Kerry O'Flaherty: Down woman returns to Letterkenny where she booked Rio berth

Kerry O'Flaherty
Kerry O'Flaherty showed improving form after injury in Hungary on Monday night

County Down woman Kerry O'Flaherty will return to the track where she produced the race of her life two years ago when she races in Letterkenny on Friday.

In 2015, steeplechaser O'Flaherty ran her personal best of 9:42.61 at the Letterkenny International which secured her Rio Olympics qualification.

The Letterkenny meeting has once again assembled a strong steeplechase field.

"There are a couple of girls who have run in the 9:30s so they are looking for a 9:30-9:35 pace," said O'Flaherty.

The Newcastle woman's first target will be to achieve Athletics Northern Ireland's Commonwealth Games consideration standard of 9:54.00.

After a calf muscle injury in May ruled O'Flaherty out of racing for a number of weeks, the 35-year-old struggled in three races on the continent after returning to action but she showed encouraging form in Hungary on Monday night when clocking 9:57.

"All my sessions when I came back were bang on but I think the calf muscle injury took a lot more out of me than I thought because I did feel terrible in my first three races, including one where I ran in 33 degrees in Huelva.

"But I felt more like myself in Hungary on Monday night and hopefully it will go well in Letterkenny."

O'Flaherty's fellow Olympic Michelle Finn will also be in the Letterkenny field with her aspiration likely to be getting close to the World Championship standard of 9:42.00.

Scottish athlete Lennie Waite is the fastest athlete in the field having clocked a lifetime best of 9:35.91 while Mel Lawrence (pb 9:36.35) is the quickest of a quartet of Americans in the field.

Spain's Maria Teresa Urbina is also likely to contend having set her personal best of 9:43.48 this season.

Ireland international Christine McMahon will have another opportunity to chase the Commonwealth Games 400m hurdles consideration standard of 57.30 seconds.

A large group of world-class overseas athletes will include Brazilian Bruno de Barros who will go in both the 100m and 200m while American Robert Domanic leads a list of nine sub four-minute milers who will go over the classic distance.

Domanic has a personal best of 3:54.73 while the race will also offer Letterkenny man Danny Mooney a chance to chase the Commonwealth Games consideration standard of 3:57.60.

Top Stories