Andrew Coscoran has qualified for Thursday’s 1500m final at the European Athletics Championships in Munich, the only Irish glimmer of success on a night when all others exited in the opening round.
Coscoran may have finished seventh in a semi-final where only the top four were guaranteed progress, but the slowness of the previous heat was enough to elevate the Irishman into his first major outdoor Championship final.
The Star of the Sea AC athlete avoided being boxed in over the last lap, saving him precious tenths of seconds, and though he was well run out of the top four automatic qualifying positions, taking note of the previous times on the night proved a useful tactic.
A semi-finalist at last year’s Tokyo Olympic Games, the 26-year-old clocked 3:38.74, a time surpassed in the previous heat by just the winner, Jakob Ingebrigtsen.
The fastest non-automatic qualifying time had been 3:39.30 from that opening encounter, and Coscoran kept it in mind.
“With a lap to go, I was boxed in, but I didn’t panic. I knew there were four fastest losers spots up for grabs,” he said.
“I knew being boxed in I wasn’t going to get into the top four, but I knew that one of those small q’s was up for grabs. So I went for it.
“I saw it was 3:38 in the previous heat, and the first fastest losers spot was 3:39.3, so that’s what I was aiming for.
“I got the small q and made it through to the final, that was the aim to come out here and make it to the final, and I did that.”
But his team-mate Luke McCann missed out in the other semi-final, surviving a number of close calls to stay upright, but losing some of his rhythm in coming home ninth in 3:40.98 – Ingebrigtsen’s winning time was 3:38.48.
Also eliminated – surprisingly – were Phil Healy and Sharlene Mawdsley in the women’s 400m.
European Indoors fourth-placer Healy looked curiously out of sorts in the second half of the race, and was eventually well down in sixth place in her first round heat.
Healy had been up with heat winner Laviai Nielsen at halfway and beyond, but did not have the sufficient kick over the closing straight.
Healy’s time of 53.10 seconds well outside her season’s best of 51.66, while Nielsen won in 51.60.
Likewise, Mawdsley could only register a 52.63 in her heat to bow out also in sixth – she has run half-a-second quicker this season – but this was a tighter contest, with Alicia Schmidt of Germany going through in third barely 0.11 quicker than the Irish athlete three places behind her.
Meanwhile, in the velodrome in the east of the city, Emily Kay finished ninth in the multi-race omnium, having been in the bronze medal position after the opening scratch race.