Athletics: Classic dive for the line sees Doyle overcome Griggs in 1,500m final at National Indoors

Clonliffe runner edged out his rival by just four-hundredths of a second in a contest which left both men exhausted

It took one of the classic demonstrations of the dive for the finish line to separate Cathal Doyle and Nick Griggs on day two of the National Indoor Championships at the Sport Ireland Arena at Abbotstown, an epic conclusion to a suitably close 1,500 metres.

It was Doyle who ultimately get the nod on the clock in a winning time of 3:49.11, with Griggs second in 3:49.15, both athletes finishing spread out on the track in obvious pain, the Clonliffe athlete also getting the better of Griggs outdoors last summer.

“It’s not the first dive I’ve had to do across the line, but it was worth it today,” Doyle said. “I’m not sure if I would have taken the win without it, I’ve lost on a dive before so I wasn’t taking any chances.

“I knew Nick wasn’t going to be slowing down at the line so I’m delighted I was able to hang on against such a talented athlete.”


Carla Sweeney defended her 1,500m title in the women’s race with a from-the-front performance to cross in 4:21.61, while Louise Shanahan regained her 2022 800m title in 2:03.54, breaking Ciara Mageean’s 2016 CR in the process.

The men’s 800m race saw Cian McPhillips continue his return to top form, winning in 1:52.79, while Sharlene Mawdsley crossed in 52.04 to pick up her first 400m indoor title, having taken the indoor 200m title the previous two.

“I wanted to get to the break first and get out as fast as I could. I’m happy with the performance and the win was the goal this weekend,” she said. “I’m in better form than I probably produced today, so I’ll try to get in another race in the next week and see how it goes. I’ll be taking it one competition at a time so we’ll see what the year brings.”

Israel Olatunde made it three senior indoor titles in a row, matching his three 100m outdoor titles, by posting a gold medal run of 6.71 in the final.

It’s not the first dive I’ve had to do across the line, but it was worth it today

There are few greater models of consistency in Irish athletics right now than Sarah Lavin, the Limerick sprinter equalling her lifetime best to win the 60 metres hurdles on day one.

With the likes of Rhasidat Adeleke, Ciara Mageean, Andrew Coscoran, Mark English and Sarah Healy all skipping next month’s World Indoor Championships in Glasgow, turning their attention to Paris Olympic preparations, Lavin was also one of the headline acts at Abbotstown.

She didn’t disappoint, securing her sixth indoor hurdles title in all with her winning time 7.91. It equalled the personal best she set last month, continuing her run of consistent performances this year as she targets a final place in Glasgow.

Phil Healy also continued her comeback from an illness-ruined 2023 to win another 200m title in 23.37, her 16th in all between indoors and out. In the field, Reece Ademola won another long jump title with a best of 7.82m, while Sophie Meredith took the women’s long jump with 6.05m.

Sarah Buggy also claimed her eighth indoor triple jump title with a best leap of 12.67m, while Jai Benson held off a strong challenge to his triple jump crown and took gold with a best of 14.25.

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Ian O'Riordan

Ian O'Riordan

Ian O'Riordan is an Irish Times sports journalist writing on athletics