MARK Milner gave further notice of his potential when he finished fifth in the 800m final at the National Track and Field Senior Championships in Santry last Sunday while Coolderry man, Liam Brady had a very solid run to also finish fifth in the 10,000m final on Saturday.
Killeigh youth Milner raced bravely and posted a time of 1.50.06 in a race that was won by Ireland's top 800 metre runner, Mark English who blazed around the two laps in 1.48.15.
A student at Colaiste Choilm in Tullamore this year, Milner's youth and the fact that he was competitive at this level of competition augurs well for his prospects.
A member of Tullamore Harriers, Milner had reached this final last year, along with a club colleague, Aaron Mangan from Ballyfore – Milner finished sixth in 1.53.83 while Mangan was tenth in 1.54.40 last year. Mangan didn't make the final this year as he finished fourth in heat 3 in 1.55.09.
Sunday's final was faster than last year and English's winning time was almost two seconds quicker but Milner improved by over three seconds and he should be pleased with this showing in senior competition.
It came just a week after he bowed out in the semi-finals at the European U-20 Athletics Championship in Sweden. Milner qualified for the final by finishing second in heat 2 in 1.53.05.
Screggan's James Nolan, a two time Olympian, has the championship record in this event, 1.46.68 from 1999 and Milner will be hoping to get down to that territory over the next couple of years.
Mangan is heading to Fort Hays State University, Kansas in the USA next week on an athletics scholarship – the bronze medalist in the 800m final on Sunday, Dean Cronin from Blarney/Inniscara A.C in Cork is also on scholarship there.
There had been speculation that Mark Milner would also head to the States on scholarship and he had no shortage of offers but he has opted to stay in Ireland and will go to University College Dublin – a decision that will greatly please the Irish athletics fraternity.
Liam Brady has been Offaly's top distance runner for a few years now – he has competed in European junior, U-23 and senior cross country championships. He is now trying to rediscover his best form and he posted 30.44.97 as he finished fifth in a race won by Stephen Scullion of Clonliffe Harriers and Raheny Shamrocks' Mick Clohissey. Just the first two broke 30 minutes, a mark Brady has breached on a couple of occasions, setting a PB of 29.49 in London's parliament Hill in 2017.
Continued on page 47.