Several years ago Eamonn Coghlan's son John was on the recruiting radar of the "normal suspects" in the USA: Villanova, Providence, Iona (all of which schools had Irish track coaches: Marcus O'Sullivan at Villanova, Ray Treacy at Providence, amd Mick Byrne -- now at Wisconsin -- at Iona). He had won the All-Ireland Schools cross country title in 2007, won the Schools and Junior 1500 titles, and was routinely among the top finishers at the Junior level. Coghlan's times as a 1500/5000/XC runner were good enough to generate some interest, but not good enough to garner the kind of offers that would make his decision to stay in Ireland or jump to the States an easy one. In the event, John Coghlan opted to stay home, attend Dublin City University (DCU), and to pursue his running career in his home country. He has done so to good effect: he won the U-23 Irish title at 1500 meters in 2010, was 5th at the Irish Senior Cross Country championships in 2010, and was a member of the Irish U-23 cross country team that recently won Gold at the European cross country championships. John's recent track times for 1500 meters have come down to the 3:46 range (essentially a 4:04 mile), and many are wondering if he can join his father Eamonn as a sub-4:00 miler. Here's a story from today's Herald that speaks to the issue.
Coghlan chases mile holy grail
By Lindie Naughton
Wednesday, July 06 2011
A number of young Irish athletes will line out in the Morton Mile at Friday's Clonliffe 125 Track and Field Grand Prix (7.0).
For all, the target is a sub-four minute time, still the Holy Grail of middle distance running, although the distance is rarely run in these metric days.
Leading a strong group of middle-distance specialists from the US, Australia and the UK is Jack Bolas, the American with a 3:37.64 1500m time, who was runner-up last year.
Two-time Olympian Alistair Cragg had hoped to lead the Irish entry, but is doubtful after dropping out of a 5000m last week with a sinus infection.
Former European Junior 1500m winner Colin Costello is entered along with Paul Robinson, holder of the Irish junior mile record at 4:00.93, Ciarán O'Lionaird and John Coghlan. If Coghlan (pictured) can break four minutes, he will follow in the footsteps of dad Eamonn, still the second-fastest [by 1/100 of a second, behind NR holder Ray Flynn -- BC] Irishman ever over the distance.
Shaping up to be a thriller is the 3000m, with the entry of 30 led by Irish cross-country champion Joe Sweeney of DSD. Mark Kenneally and Sergiu Ciobanu run for the host club.
After his winter in Florida, Derry sprinter Jason Smyth currently tops the national rankings. In both 100m and 200m, Smyth takes on Ferrybank's Chris Russell.
Using the 400m as a warm-up for the European U23 Championships next week is Brian Gregan, while Ireland's Kelly Proper takes on the American Chelsea Taylor in the women's 100m and long jump.
In an Irish Milers Club 800m race, Tallaght's Anthony Lieghio takes on Mark English of Letterkenny, while running the women's 800m are Lisburn's Ciara Mageean and Siofra Cleirigh Buttner of DSD.
John Travers of Donore will run in the IMC 1500m race, while Ireland's top Paralympians will also be chasing London 2012 qualification.
- Lindie Naughton