Ciara Mageean to return to action after injury at Irish Nationals

Ciara Mageean won a World Junior 1500m silver medal in 2010
Ciara Mageean was rated as the most exciting Irish middle-distance talent since Sonia O'Sullivan's emergence

Ciara Mageean plans to make her return to action after an injury-affected two years at this weekend's Irish Championships at Santry.

Mageean, 22, is entered in both the 800m and 1500m after returning to full training following her recovery from an ankle injury.

The World Junior medallist is among an 800m entry which includes Katie Kirk, Roseanne Galligan and Laura Crowe.

Mageean is scheduled to face Fionnuala Britton and Crowe in the metric mile.

Kirk will be among nine of Northern Ireland Commonwealth Games athletes who will be in action an Santry.

800m Commonwealths hopeful Kirk is entered for both her specialist event and the 400m.

Steeplechaser Kerry O'Flaherty joins Mageean in the 1500m entries while Amy Foster will aim to emphasise her Irish number one status in the 100m with Christine McMahon competing in her Commonwealths event the 400m hurdles.

Hurdlers Jason Harvey and Ben Reynolds will be in action in their specialist events.

Glasgow-bound Zoe Brown [pole vault], Dempsey McGuigan [hammer] and Daniel Mooney [1500m] are also among the Santry entries.

Of other Commonwealth Games athletes, Jason Smyth is a notable omission from the Santry championships while other Northerners set to compete include Eddie McGinley in the 10,000m and long jumper Adam McMullan.

However, arguably the most interesting feature of the weekend from a Northern Ireland point of view will be Mageean's form as she returns to competitive action.

The 2010 World junior medallist missed the entire 2013 season because of her ankle troubles.

The county Down woman's outstanding junior career was highlighted by a remarkable 1500m silver medal at the 2010 World Junior Championships which came a year after taking 800m silver at the World Youth Championships.

Those performances marked out Mageean as the most exciting Irish middle distance prospect since the emergence of Sonia O'Sullivan in the late 1980s.

In 2011, Mageean again took silver at the European Junior Championships before running an Olympic B 1500m standard of 4:07.45 later in the summer.

At that stage, the Northern Ireland woman looked in contention to secure a place at the London Olympics but Mageean struggled for form in 2012 as the ankle problem began to become a major irritant.

After missing out on the Olympics, Mageean was absent for the entire 2013 season before eventually undergoing surgery last autumn.

Back in January, Mageean, who is now coached by Jerry Kiernan, spoke of her belief that she would make a return to the sport.

"I'm confident that I will be back and when that happens, I'll be as hungry as ever to achieve success but I'm not setting any specific goals at this stage."

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