21 June 2023; Sarah Lavin of Ireland, right, on her way to winning the womens 100m hurdles ahead of Karin Strametz of Austria at the Silesian Stadium during the European Games 2023 in Chorzow, Poland. Photo by David Fitzgerald/Sportsfile

The second day of action at the European Games, saw Team Ireland move into the lead of Division 3 in the Athletics programme. The event that takes the format of the European Team Championships. Also competing were the Women’s Double in Padel, who bowed out to the seeded German pairing, after an impressive battle. BMX rider Ryan Henderson will be in action later tonight, following a postponed competition due to thunder storms.

The schedule of events in the third edition of the European Games is starting to intensify ahead of tonight’s Opening Ceremony in the Henryk Reyman stadium. Between the 20th of June and the 2nd of July, 121 Team Ireland athletes will be competing in events across seventeen sports.

All of the action from the European Games can be viewed live HERE


Ireland currently lead the way in Division 3 of athletics after 25 of the 37 events have been completed. The team, which features some of the biggest names in Irish athletics, is now seven points ahead of main rivals Austria.

The competition doubles up as the European Team Championships, with 44 athletes named on the Irish team, with the main objective of moving out of Division 3. The top three teams will be promoted to Division 2.

The day’s action got off to the ideal start for the Irish with both male and female sprint hurdlers delivering victories which secured a maximum 15 points. Cork teenager James Ezeonu was a convincing winner of the Men’s 110m Hurdles (14.31) while Limerick athlete Sarah Lavin looked utterly dominated as she cruised to victory in the Women’s 100m Hurdles race.

Lavin’s time of 12.82 is the second fastest ever in her career and just 0.03s off her personal best which she set at the European Championships in Munich last year.

“It was a really good performance,” she said afterwards. “I tried to treat it like round one of a championship. 12.82 is a good run at any time of the day.”

Tokyo 2020 Olympian Louise Shanahan was impressive as she took maximum points in the Women’s 800m clocking 2.03.39.

“Today was all about getting the win. I’m delighted to come away with maximum points for the team and fingers crossed that if we all do our bit it’ll be enough to get us over the line,” the Cork woman said.

21 June 2023; Louise Shanahan of Ireland in action in the womens 800m at the Silesian Stadium during the European Games 2023 in Chorzow, Poland. Photo by David Fitzgerald/Sportsfile

Thomas Barr, who finished fourth at the Olympics in Rio seven years ago, showed his experience as he took victory in the Men’s 400m Hurdles (49.41).

The Waterford athlete, who is based in Limerick, is one of the two captains selected for the event by Athletics Ireland alongside Phil Healy, a role he is relishing.

“It’s a great honour. Both myself and Phil have said that we’re honoured to be leading out such a team because I can remember back to when my first Team Championships was and looking up to other athletes like David Gillick. It’s nice to be in a position now with all the experience I have to help anyone I can along the way.”

Cathal Doyle from Dublin had a strong run in the Men’s 1500m finishing second in 3.43.36, while Donegal’s Kelly McGrory finished just outside her season’s best in the Women’s 400m Hurdles, crossing the line in second place (58.08).

The Irish Men’s 4x100m relay team of Israel Olatunde, Mark Smyth, Christopher Sibanda and Joseph Ojewumi just about held on for victory clocking 39.57, while the women’s team of Sarah Leahy, Mollie O’Reilly, Joan Healy and Adeyemi Talabi finished second.

In the field events, there were wins for both Ellie McCartney (Women’s Pole Vault) and Sean Mockler (Men’s Hammer Throw). Laois woman Saragh Buggy was third in the Triple Jump, while Colin Quirke was fifth in the Discus.

Reece Ademola, unfortunately, did not achieve a legal jump in the Long Jump, but the young Cork athlete will bounce back.

The action concludes tomorrow with just twelve events remaining.


A mix between tennis and squash, Padel is one of the fastest growing sports in Europe, and today made its debut on the European Games programme. Today’s match between Team Ireland’s Women’s Double of Jennifer Claffey and Susan McRann and Germany’s Victoria Kurz and Denise Hoefer saw the Irish duo bow out of the competition against the more experienced professional German pairing, who took the match 2-0 in the Women’s Doubles Round of 32.

The final result did not reflect the gutsy performance of the Irish athletes, with Claffey and McRann adapting to the German’s style, and despite their short time playing together as a double, the duo managed to push and rattle their opponents as the games progressed.

21 June 2023; Susan McRann of Ireland, left, and teammate Jennifer Claffey celebrate scoring a point during the women’s double Padel qualification round match between Ireland and Germany during the European Games at the KSOS in Krakow. Photo by Tyler Miller/Sportsfile

Speaking after the match, ex-professional tennis player, Claffey reflected on the match

“It was a super opportunity today to go out and play against a really strong German team. It was a fantastic experience for us to learn at such a high level, it’s just a shame that we didn’t get the win or go into a third set even and showcase our ability on this level.”


The top German double, who are ranked eighth going into the event, started fast, taking the first set 6-0. Showing their fight and resilience, the Dubliners stepped up for the second set, taking an early lead, and putting the favourites under pressure.

McRann described the step up in the second set saying,

“The first set was finding our feet and getting into the match, we didn’t know what to expect. And like Jenny said they came out a lot stronger and harder hitting than we thought they would, so it was just getting used to how they play. We changed up the tactics a little to hit from my side, the right side, cross-court a little more, using the leftie a little more, we were getting a few mistakes out of her, so we were switching up the tactics slightly.

“We always knew we were in it, but we were building with each game, even when they weren’t going our way. So when we got that first game in the second, we were like ‘come on’ we were fighting!”


Claffey described the extra pride of wearing the Olympic rings at the event, saying,

“Playing on the international stage is a new experience for myself and Susan, and we played against a top 8 German pair today, I think it has given us a hunger for more! It’s amazing to be part of a team games. That’s something I never experienced playing tennis, it’s a lonely sport, so to come out here as part of a big team has been eye-opening for us. I feel so proud to be out here wearing the Irish shirt. At one stage during the match, I just looked down and thought you’re doing this not just for yourself and your family, but for your country. So that added an extra bit of spice onto it.”

Tomorrow Padel competition continues with the Men’s Double of Sean Neave and Sam McKibbon, where they will take on Albania.


Ryan Henderson, making his European Games debut for Team Ireland, competed in the BMX Freestyle competition at Krzeszowice Bike Park. The competition was postponed for a number of hours due to a thunderstorm in the area but this didn’t phase Henderson. For a rider to advance to the finals they must finish within the final 12. Stepping up to the mark Henderson opened with a double backflip, setting the standard for the rest of the run. Henderson’s final score is based on the average of two runs, in Run 1 the score was 61.33, in Run 2, 63.00, putting his final score at 62.16. This result was good enough for 22nd place. Not enough to advance to the finals tomorrow. The Belfast man can be proud of his day, as his competition included the current Olympic Bronze Medalist from Tokyo 2020 Declan Brooks (UK), and the current European Champion, Anthony Jeanjean from France.

Commenting on the level of competition, Henderson said,

“When you’re in the mix with the best riders in Europe and they’re all sticking their runs, it kind of adds a bit of pressure, like OK I really need to give it all in this run”

21 June 2023; Ryan Henderson of Ireland during the BMX qualifcation round at Krzeszowice BMX Park at the European Games 2023 in Krakow, Poland. Photo by David Fitzgerald/Sportsfile

RESULTS – 21st of June 2023


James Ezeonu – 1st – Men’s 110m Hurdles – 14.31

Sarah Lavin – 1st – Women’s 100m Hurdles – 12.82

Louise Shanahan – 1st – Women’s 800m – 2.03.39

Cathal Doyle – 2nd – Men’s 1500m – 3.43.36

Kelly McGrory – 2nd – Women’s 400m Hurdles – 58.08

Thomas Barr – 1st – Men’s 400m Hurdles – 49.41

Women’s 4x100m Relay (Sarah Leahy, Mollie O’Reilly, Joan Healy and Adeyemi Talabi) – 2nd – 44.80

Men’s 4x100m Relay (Israel Olatunde, Mark Smyth, Christopher Sibanda and Joseph Ojewumi) – 1st – 39.57

Reece Ademola – No Mark – Men’s Long Jump

Ellie McCartney – 1st – Women’s Pole Vault – 4.20m

Saragh Buggy – 3rd –  Women’s Triple Jump – 13.01m

Colin Quirke – 5th – Men’s Discus – 52.41m

Sean Mockler – 1st – Men’s Hammer Throw – 63.83m



Ireland (Jennifer Claffey & Susan McRann) V Germany (Victoria Kurz & Denise Hoefer) 2 – 0 (6-0, 6-4)


Ryan Henderson, 22nd position, run 1 – 61.33, run 2 – 63.00 (average – 62.16)

SCHEDULE – 22nd of June 2023

(all times in Irish time, with local time in brackets):

Athletics (Silesian Stadium):

08:55 (09:55) Women’s Javelin (Grace Casey)

09:00 (10:00) Men’s High Jump (David Cussen)

09:12 (10:12) Women’s 200m (Phil Healy)

09:28 (10:28) Men’s Shot Put (Eric Favors)

09:32 (10:32) Men’s 200m (Mark Smyth)

09:55 (10:55) Women’s Long Jump (Ruby Millet)

10:05 (11:05) Women’s 3000m Steeplechase (Ava O’Connor)

10:33 (11:33) Men’s Javelin Throw (Conor Cusack)

10:40 (11:40) Men’s 5000m (Fearghal Curtin)

10:45 (11:45) Women’s High Jump (Sommer Lecky)

11:20 (12:20) Women’s 1500m (Sophie O’Sullivan)

11:52 (12:52) Mixed 4x400m Relay (Jack Raftery, Thomas Barr, Callum Baird, Phil Healy, Sharlene Mawdsley, Kelly McGrory, Roisin Harrison)

Padel KSOS Club

08:00 (09:00) Men’s Doubles (Sam McKibbon & Sean Neave) Round 1 Ireland V Albania *Not before 09:00

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