Leon Reid: Commonwealth medallist holds off Marcus Lawler in Irish 200m final

Leon Reid also narrowly beat Marcus Lawler in last year's 200m final at the Irish Championships
Leon Reid won his battle with his big Irish rival Marcus Lawler in Sunday's 200m final at Santry

Leon Reid held off Marcus Lawler to retain his 200m title at the Irish Championships at Santry as Ciara Mageean was also among the winners.

Reid, 25, producing a strong closing 100m metres to win in a season's best of 20.62 seconds as he finished 0.06 ahead of his domestic rival.

Rathfarnham's Stephen Gaffney, who ran a stunning 20.39 in Belgium recently, was a distant third in 21.18 seconds.

Reid's form should encourage him after a relatively slow start to his season.

The Northern Ireland Commonwealth Games medallist's impressive 2018 form - which also included him reaching the European Championship final - led to him earning invites to the early-season Diamond League meetings in Doha, Rome and Rabat.

His fastest time in those three meets was a rather pedestrian 20.83 in Rome but with year's World Championships happening unusually late in the final week in September and early October, training will have been geared towards being in peak form in the autumn.

While Reid did clock a time of 20.68 for Birchfield Harriers in the European Clubs event in May, Lawler went into the championships with a faster season's best of 20.55.

However, Reid produced a statement of intent by clocking a wind-assisted 20.63 as he was fastest qualifier on Saturday and he maintained that edge over Lawler by reeling in the Carlow man over the closing stages in the final.

Ciara Mageean in on the shoulder of eventual fourth placer Claire Mooney in the women's 800m final
Ciara Mageean won a third successive Irish 800m title

Mageean wins third straight 800m title

Reid's fellow Northern Ireland Commonwealth Games athlete Mageean secured a third straight 800m title in routine fashion as she won in 2:07.30.

Mageean, earning her 10th national title, was followed home by 2014 Commonwealth Games semi-finalist Katie Kirk who showed a welcome return to form after a protracted period of injury.

Kirk's strong finish as she came in 0.26 behind Mageean saw her overhaul European Under-23 bronze medallist Nadia Power with Claire Mooney having to settle for fourth.

Paralympic star Jason Smyth missed out on a third Irish 100m title as he was overhauled in the final stride by Tralee-based Jamaican Travane Morrison, who clocked 10.61 to win by 0.02.

Other Northern Ireland performers Kerry O'Flaherty, Jason Harvey and Sommer Lecky also had to settle for second places.

Newcastle athlete O'Flaherty was unable to keep pace with her fellow Rio Olympian Michelle Finn in the women's steeplechase as the Cork woman produced an impressive championship record of 9:45.57.

O'Flaherty, bothered by a tummy issue this summer which has caused her discomfort after meals, was over 19 seconds behind as she clocked 10:04.97 - over 22 seconds outside her personal best set in 2015.

Ciara Neville was an impressive winner of the women's 100m
Ciara Neville set a championship record of 11.33 seconds in the women's 100m final

With European medallist Thomas Barr missing because of calf injury, Harvey duelled with Paul Byrne in the 400m hurdles with the St Abban's man taking victory in 51.73 - 0.05 ahead of the northerner.

Last year's world junior silver medallist Lecky had to settle for second in the high jump as her leap of 1.80m left the Finn Valley athlete five centimetres behind defending champion Philippa Rogan.

Notable performances included Ciara Neville setting a championship record of 11.33 in winning the women's 100m as she was exactly a quarter of a second ahead of runner-up Molly Scott with last year's champion Gina Akpe Moses only fifth.

Neville suffered the frustration of being denied the championship mark by a wind gauge glitch in Saturday's heats but regrouped from that to go 0.07 faster in the final.

Phil Healy produced an impressive run to win the women's 200m title in 23.33 with Beechmount youngster Davicia Patterson pulling out of the final after her European Under-20 Championship fourth place last week.

Sarah Healy, disappointed only to win silver in the 1500m at the European Under-20s, won her first Irish senior title as she held off 800m specialist Siofra Cleirigh Buttner to win the metric mile in 4:31.84 after injecting pace over the closing 550 metres.

Letterkenny man Mark English was made to work hard in the 800m final as his time of 1:48.15 left him 0.09 ahead of Kildare athlete John Fitzsimons with Katie Kirk's brother Conall finishing sixth in 1:52.12.

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