Athletics

Last Month, Sarah Healy Established Herself As One Of Irish Sport's Most Exciting Young Stars

Sarah Healy of Blackrock AC is the winner of Balls.ie's Rising Star award for February

Last month, Sarah Healy firmly established herself as one of the most exciting prospects in Irish sport.

The Blackrock AC athlete, who just turned 17 in February, won her first senior title - the 3000m at the National Indoor Championships in Abbotstown.

In the process, she smashed the Irish under 20 indoor record for the event. Her run of 9:10.43 bettered Rose Anne Galligan's 2005 mark by more than 18 seconds.

Earlier in the month at the AAI Indoor Games, also held in Abbotstown, she broke Ciara Mageean's Irish U20 record for the 1500m, running 4:16.03.

A fifth year student at Holy Child Killiney, Sarah still plays hockey and until recently was still playing with Cuala GAA club.

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"It was really exciting winning my first senior title," she told Balls.ie

"I hadn't thought about breaking the Irish under 20 records before but it was definitely really cool and I had a lot of fun racing both of those races."

Healy's coach with Blackrock AC since the age of 12 has been Eoghan Marnell.

"At Blackrock AC young athletes are encouraged to compete in all track and field events as well as cross country," he told Balls.

"Sarah was no different in that regard, so when she started out she competed in sprints, jumps and throws.

"Sarah has always stood out, primarily because of her attitude. She has fantastic determination and resilience, which are great qualities for an athlete when channelled correctly.

"Sarah won her first national juvenile cross country title in 2011 and has won it every year since, so while she has progressed very well in recent years she was already performing at a high level prior to that.

Last summer, Healy came to prominence when she claimed gold for Ireland at the European Youth Olympics. She calls it a highlight of her career to date.

As for the future, Marnell says that a number of US colleges have been in touch regarding the possibility of offering Sarah an athletics scholarship. However, her preference at the moment is to remain in Ireland.

The criteria for the Balls.ie Rising Star award is simple: you need to be a sportsperson under the age of 20 and you must live in Ireland.

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