Irish rugby sevens team open with a big win over hosts Poland
Dean Clancy wins lightweight bout to advance to quarter final
Diver Clare Cryan through to final in 3M Springboard
Three Irish feature in Modern Pentathlon fence, swim and laser run
On the sixth day of the European Games the Irish Men’s Rugby Sevens team got their Olympic qualification bid underway with an utterly dominant 66-0 win in their opening Pool match against hosts Poland.
In Boxing Sligo’s Dean Clancy came out the right side of a split decision in his lightweight (63.kg) bout against Malik Hasanov of Azerbaijan to advance to the quarter-finals; one win away from securing Olympic qualification.
Sive Brassil, Isobel Radford-Dodd, and Hannah D’Aughton all saw action in the Modern Pentathlon this morning in both the fencing and swim events, with the laser run following. Brassil emerged to advance to the semi-final on Tuesday and remain in contention for Olympic qualification.
Diver Clare Cyran had a great morning placing fourth in the 3M Springboard qualification to advance to this evening’s final.
In Taekwondo Tallaght’s Leroy Nsilu Dilandu lost out to his Georgian opponent 2-0 in Men’s -74kg competition in the round of 16. However as the Georgian made the final later in the day Nsilu Dilandu went into the repechage where he lost out to the Spaniard 2-0.
Irish shooter Jack Fairclough completed his final two rounds in the Skeet Qualification exiting the competition placed 29th overall scoring 118/125 in a performance that equals his seasons best.
In Fencing Team Ireland’s two competitors; Jadryn Dick and Michalis Kirimlidis, contested the pool stage of the Men’s Individual Sabre competition with Kirimlidis bowing out, and Dick advancing to the direct elimination stage where he lost out to Ukrainian Yurly Tsap 15-7.
In Mountain Bike Belfast rider Chris Dawson finished 39th in the Men’s Cross Country race out of 74 starters.
Full sport by sport reports below.
Ireland Men’s Sevens kickstarted their Olympic qualification bid in clinical fashion at the European Games on Sunday, defeating hosts Poland 66-0 at Henryk Reyman Stadium Park in Krakow. “Fourteen minutes goes by very fast. I came off the bench so it was kind of nice to see how the lads went in the first half. I think we did really well with our kick-offs, we were getting a lot of the ball back. It’s quite hard from a defending ball from a kick off to try and get it back. I think that’s where we put Poland under pressure. It’s great a win starting off the tournament. He continued; “Actually we have played Poland a lot in Poland, they’re a great rugby crowd, and have great supporters. It’s fantastic for us to have a bit of atmosphere here at the tournament. We could hear the Irish chanting and then the Polish chanting as well beside them as well, it was a bit of craic, it’s a beautiful day; a great day for rugby.”With a ticket to next year’s Games in Paris on the line for the tournament winner, Ireland know there is little margin for error over the next three days of competition, and James Topping’s side demonstrated their intent with an emphatic try-scoring display in their Pool A opener. Jordan Conroy, Zac Ward and Bryan Mollen all scored a brace of tries each, while Liam McNamara, Andrew Smith, Niall Comerford and Jack Kelly also got on the scoreboard to get Ireland up and running in style ahead of their second Pool match against Italy later this evening (6.58pm Irish time). Speaking afterwards Irish captain Harry McNulty said;
Team Ireland’s Dean Clancy is through to the Quarter-Finals of the Men’s 63.5kg (lightweight) at the European Games in Poland, after coming out the right side of a split decision over Azerbaijan’s Malik Hasanov (3-2).
The Sligo man put on a classy display in the ring at the Nowy Targ Arena to advance to the quarter-finals, and with it one win away from securing a place at next year’s Olympic Games in Paris.
Clancy had won the first round on four of the judges’ scorecards before finding himself trailing at the end of round two. He fought back strongly and was unsurprisingly delighted when speaking afterwards;
“I’m absolutely buzzing at the moment, the job is not finished though, I’ve one more to qualify, that’s the first goal of mine,” he said.
“It was a really tough fight. I sparred him in Italy and there wasn’t much in it. He wasn’t really showing much, and I wasn’t really showing too much either, but I had a fair idea because I’m good at adapting to any style I’m boxing.
“I got a good game plan from the coaches and implemented it perfectly to a tee. When I won the first round I was like ‘oh lovely 4-1’ and I thought I had done enough in the second round, and I was down 3-2. I dug deep, stuck to the game plan, and hit him hard and fast. I’m delighted.”
Clancy now has a couple of days off before his last eight bout against the Italian fighter Gianluigi Malanga.
Wexford’s Dean Walsh will be looking for a dream 29th birthday present later on when he makes his competition debut, facing Italy’s Salvatore Cavallaro in the Men’s Welterweight Round of 32 at 6:45pm Irish time.
These Games are a key milestone on the path to Paris 2024 with Olympic qualification spots on offer in all of the weight classes. For most fighters winning a quarter-final will secure qualification for Paris, but for a few a semi-final win is the standard.
Sive Brassil, Isobel Radford-Dodd and Hannah D’Aughton all saw action in the Modern Pentathlon this morning in the AWF Sports Centre, Krakow. Brassil and Radford-Dodd both began with the Individual Fencing qualification round in the A Group, with Hannah D’Aughton starting with her 200m swim in the B Group.
In these qualification rounds, the top 36 athletes out of 59 entrants will progress to the Semi-Finals, which take place on Tuesday (27thJune). At that stage the top 18 move to the Final next Saturday (July 1st).
Group A began the long day of competition with fencing rounds. This involves the athletes completing 28 bouts, which are a minute long, the first touch wins the bout. Young talent Radford-Dodd performed extremely well in the middle bouts, sitting in 7th place at an early stage. By the end of the round, the Wicklow athlete finished 20th with 201 points, just ahead of teammate Brassil, who was 23rd on 194 points.
In Group B, Cork’s Hannah D’Aughton produced a season’s best in the 200m Freestyle swim, with a time of 2:19.21, netting 272 points, ranking her 18th in her group.
Speaking afterwards D’Aughton said; “It’s really nice to open the swim and do a PB (personal best) for the season, so it puts you in a good head space for the rest of the events to come.”
In the A group swim Brassil featured strongly to finish fifth in a time of 2:13.87 and claim 283 points leaving her lying 17th heading into the laser run. Team mate Radford Dodd finished her 200m swim in 2:15.93 which earned her 279 points and 16th taking on the laser run.
In the B group D’Aughton placed 26th in the fencing round to secure 180 points and face the laser run in 26thplace.
With very little time in between events all three Irish athletes contested the laser runs with Brassil performing strongly to emerge ninth in the A group to progress to the semi-final on Tuesday. The fencing ranking rounds take place tomorrow (Monday). Radford Dodd came through in 23rd place which rules the young Wicklow native out of the semi-final with only the top eighteen progressing.
The laser run involves the athlete running 600m laps cross country, stopping to shoot at a target every five laps. The event involves a balance of speed and accuracy. Speaking after her qualification, a relieved Brassil said,
“The first three 600s definitely didn’t feel easy, but it was good to get in there and comfortably secure a place. I’m really delighted to be in there and through to the next round in the semi-finals. I’m still in with a shot of getting that all important Olympic qualifying spot so I’m really happy.
Referring to starting off in 17th place with only eighteen to advance the Galway native remarked; “I always do this to myself in the qualifying stages, I give myself a bit of a challenge. But it was fine, I think I moved up a good few places, but yeah, it was definitely a little nerve-wrecking at the start.
“With fencing we had 29 people in the heat so I had to fence everyone in it. It was a mixed bag for me; it wasn’t my strongest day of fencing but I knew I had done enough to pull it back with my other events, and I definitely have some good lessons to take away for tomorrow’s fencing.
“I’m happy with the swim. I think all the Irish girls swam well today, so our swimming coach will be happy with us! Tomorrow afternoon we do the fencing for the semi-finals so that will be a big session of fencing.”
When asked how the atmosphere was having three Irish pentathletes at the Games Brassil said: “I can’t say enough good about my teammates, I adore them and they make it so much fun for me. They bring out the best in me and I hope I bring out some good in them too, we have great fun together.”
In the B group laser run Hannah D’Aughton placed 29th in 14:47.40 and did not advance but will have taken so much from the competition here, as will Radford-Dodd.
Clare Cryan had an impressive performance in the preliminaries of the Women’s 3M Springboard this morning, finishing fourth of the twenty-five competitors and comfortably progressing to this evening’s final.
Cryan was relaxed and composed throughout her five dives, never going below the top four throughout to score 288.45 points.The 29-year-old opened the competition with her hardest dive, a forward 2 ½ somersaults, 1 twist and scored her highest points with 63. Further scores of 56, 62, 60.2 and 47.25 saw her ease into the 6pm (IRE) Final.
Speaking after the event Cryan said ‘I’m very happy and relieved, it was a nice competition, I know I can be in there, but it’s always doing the job in the morning, you could see some of the other dives were all over the place, so it was nice to be plain, steady and doing the job.’
She continued: ‘The past few weeks of training my dives have been great, there was a couple of days here in Poland that I was a bit nervy on some of the hurdle steps but as the week’s gone on I’ve got more comfortable and found the rhythm on the boards so I was feeling confident this morning.’
Team Ireland’s Leroy Nsilu Dilandu has lost out in his Men’s -74kg competition opener against Georgian athlete, Zurab Kintsurashvili 2-0.
Nsilu Dilandu was aggressive from the beginning scoring the first points in Round 1, however, during the second round Nsilu Dilandu landed a kick to his opponent’s knee flaring up an old injury, causing the Dubliner to limp for the remainder of the round. Switching to his stronger leg in the second to try and claw back some vital points, it wasn’t to be for the Dubliner, losing out to Kintsurashvili (GEO) 2-0 (13-9, 12-3).
Speaking after the opening match, Nsilu Dilandu said, “My coach and I decided we were going to take lead from the start and just shut down the match for the whole game but then obviously I kicked his knee, and my head just went because I’ve been dealing with this injury for some time.
He continued: “I refocused and started to use my other leg for kicks and try bringing back some points, because I know at the end of the day if I’m limping home, on a crutch or in a boot it would be all worth it if I had a medal. That didn’t work today but it is what it is, I gave it my all.”
However, later in the day as his Georgian opponent made it to the final Leroy went back into the draw in the repechage. In that draw the Dubliner lined up against Spainish fighter Daniel Quesada Barrera, with the winner advancing to the bronze medal bout. The Spanish athlete took the contest 2-0 with Nsilu Dilandu hampered by his earlier injury.
Ireland’s Jack Fairclough has finished 29th overall in Men’s Skeet Qualification at the European Games in Poland. Fairclough was in action for the second day in a row at the Wroclaw Shooting Centre, which is located 270km from Krakow.
The Skeet which is a clay target event, involves a regulated mix of single and double targets, crossing left to right and right to left in front of the shooter, with one shot per target.
The maximum points a shooter can amass in one series is 25 and of the 125 available to him throughout qualification Fairclough, who has roots in Greystones, scored 118. That performance equals his season’s best. Fairclough will now take a short break before turning his focus to the World Championships which take place later this summer.
Reflecting on his performance when afterwards: “I finished on 118 which is a good enough score. The standard at these multi-sport events is so high that you really can’t afford to make any silly mistakes and I may have had a couple. It’s all a learning experience. I’m really grateful to have had the opportunity to be out here representing my country.”
Irish team manager Jeffrey McCready gave the following reaction; “Jack’s post competition interview is an honest appraisal in my view,” he said.
“As Jack said himself, there were at least a couple left out there. That’s where the review and work will focus on towards next month’s World Cup in Italy, the World Championships in August, and Europeans in September. Jack will grow from this experience and that’s key. I think it’s worth mentioning that in shooting terms, Jack is still quite young.”
Team Ireland still have a shooter left to compete at this Games as Aoife Gormally will be in action in the Women’s Trap.
Team Ireland fencers Jadryn Dick and Michalis Kirimlidis contested the pool stage of the Men’s Individual Sabre competition with Kirimlidis bowing out, losing four and winning one contest, placing 49th overall.
Afterwards he had this to say; “The Europeans are known to be the single toughest competition on the calenda. It’s very few countries, the top countries, sending only their best so every single point is a tough fight. I am slightly disappointed that I couldn’t get another win, there were a couple of close ones but I just couldn’t get another one over the line. Overall extremely happy with the effort and the training and everything over the last couple of the weeks but unfortunately that’s sport it doesn’t always go your way.”
Jadryn Dick also won one and lost four but finished in 43rd place and advanced to the direct elimination stage where he lost out 15-7 to Ukrainian Yurly Tsap.
Reflecting on the encounter he said: “The match was difficult, it was a good draw for me it was a good opponent, a friend of mine so I know how he fenced a little bit but he’s had a good season leading up to this point. He’s been fencing like a madman recently so like I said I would’ve liked the score to be a bit closer, it felt like there was a few hits there that should’ve been mine but it is what it is; the referees know what they’re doing.”
Both athletes return to the piste on Wednesday in the Sabre team event.
CYCLING – MOUNTAIN BIKE
Belfast’s Chris Dawson took to the mountains in Krynica-Zdroj to race the Men’s Cross-Country Mountain Bike at the European Games, which also doubled up as the European Championships.
Dawson, making his debut for Team Ireland started towards the back of the grid finished in 39th position out of 71 starters. The rain from the previous day made the course extrremely muddy and technical for the riders meaning the field were forced to walk certain sections.
Commenting after the race, the Irish rider said, “It was a really tough race, the start was hectic as always, I started in 53rd place but got into a really good rhythm, just started chipping away, maybe one or two positions per lap. This result gives me a lot of confidence going into the rest of the season and for my training.”
All of the action from the European Games can be viewed live HERE