On day five at the European Games in Krakow, Poland, Irish eyes were fixed on three sports; Boxing, Diving and Shooting.
Irish fighters Jenny Lehane, Michaela Walsh, and Kelyn Cassidy all won their opening bouts at these European Games, each progressing to the last 16.
On the second day of Diving competition for the Irish Jake Passmore has qualified in tenth place for tonight’s 3M Springboard final on his senior Individual international debut.
Three more of the Irish boxing team of twelve at these Games made their mark in the ring at the Nowy Targ Arena, over 90km south of Krakow. These Games are a key milestone on the path to Paris 2024 with Olympic qualification spots on offer in all of the weight classes.
Meath’s Jenny Lehane was the first of the Irish in action today in the round of 32. The Ashbourne teacher was a 3-2 winner over her Serbian opponent in the Bantamweight division (54kg).
Afterwards she gave this reaction; “She was a tricky opponent. I was down 5-0 after the first round, it took a lot to leave it in the round previous, so the decision came to me in the second round, and the final round I came out on top again, so I’m happy out. I’m just soaking up the whole experience. It is a huge competition, the rules stay the same, the ring stays the same, so I’m happy out!”
Tokyo Olympian Michaela Walsh was next up for Team Ireland. The Belfast athlete was a unanimous winner over her counterpart Olga Pavlina Papadatou from Greece. While the Greek boxer took the opening round, the experienced Walsh fought back to overcome and win convincingly 5-0 in the end, progressing to the last 16 of the competition, at Featherweight (57kg).
Reflecting on the fight Walsh remarked: “It was a very very tough opening fight, I came back to the corner and I was down, but I just stuck to the plan. I had a slow start, but came into it. Knowing I was down I had to ip it a bit, because obviously, I wanted to come out the winner. I just listened to the corner, everything they told me to do, I done. Then I had a fantastic second and third round, and thank God I am standing here as the winner.”
“I was up going into the final round, but it was still level on a few cards, and she had a chance of coming back, but he [Zauri – coach] just said, listen, she’s going to put a big push on. I was trying to meet her with a backhand as she came in. She was running in recklessly, I was trying to side step and go again. It was very hard to do that because she was such a tough and experience opponent. Thankfully, today was my day.
“Every tournament you go to, the first fight is almost the hardest, you are waiting on your draw, you’re finished your training camp and doing very little training because it is a taper and peaking at the right time, and you are a bit anxious waiting, but to finally get out and get that first one out of the way. It feels brilliant, I actually wish I was on again tomorrow because I feel buzzing and ready to go again, but for today, I’m just going to enjoy the victory and go and shout my teammates on for later on.”
The only male Irish boxer in action today; Kelyn Cassidy from Waterford made three wins out of three for Team Ireland. The Saviours Crystal BC man was a 5-0 winner over Norwegian Mindauga Gedminas in the Middleweight division (80kg).
Afterwards Cassidy gave these thoughts; “Unreal, it was a great performance to get the Games off to a start. I got a good opponent, good win and very happy with it. I’ll kick on from here and keep going.”
“From the very start I just went with the game plan that the coaches gave me beforehand, just to be busy, be active, jab. Be relaxed; that is what I did in there, so can’t really give out at the minute. I knew from being in there I was comfortable. I wasn’t getting tagged too much and was catching him with a lot of shots, so was really really happy in there. I just am happy I performed and couldn’t get better in an opening bout.”
Later on at 17:45 Irish time reigning European champion at 66kg; Amy Broadhurst is in action against Milena Matovic of Serbia in her round of 32 bout.
In Diving, Jake Passmore has secured a place in the Men’s 3M Springboard Final, in his what is his first senior individual international competition.
A medallist at last year’s European (bronze) and World (silver) Junior Championships, the 18-year-old has just moved to the senior ranks. Today, he put in a solid performance scoring 385.05 points to progress in tenth place to this evening’s final, just 10 points off his best score, and will be the youngest competitor in the field.
A delighted Passmore commented ‘Amazing, that was the goal I came to achieve, and it happened, I didn’t think it would with this group of divers that are all really experienced but I managed to sneak in at the end.’
Passmore had the Irish supporters on the edge of their seats in the final round, but completing his hardest dive, a forward 2 ½ somersaults, 2 twists produced his highest round score of 68 to secure his place in the 6pm Final (IRE), he said ‘I tried to not look at where abouts in the results I am, but I had a rough idea, I knew what I needed to do and I just tried to do the usual; deep breaths, relax myself and do what I know I can’.
Irish shooter Jack Fairclough was in action in the Skeet competition with three qualification rounds today, scoring 71/75 and is currently lying in 25th position after his morning’s work.
The twenty-six year old’s opening series saw him score 23 out of a possible 25, with an improved score of 24 in each of the second and third series. There are two more qualification series tomorrow to determine the top eight finishers that progress to the final 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 75 available to him today, Fairclough, who has roots in Greystones, scored 71.
While leaves him in 25th position, Fairclough will still feel he can contend for a top eight place tomorrow that would see him make the final later in the day.All shooters in the event currently still have two series remaining.
Fairclough reflected on the day when speaking afterwards: “I loved it. I’m so filled with pride to be out here representing my country,” he said.
“I had a really strong first day, I’m really enjoying being out on this range, it’s an amazing facility they have here in Poland. I’m loving every minute of it. We’re all set for tomorrow. We’ve had a strong day today but it’s all about just sticking to the process, trying to do it one by one. I’m just looking forward to getting back out there.”
Four shooters currently have flawless records so far, having scored the maximum number of points on offer.
All of the action from the European Games can be viewed live HERE
RESULTS – Saturday 24th June 2023
Boxing (Nowy Targ Arena)
Women’s 54kg, Preliminaries – Round of 32, Jennifer Lehane (IRL) BEATS Sara Cirkovic (SRB) 3:2, progresses to round of 16
Women’s 57kg, Preliminaries – Round of 32, Michaela Walsh (IRL) BEATS Olga Pavlina Papadatou (GRE) 5:0, progresses to round of 16
Men’s 80kg, Preliminaries – Round of 32, Kelyn Cassidy (IRL) BEATS Mindaugas Gedminas (NOR) 5:0, progress to the round of 16
Skeet Men, Qualification Day 1, Squad 9, Jack Fairclough (IRL) Series 1; scored 23
Skeet Men, Qualification Day 1, Squad 9, Jack Fairclough (IRL) Series 2; scored 24
Skeet Men, Qualification Day 1, Squad 9, Jack Fairclough (IRL) Series 3, scored 24
Score of 71/75 for 3 Series, lying 25th overall, 2 more qualification Series to follow tomorrow.
Men’s 3m Springboard – Preliminaries, Jake Passmore 385.05 (10th)