Cian McPhillips of Longford and Ireland, second from left, during his heat of the 800m at the European Indoor Athletics Championships in Torun, Poland. Picture: Sam Barnes/Sportsfile
Longford’s Cian McPhillips will be up against three of Europe's top ten 800 metres runners in this evening's semi-finals of the European Indoor Championships in Torun, Poland.
Last night, the pride of Longford, comfortably qualified for the semi-final from his heat in a time of 1:49.98.
Jamie Webb (Great Britain), Andreas Kramer (Sweden) and Mateusz Borkowski (Poland) are ranked 6, 8 and 9, respectively, in Europe but their lofty reputations won't deter 18-year-old Leaving Cert student Cian from giving it his best shot.
Cian will be running in semi-final two which will be screened Live on RTE 2 TV from 6.33pm.
Unlike last night's heat where the first three earned qualification, just the top two will qualify from the three semi-finals for the showpiece final.
Of the six athletes in the race, Cian has recorded the third fastest 800m personal best time of 1:46.13, with Webb (GB) and Kramer (Sweden) recording faster PBs of 1:44.54 and 1:45.09, respectively.
Speaking to David Gillick on RTE shortly after his run in the heats last night, Cian admitted, "I'm feeling quite tired at the minute. The air is quite dry in here obviously and the mask isn't helping.
"Happy out with how I ran. It didn't go as planned. I was hoping to be on the leader's shoulder. They went out quicker than I anticipated but I was happy to be able to get back."
Gillick suggested to Cian, that in his debut senior international run, he had shown maturity by covering all the moves ahead of the final lap?
"I knew I had to make a move at that stage," replied Cian, "because I was falling behind and I knew the guys in front me had good kicks so I needed to be up there and pushing on to them and luckily a gap opened up and I was able to move into it."
And was he nervous ?
"I'm quite young. So I've another few years left in me, I think, of running. I didn't come with too many expectations, so I'm just happy to be here but obviously I'm just not here to make up the numbers. I'd like to push on and do as well as I could, so I'm happy to make the semi's."
Ireland will also have a big interest in semi-final 3 of the 800m at 6.42pm as it features Mark English.
Semi-final 2 Line-up and their PBs
(Live on RTE 2 TV from 6.33pm)
Pablo Sánchez-Valladares (Spain) 1:47.22 (ranked 24 in Europe)
Nasredine Khatir (France) 1:47.28
Cian McPhillips (Ireland) 1:46.13
Mateusz Borkowski (Poland) 1:46.20 (ranked 9 in Europe)
Jamie Webb (Great Britain) 1:44.54 (ranked 6 in Europe)
Andreas Kramer (Sweden) 1:45.09 (ranked 8 in Europe)