Team Ireland Athletes Continue to Shine in Slovakia

Following on from Sean Cronin’s sensational bronze medal run yesterday, a quieter day of action for Team Ireland saw Irish competition in athletics, badminton, gymnastics, judo and tennis at the European Youth Olympic Festival (EYOF) in Banska Bystrica which runs from the 25 – 30 July. 


Hannah Falvey and Lucy Foster both progressed to the next rounds with automatic qualifying times this morning. In the Girl’s 200m Falvey raced in the third heat, finishing fourth in her heat with a time of 25.71. Foster was third in her qualifying heat of the Girl’s 1500m with a time of 4:36.17.


After a strong battle in the last sixteen, Dubliner Michelle Shochan was knocked out of the Girl’s Singles by Sweden’s Sofia Stromvall. She took the first set 21-18, before her Swedish opponent pulled back the second 21-19. On the third set the more experienced player took the win with 21-13.


In the Women’s Artistic Gymnastics Team Ireland had three female gymnasts in competition, Lily Russell, Sophie McGuinness and Maeve McGuinness. Lily Russell finishing 40th overall with 45.1. In the beam she was 23rd overall with a score of 11.8. Twins Sophie McGuinness and Maeve McGuinness were 50th (43.85) and 72nd (40.50) respectively.

With the arena packed with spectators, the Maeve McGuinness said the athletes were lifted by the atmosphere,

“It was very exciting, especially being with athletes from different countries and different events.”

The thirteen year olds met when they were eight at a development camp, and have progressed through the Gymnastics pathway, competing as three of the youngest athletes at the EYOF.  Sophie McGuinness spoke about the bond between the three athletes, “If someone is upset understand what they are going through, and if they are upset, lift them up.”

Referring to their longstanding friendship, Russell added “we had no idea then what would happen in the future, but we are excited to be here now, and excited for the Europeans in Munich in a few weeks!”


In the Girl’s -57kg event Derry Judoka Bethany McCauley got a bye in the first round, and was beaten by the experience French athlete, Emma Melis in Round 2, who took the early victory with an Ippon seoi nage.

Coach, and 2000 Olympian, Chloe Vickers Cowen described the competition as a positive and important learning experience for McCauley,

“She had a bye in her first round, and came in on the second round and she had a number four seed. Bethany had good tactics, good warm up, understand how to fight that style of opponent and did well in the first exchange. Then kind of slipped up in the second exchange where she got caught on her side; that’s a wasari score and seven points. She held onto the leg, this avoids the hold down after. The referee gave it a lot of time, and then the French competitor managed to get a leg out and hold her down for ten seconds, and then she lost the fight.”

Listen to the full interview HERE

There will be another busy day tomorrow with Athletics, Badminton, Cycling, Gymnastics and Swimming all on the schedule.


The Mixed Doubles of Eoghan Jennings and Rachel Deegan were beaten by the number one seed from Romania, Gabriel Ghetu and Eva Ionescu, ending their competition and the first time that they have competed together as a team.



Hannah Falvey – Girl’s 200m Heats – Q for SF – 25.71

Lucy Foster – Girl’s 1500m Heats – Q for F – 4:36.17


Michelle Shochan (IRL) 1-2 Sofia Stromvall (SWE) Girl’s Singles – Round of 16 (21-18, 19-21, 13-21)


Women’s Artistic Gymnastics

Lily Russell – 40th with 45.1 (Vault:12.00, Bars: 10.0, Beam: 11.8, Floor: 11.3)

Sophie McGuinness – 50th with 43.85 (Vault:12.00, Bars: 9.8, Beam: 11.4, Floor: 10.65)

Maeve McGuinness – 72nd with 40.5 (Vault:11.90, Bars: 7.8, Beam: 9.750, Floor: 11.05)

Team – 13th


Bethany McCauley (IRL) V Emma Melis (FRA) – Girl’s Minus 57kg – Loss (0-1)


Ireland (Eoghan Jennings & Rachel Deegan) 0-2 Romania – Mixed Doubles Loss (0-6, 3-6)


09:32 Swimming – Conor Fitzgerald – Boy’s 50m Free

10:30 Swimming – Conor Fitzgerald – Boy’s 100m Butterfly

10:32 Athletics – Okwu Backari – Girl’s 100m Hurdles (Heat 2, Lane 2)

11:00 Cycling – Girl’s Road Race (57.8km)

11:07 Athletics – Toby Thompson – Boy’s 200m Heats (Heat 2, Lane 5)

11:42 Athletics – Hannah Falvey – Girl’s 200m Semis (Semi 2, Lane 8)

12:00 Badminton – Mixed Doubles – Ireland (Shochan & Noble) V Armenia (Smbatyan &Harutyunyan)

16:30 Cycling – Boy’s Road Race (65.8km)

16:35 Athletics – Maeve Fleming – High Jump Heats

18:05 Athletics – Nicole Dinan – 800m Finals

18:20 Athletics – Hollie Kilroe – 400m

18:39 Swimming – Conor Fitzgerald 100m Butterfly Semis

19:10 Athletics – Hannah Flavey 200m Final

19:26 Swimming Conor Fitzgerald 50m Free

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