes Flings Owusu-Acheampong and Gemma Acheampong – with eight African Championship medals between them – while double Olympic finalist Collis Bermingham accompanies fellow Australian athletes Patrick Tiernan, Jordy Williamsz and reigning 5000m champion Sam McEntee.

Top British sprinter Dina Asher-Smith is also slated to compete.

Among the American entrants are 2015 Cork City Sports mile winner Will Geoghegan and IAAF World Relays champion Kyle Merber.

Germany’s European Championship fourth-placer Katrin Klaas competes in the hammer, with the high jump featuring Jamaican Olympian Jamal Wilson.

Many storied names of Cork athletics will be present on the night  including world champions Sonia O’Sullivan, Marcus O’Sullivan and Derval O’Rourke.

Cork City Sports chairman Tony O’Connell said: “This is a big boost for the Cork City Sports in its 66th year. We feel that live television coverage both home and abroad is vital to bring our great meeting to the next level.”

Meet director Joe Hartnett stated: “Going back to the days of Steve Ovett and Yuri Sedykh in the 80s, and Sonia O’Sullivan in the 90s and 00s, the Cork City Sports has always been a highlight of the Cork sporting summer and the Irish athletics summer. Now we hope to find a whole new audience. By becoming higher-profile, we hope to attract many more quality names to Cork City.”

Donal Murnane, Cork City Sports PRO commented: “We are thrilled to be going live on TG4. The channel’s sports coverage is very highly-regarded and we look forward to the Cork City Sports becoming a staple of their live output.”

TG4 head of sport Rónán Ó Coisdealbha said: “TG4 are delighted to commit to this coverage of the Cork City Sports. As a supporter of all sports we believe it is paramount for headline athletics event to be available free-to-air. Athletics has provided some major good news stories for Irish sport down through the years, and in recent years via the medal exploits of Thomas Barr, Ciara Mageean, Mark English, Fionnuala McCormack and Rob Heffernan, and we hope to see more of them in future on TG4.”

TG4’s broadcast will run from 7:20pm to 9pm on Tuesday, July 18th, with commentary from Con Murphy and Dick Hooper, with Mark Rodden reporting.

Coverage will also be available online worldwide via the TG4 Player.

AIT Grand Prix and FAI Junior Cup on TG4 this weekend

The recent AIT International Grand Prix athletics meeting in Athlone will air on TG4 this coming Friday night, March 24th, at 7:30pm, while the FAI Junior Cup quarter-finals will go out on the same channel the following Sunday at 1:30pm.

Another full-house packed into the impressive indoor arena at Athlone Institute of Technology to witness the fourth running of Ireland’s premier indoor athletics event, featuring former world and Olympic sprint hurdles champion Sally Pearson, 800m World Championship silver-medallist Melissa Bishop, Morton Games winner and Olympic finalist Ryan Gregson, and one of the fastest women in the world this year over 60 metres, Christina Manning.

European Championship bronze-medallist from last summer, Ciara Mageean, ace sprinter Phil Healy, European Championship 4th-placer Paul Robinson and Euro Indoors veteran John Travers were the biggest Irish names competing.

Despite there being no live coverage on Irish television this year – it aired live in previous years on the now defunct IrishTV – the AIT Grand Prix still went out live in five European countries on Fox Sports TV, alongside a live stream, plus highlights in Ireland on eirSport, in the UK on Premier Sports, in the Netherlands and Italy on their respective Fox Sports channels, and in 25 countries across Africa on Fox Sports Africa.

Next Friday night’s broadcast marks a return to athletics coverage for TG4 after last airing the Irish Schools Track and Field in 2010, and is the first Irish Grand Prix meeting in twelve years to be broadcast on one of the “big four” terrestrial channels, after the 2005 Cork City Sports.


Mark Rodden interviewing D’Angelo Cherry during the 2017 AIT Grand Prix, airing on TG4 this Friday night

Commentary will come from the usual independent television athletics team of Will Downing, Jessie Barr and Dick Hooper, with reporting from Mark Rodden of Eurosport, who will also be fronting the FAI Junior Cup highlights programme on TG4 on Sunday March 26 at 1:30pm.

Coverage will consist of all four quarter-finals – Killarney Celtic v Janesboro, Peake Villa v Sheriff YC, Carrick United v Boyle Celtic and Evergreen v Kilmallock United.

Junior Cup Snow 2It was Killarney’s first quarter-final in 25 years, in a competition where no Kerry team has ever reached the semis.
Likewise, Evergreen had not played in a quarter-final since 1999, and it was Boyle Celtic’s first time reaching the final eight of Europe’s largest knockout soccer competition.

TV Times –

AIT Grand Prix athletics – Friday 24 March, 7:30pm (TG4)
FAI Junior Cup quarter-finals  – Sunday 26 March, 1:30pm (TG4)