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Sarah Healy claims U23 Silver in special one-two for Ireland at European Championships

Posted 17 July, 2023

UCD Ad Astra athletics star Sarah Healy was part of a historic Irish 1-2 at the European Athletics U23 Championships, winning silver as fellow Irish runner Sophie O’Sullivan’s claimed the gold.

The pair were competing in the women’s 1500m, which saw Healy control the race from the front and largely dictate proceedings until the final lap where O’Sullivan pipped her at the finishing line.

The Ad Astra Elite Sport Scholar finished with a time of 4:07.36, a fraction of a second behind O’Sullivan’s 4:07.18. Britain’s Shannon Flockhart crossed the line third in 4:08.37. 

“I’m disappointed, obviously,” said Healy. “Coming in ranked number one, it’s disappointing to finish below that but if someone was to beat me, I’m glad it was Sophie. It’s special for Ireland to get two medals so I’m really glad to be part of that.”

Speaking after the race, O’Sullivan said: “It feels fantastic, I was second five years ago so it’s good to get the gold. The big thing for me was staying as close as possible on the third lap as I tend to get distracted mid-race. It’s great to do it with Sarah and to go 1-2 for Ireland too”.

Away from the women’s 1500m, UCD’s Nicola Tuthill was unlucky not to get a medal in the  hammer throw - the young Science student narrowly missed out on a bronze finish having held third place with a 66.43m mark in the opening two rounds.

The Bandon AC thrower slipped to fourth behind Finland’s Silja Kosonen, who threw a championship record of 73.71m.

UCD AC’s Cian McPhillips finished seventh in the men’s 800m final in 1:48.04. Speaking after the race he said: “I went for it, I knew I wasn’t really at the races on paper. This year was just about getting some level of normalisation, and to get back running and hopefully push on next year. If you asked me back in January that I’d make a European final this year, I’d have grabbed it with both hands.”

Competing in the 100m final, sprinter Israel Olatunde clocked in at 10.44 to finish eighth. Earlier in the championships, he secured a fifth place finish for Ireland in the 4x100m relay alongside teammates Gabriel Kehinde, Runo Ayavoro, and Colin Doyle.

Speaking after the race, Israel, who at 8.95 clocked the fastest anchor leg (final position in a relay), said: “The last few years for the relay team has been a journey and we want to thank our coach Daniel Kilgallon and Christian Malcolm for supporting us out here.

"Hopefully we can build on this and make more finals and keep pushing Irish relay on over the next few years. We all get so much support from home and we’re so grateful to everyone”.

By: David Kearns, Digital Journalist / Media Officer, UCD University Relations

To contact the UCD News & Content Team, email: newsdesk@ucd.ie