Team Ireland ready with Jason, Tom and Jake all in contention

Date: 15th April 2022

Stawell stalwart Todd Ireland and the crew have their team windcheaters ready for another Easter experience at Central Park. Jason Bailey believes he and Tom Griffin are the ones to beat and Todd wouldn’t rule out his son Jake who “has been running pretty well” too.

Todd agrees Jason and Tom are both in their best shape at the right time and it is hard to separate between the two.

“I’m confident both are good enough and will be in contention this year. Jason Bailey is in better shape than the year he came third (2019), he has gone back a couple of metres but he has improved. He had a really impressive win at the Docklands Gift.

“He is in good shape and has the experience of running in a final which should give him a small advantage,” said Todd last week.

Todd believes Tom Griffin also knows what it feels like to get the job done. “Tom has won the Bill Howard so he knows what it’s like to get up there and it’s important to have that confidence. He’s a good starter, but the amateurs will be coming at him late.”

“It’s pretty open this year. The bunch at the front of the 120m will be hard to run down, a very strong batch of pro runners who are going to be up there. There are 12-15 who think they can make the final.”

Outside his own stable Todd rates Hamish Lindstrom, Harrison Kerr, Aidan Green and Jasper Nettlefold from the pros in this group. “These are the guys who will be knocking on the door.”

But it won’t be a walk in the park. “You need to run a good heat to get seeded and a bit of luck to get a good semi,” said Todd.

He believes at least one of the amateurs will be up there in the mix.  

“It depends on who adapts better to grass and who has experience chasing down runners.”

Jason Bailey believes he and Tom have what it takes. “I think Tom and I should do well. I would like to think I’m a good chance as I’m in a better position than a couple years ago.

“The last few years have been a rollercoaster. The year I was favourite I got 3rd and then covid impacted 2020 when I was in unreal shape, then I was injured last year so couldn’t compete.

“I have the experience now and that’s a good thing to have over these guys (the amateurs), so fingers crossed.” 

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