By Mark Jones
DUBLIN — Sonia O’Sullivan remains Ireland’s best chance of success at the European championships, which are under way in Budapest this week.
Bolstered by her victories in both the short and long distances at the world cross-country championships in Morocco earlier in the year, O’Sullivan is still planning to double up in the 10,000 and 5,000 meters races.
Since 1994, O’Sullivan has won every major title except an Olympic one. A European title over 3,000 meters in Helsinki that year was followed in 1995 by a World championship gold over 5,000 meters in Gothenburg. Despite an inconsistent track season so far, she is bound to challenge once again for a medal.
Waterford’s Susan Smith is another strong contender for a medal in the 400 meters hurdles, and discus thrower Nick Sweeney, who has recovered from a shoulder injury, is also strongly fancied.
Ireland’s three representatives in the 800 meters — David Matthews, James McIlroy and James Nolan — are all setting their sights on a place in the final. Matthews has an Irish record 1:44.82 to his name, while the fast improving McIlroy ran 1:45.32 earlier in the summer.
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