Ciara Mageean impresses in 800m victory at Northern Ireland Championships

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Ciara Mageean won the 800m race at the Northern Ireland Championships

Ciara Mageean demonstrated her impressive early-season form again as she earned an 800m victory at a wet Northern Ireland Championships.

Mageean, the only Olympic Games qualifier in action at the Mary Peters Track meeting, clocked 2:02.84 as she finished well ahead of Kelly Neely.

The UCD student's time will be classified as a personal best.

She clocked 2:02.31 for the distance in 2011 but that came in a mixed race in an Irish Milers Club meet in Belfast.

Mageean's official previous personal best was her time of 2:02.98 set last year and she was 0.14 inside that despite Sunday's damp conditions.

The Portaferry woman, 24, went to the bell in 60.12 seconds on Sunday as Neely bravely followed her and better conditions could well have seen Mageean improving Amanda Crowe's 18-year-old Northern Ireland record of 2:01.83.

Mageean's last outing three weeks ago saw her producing an impressive competitive season's opener as she clocked 4:08.05 to win over 1500m in Belgium.

The Northern Irishwoman's Olympic build-up will include competing at the European Championships in three weeks.

Mageean's current form suggests that she could a medal contender in the 1500m in Amsterdam.

With the likes of Kerry O'Flaherty, Paul Pollock, Christine McMahon, Jason Smyth and Amy Foster all absent from Sunday's championships, it was a low-key meeting with the awful weather conditions not helping the sense of occasion.

2014 Commonwealth Games 800m semi-finalist Katie Kirk's disappointing season continued as she could only finish third in the 400m, with Monaghan athlete Niamh Malone winning in 57.31.

The conditions scuppered long jumper Adam McMullen's hopes of achieving the European Championship standard as he won with a mark of 7.50m.

South Derry man McMullen has improved his personal best to 7.84m this year and needs to achieve 7.95m to book his place in Amsterdam.

City of Derry's Conor Bradley won the men's 1500m in 3:57.13 which left him ahead of Letterkenny's Danny Mooney and Ballymena & Antrim's Gareth Hill while Donore's John Travers travelled north to take the 800m title in 1:56.03.

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