“This is the best moment of my life – by a mile” – Walker secures sensational gold for Ireland

*All interviews on soundcloud*

30 June 2019


Kurt Walker has secured a gold medal for Ireland in sensational fashion this afternoon, with a unanimous decision win over Mykola Butsenko of Ukraine in the Bantamweight final.


The Antrim boxer put on a stunning exhibition in Minsk, taking all three rounds against Butsenko in what was a repeat of the 2017 European Elite semi-final, which Butsenko won.


Walker was on form from the off, landing some hard, clean punches from early on and managing to keep his composure in the face of some pressure from the Ukrainian. Walker continued to dominate though as the rounds ticked on, and stormed home to an unforgettable unanimous decision.


“I actually can’t describe how I’m feeling, it’s absolutely unbelievable,” he said afterwards. “To come here at the start and believe I’ll win gold, but for it to actually happen is just on a different level.


“He was very tough, he’s been about. This was his third European final so he’s very experienced and he kept coming and coming, so I’m just glad I was able to fight through it. Two years ago in the European Championships he beat me in the semis 5-0 and it just shows I’ve grown so much as a boxer and a man in the last two years


“The coaches need so much credit, the game plan it was unbelievable and I knew it was working. I came back after the first round and they were both buzzing and they’re never usually like that! You usually have to do more and more, but they were both buzzing and they said keep picking it up, and thankfully I did. It’s unbelievable – it was everything coming true. You have these dreams of it happening, but when it actually does happen you don’t know what to do, you just feel so happy it’s unbelievable.”


Earlier on in the day, Team Ireland boxing captain Kellie Harrington was withdrawn from her Lightweight final due to injury but was absolutely thrilled to be coming home to Ireland with a silver medal.


“It’s a great achievement to come out here and get a silver medal, as well as the team picking up six medals. I’m delighted to be a part of such an amazing team and to bring back a silver medal for my country. I’m disappointed to not be fighting today in the finals but sometimes you have to look after yourself as number one priority, we have a bigger picture in mind. It was the right thing, but it still hurts, and a silver medal is nothing to be frowned upon - another major medal to take back home to add to the collection, so I’m happy.


“As team captain coming out here with such a strong team, to be honest I didn’t expect anything different. We got what we came out here for and that’s all that can be asked of us and of the team. I’m very proud of the team and absolutely honoured to be team captain of both male and female.”



In track cycling the last athletes in competition are the Women’s Madison of Lydia Boylan and Lydia Gurley and JB Murphy in the Men’s Omnium. Earlier this morning Mia Griffin finished the Women’s Individual Pursuit with a personal best time of 3.40.444.




Men’s Bantamweight

Kurt Walker (IRL) W Vs Mykola Butsenko (UKR) 29-28, 30-27, 30-27, 29-28, 30-27




12:28 Cycling Track – Lydia Boylan & Lydia Gurley (IRL) Women’s Madison

14:14 Cycling Track – JB Murphy Men’s Omnium

European Games Gold Medallist Kurt Walker has been named as the Team Ireland Flagbearer for the Closing Ceremony of the Games in Minsk. Walker was selected following his sensational win in the Sports Palace Uruchie in Minsk, when he beat Mykola Butsenko from Ukraine 5-0 in the Men’s Bantamweight -56kg today.


“Today was the highlight of my life,” Walker said on learning about the selection, “It’s an absolute honour for me. Coming here the last thing this was the last thing I expected. I’m so honoured to be carrying the flag for Ireland. Honestly, I was so surprised. It’s going to be an unbelievable experience, especially having everyone from Team Ireland marching behind me.”


The announcement was made by Team Ireland Chef de Mission Tricia Heberle once competition had finished for all athletes, “There have been a range of outstanding performances which made it very difficult to decide who carries the flag, it was a difficult decision. But after today it became very clear that there was one person who stood out and we are delighted to select Kurt as the flagbearer for the Closing Ceremony.”


During the European Games sixty-three Irish athletes competed across nine sports, with the ten day programme stacked with personal bests, season bests and top performances from a range of athletes from development to elite. The fourteen top six positions at the European Games for Team Ireland included one gold, two silvers and four bronze medals.


Tomorrow Team Ireland athletes from boxing, badminton and cycling, including all medallists will be arriving into Dublin Airport at 11.15 am. Full details can be found HERE.

1 July at 11.15 in Dublin Airport T1 Arrivals (Area 14)


Team Ireland athletes from Boxing, Badminton and Cycling will be arriving in Dublin Airport on Monday 1 July at 11.15am on Flight LH979. The Team Ireland medal tally is currently seven, with six boxing medals and one badminton medal already guaranteed.


What                    Homecoming for European Games Athletes

When                   Monday July 1

Gather 10:45 at arrivals, Terminal 1, Dublin Airport

Area 14 will only open at 11:00

Duration              Expected 11:15 – 12:15 (Athletes will not collect bags prior to the event so we expect it to commence soon after the scheduled arrival of flight LH978 FRA DUB at 11:00

Running order    11:00     Opening of Area 14 – Entrance for family, friends, supporters and media through Arrivals Level, Terminal 1

11:15     Entrance of athletes into Area 14, photos and meeting with families

11:30     Welcome from Minister and OFI

11:45     Media interviews, photos and meet and greet

12:15     Ends

Who                    Minister Ross, OFI, 35 Athletes from boxing, badminton and cycling


RSVP           HEATHER BOYLE heather@olympicsport.ie




For information, the athletes returning on July 1 will be from Boxing, Badminton and Ccling and have 35 in the travelling party.


Boxers Regan Daly, Kellie Harrington, Michael Nevin, Kurt Walker, Grainne Walsh and Michaela Walsh are already guaranteed medals.


Badminton due Chloe Magee and Sam Magee will also be bringing home a medal after booking a place in the semi-final of the Mixed Doubles.


There will be an opportunity to interview athletes.

On the final day of the competition at the European Games a decision has been made to withdraw Kellie Harrington from her final fight in the Women’s Light -60kg today due to injury. Harrington sustained a hand injury in the semi-final bout with Agnes Alexiusson from Sweden, and she has been deemed unfit to box.


Every attempt was made by the medical staff to manage the injury to her right thumb, to give Harrington an opportunity to compete, but this morning the decision was made that she would be withdrawn. Harrington will receive the silver medal in the Women’s Light -60kg today, and now all attention will be placed on Kurt Walker who is competing for the gold medal in the Men’s Bantam at 11.30 Irish time.


“It’s been a fantastic competition for Kellie,” commented Performance Director Bernard Dunne, “it’s unfortunate this injury has arisen, but the right decision has been made that she doesn’t compete. It is unfortunate that hand injuries are part and parcel of boxing, but we need to manage it the right way to ensure a quick return to action.


“Kellie has Europeans and Worlds before the year is out and upcoming Olympic qualification events that we are looking forward to. In making this decision we had to take in the big picture to ensure that we don’t further injure the hand. Our focus is now on Kurt.”


Harrington added, “I’m disappointed to not be competing but I understand that there’s a bigger picture to be taken into account. It would be too much of a risk to go in there and have another setback. I totally respect the advice of the medical staff and the decision of the Performance Director.


“While I’m disappointed, I’m still going to be there for Kurt my teammate, as captain. It’s been an honour to be captain of this boxing team, and I’m going to be cheering him on and I am can’t wait to watch our team collect their medals, and I will carry my silver medal with pride.


“I’m looking forward to getting home, recovering and getting back at it as soon as possible. We came out here having had a fantastic training camp and were excited about testing ourselves against the best in Europe blocks, and we did that. It’s been a fantastic competition for the Irish boxing team and I’m going to continue to trust the team that’s supporting me.”


There will be no further comment until the final athletes have finished competition later today. Boxing and cycling is on the schedule, and the focus for the boxing team will be on Kurt Walker who is competing in the Final at 11:30 Irish time.




07:25 Cycling Track – JB Murphy Men’s Omnium

07:50 Cycling Track – Mia Griffin Women’s Individual Pursuit

10:00 Badminton – Mixed Doubles - Medal Ceremony (Chloe and Sam Magee)

11:05 Boxing – Regan Buckley - Medal Ceremony (after) Men’s Light Fly -49kg

11:30 Boxing – Kurt Walker Vs Mykola Butsenko (UKR) Men’s Bantam -56kg

12:20 Boxing – Michael Nevin - Medal Ceremony (after) Men’s Middle -75kg

12:28 Cycling Track – Lydia Boylan & Lydia Gurley (IRL) Women’s Madison


All the Team Ireland action was in the velodrome on Saturday evening, with Shannon McCurley competing in the Women’s Omnium and Mark Downey and Fintan Ryan racing the Men’s Madison at the European Games in Minsk.


McCurley finished 8th in the four-race event that was won by multiple world champion Kirsten Wild of the Netherlands. McCurley, who was the first Irish female track cyclist to compete at the Olympics when she raced the Women’s Keirin in Rio, has since switched her focus to endurance events, changing her physique and now mixing with the best endurance riders in the world.


Endurance is certainly the name of the game for the Omnium, which is a four race event, with points awarded to riders according to their finish position, and the overall winner is decided at the end of the final Points Race. Speaking after an aggressive finale, the Australian based cyclist said, “it was a really rough race, a bit different to what I’m used to. I’m used to really sprinting it out, and this was a very tactical race.


“I’m used to really sprinting it out, and it was a very tactical race. My plan was to go in and be aggressive, it was something I couldn’t do last year, so I leaned up and got a lot fitter since the world championships. I came in wanting a medal, but things didn’t go my way, I’m still getting there.”


In the Men’s Madison meanwhile, the newly formed pairing of Mark Downey and Fintan Ryan finished a credible 8th position with 18 points. The Madison is a 200 lap race with two riders on a team, each taking turns to race, slinging each other into action. Every ten laps there is a sprint lap where points are awarded for the first four over the line.


Downey and Ryan started strong, placing in the top five early on and holding position by gaining crucial points on sprint laps throughout. With 45 laps to go it was looking good for Team Ireland, with the Irish duo sitting in podium position. An aggressive finish from the remainder of the field however pushed them back to 8th place at the end of the 50km race.

“That was a really positive start to the race. Something we always lacked is coming into the race super early. And we made the plan for the first ninety laps, we really wanted to take (the race) by the scruff of the neck, and we did that,” Downey commented after the race.


“It was a hard race, really long, 200 laps, 50k, I really felt it. But we were sitting in the top four or five for most of the race. That was my first time with Mark for over two years, and first time doing a race that length for three years, so I’m really happy with it,” Ryan commented after finishing the the longest race on the track programme.

The Wicklow rider knew they were sitting in podium position but kept his cool, “We knew where we were sitting but we didn’t want to get too anxious because you’d use too much of yourself.”


Tomorrow will be another big day for the Irish team, with the medal colour being decided for Kellie Harrington and Kurt Walker who compete in boxing finals, in addition to more track cycling on the schedule.




Women’s Omnium: Shannon McCurley 8th overall after 4 races.

Gold Kirsten Wild (NED)

Silver Evgeniia Augustinas (RUS)

Bronze Elisa Balsamo (ITA)


Men’s Madison: Mark Downey and Fintan Ryan

Gold Switzerland

Silver Netherlands

Bronze Austria




07:25 Cycling Track – TBC Men’s Omnium

10:00 Badminton – Mixed Doubles - Medal Ceremony (Chloe and Sam Magee)

10:15 Boxing – Kellie Harrington Vs Mira Potkonen (FIN) Women’s Light -60kg

11:05 Boxing – Regan Buckley - Medal Ceremony (after) Men’s Light Fly -49kg

11:30 Boxing – Kurt Walker Vs Mykola Butsenko (UKR) Men’s Bantam -56kg

12:20 Boxing – Michael Nevin - Medal Ceremony (after) Men’s Middle -75kg

12:28 Cycling Track – Lydia Boylan & Lydia Gurley (IRL) Women’s Madison


This evening saw four boxers and two track cyclists in action at the European Games in Minsk, on an evening when boxers Kellie Harrington and Kurt Walker upgraded their bronze medals and booked their place in their respective finals on Sunday.


Kellie Harrington has teed up a mouth-watering final showdown in Minsk this weekend with a well-known foe of Irish boxing, Mira Potkonen of Finland, following a superb semi-final unanimous decision win over Agnes Alexiusson of Sweden this evening.


Potkonen, remembered by most Irish fans for beating Katie Taylor at the 2016 Rio Olympic Games, is set to be a fierce opponent for Harrington on Sunday and will undoubtedly be one of the bouts of the weekend for fans.


Today’s opening round battle was a masterclass from Harrington as she dominated the bout from the off, landing some key blows and pushing Alexiusson onto the back foot early on.


Harrington’s momentum carried into the second round, as she continued to box strong and keep firm control of proceedings. A fight back from the Swede in the third was not enough, as Harrington took home the unanimous decision win in the end to advance to the final and the battle for gold.

“I’m feeling great!” she said afterwards. “I’m in the final! The best thing about it is we’re a wolf pack, I’m not a lone wolf, we’re a wolf pack, we are all here as a team, we’re all medalling and it’s fantastic. Irish boxing is well and truly alive.


“I haven’t had a fight since February so to come out here now and be in a European final that’s just – this is what dreams are made of. I have, I think, nearly every medal now. This is just fantastic for a girl out of Dublin 1.”


Kurt Walker is also through to the final, following a stand out performance against Peter McGrail of Great Britain this evening in the men’s bantamweight semi-final, winning out on a 3-2 split decision. This evening’s win was Walker’s second successive victory over the British boxer and the pair dished up another thrilling and close encounter, with Walker challenged at every turn.


“Again, it was so tough, he’s so good tactically,” Walker said afterwards. “I wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for the coaches telling me my game plan honestly. I wasn’t doing some things right which I should have been doing but I got the decision and I’m delighted.


“It’s unbelievable. Four years ago, I was put out in the first fight and now I’m in the final – hard work, it really does help.”


There was disappointment for both Regan Buckley and Michael Nevin in their respective bouts this evening, with Buckley shaded by a 3-2 split decision to lose out to Artur Hovhannisyan of Armenia, while there was heartbreak for Michael Nevin as he was knocked out in the opening round by Italian Salvatore Cavallaro. Both Buckley and Nevin will take home bronze medals to Ireland this weekend.


Buckley fought hard early on, winning the first round well before Hovhannisyan responded in kind in the second. A tough fought third round followed, but Hovhannisyan again looked to have the edge, and the judges deemed him the winner by a 3-2 split decision.


“Yeh it was a real battle, it was a very good fight,” Buckley said afterwards. “I think the first round I boxed very well, I was kind of controlling the distance very well with the jab and caught him with some lovely shots. The second round, I thought I’d done enough to get it and the third round, I just got into his fight a little bit too much, kind of standing toe-to-toe with a smaller guy, it wasn’t really working out - my punches were going over his head.


“But look, we’ll go back to the drawing board and we’ll go from there. This is my first major international so it’s great experience for me, win, lose or draw. I’m very happy with the bronze medal, I trained very hard for this competition and it would have been nice to come home with the win, but I was switching off small bits in the ring and that’s what I need to work on in future.”


In track cycling Orla Walsh and Marc Potts were in action. Walsh finished 10th in the Women’s Scratch Race, and Potts was 11th in the Men’s Points Race, where he finished on 8th points. Potts attacked several times looking to gain a lap, but nothing stuck. Tomorrow on the velodrome Robyn Stewart will compete in the Women’s Sprint, and Shannon McCurley will race in the Women’s Omnium. The Men’s Madison will feature a new combination of Mark Downey and Fintan Ryan.





Women’s Lightweight 60kg

Kellie Harrington (IRL) wins v Agnes Alexiusson (SWE) on unanimous decision: 29-28, 29-28, 29-28, 29-28, 30-27.

Men’s Light Flyweight 49kg

Regan Buckley (IRL) loses v Artur Hovhannisyan (ARM) on 3-2 split: 28-29, 27-30, 28-29, 29-28, 29-28

Men’s Bantamweight 56kg

Kurt Walker (IRL) wins v Peter McGrail (GBR) on 3-2 split: 30-27, 28-29, 28-29, 29-28, 28-29.

Men’s Middleweight 75kg

Michael Nevin (IRL) loses on knockout v Salvatore Cavallaro (ITA)




Women’s Scratch Race: Orla Walsh 11th

Gold Kirsten Wild (NED)

Silver Martina Fidanza (ITA)

Bronze Hanna Tserakh (BLR)

Men’s Points Race: Marc Potts 10th on 8 Points.

Gold Christos Volikakis (GRE)

Silver Jan Willem Van Schip (NED)

Bronze Dmitri Mukhomediarov (RUS)




08:00 Badminton – Chloe Magee & Sam Magee (IRL) Vs Gabrielle Adcock & Chris Adcock (GB) Mixed Doubles Semi Finals

08:00 Cycling Track – Robyn Stewart (IRL) Women’s Sprint Qualifying

10:20 Cycling Track – Shannon McCurley (IRL) Women’s Omnium Scratch Race I

10:35 Cycling Track – Robyn Stewart (IRL) Women’s Sprint 1/32 Rounds

12:35 Cycling Track – Shannon McCurley (IRL) Women’s Omnium Tempo Race II

15:00 Cycling Track – Robyn Stewart (IRL) Women’s Sprint 1/16 Rounds

16:00 Boxing – Michaela Walsh (IRL) Vs Stanimira Petrova (BUL) Women’s Feather -57kg

16:15 Boxing - Grainne Walsh (IRL) Medal Ceremony (after) Women’s Welter -69kg

16:23 Cycling Track – Shannon McCurley (IRL) Women’s Omnium Elimination Race III

18:01 Cycling Track – Shannon McCurley (IRL) Women’s Omnium Points Race IV

18:57 Cycling Track – Mark Downey & Fintan Ryan (IRL) Men’s Madison



07:25 Cycling Track – TBC Men’s Omnium

10:00 Badminton – Mixed Doubles Finals

10:15 Boxing – Kellie Harrington Vs Mira Potkonen (FIN) Women’s Light -60kg

11:05 Boxing – Regan Buckley Medal Ceremony (after) Men’s Light Fly -49kg

11:30 Boxing – Kurt Walker Vs Mykola Butsenko (UKR) Men’s Bantam -56kg

12:20 Boxing – Michael Nevin Medal Ceremony (after) Men’s Middle -75kg

12:28 Cycling Track – Lydia Boylan & Lydia Gurley (IRL) Women’s Madison

17:00 Boxing Kellie Harrington (IRL) v Agnes Alexiusson (SWE), Women’s Lightweight 60kg



Friday got off to a great start for Team Ireland when boxer Michaela Walsh booked her place in the final of the Women’s Featherweight -57kg beating Russian boxer Daria Abramova in the semi-finals guaranteeing her silver. This was not long after badminton secured a guaranteed medal with a 2-1 win by Chloe and Sam Magee in the Mixed Doubles.


Grainne Walsh wins the bronze medal in the Women’s Welterweight -69kg. She was denied the opportunity to upgrade her medal colour on a 3-2 split decision by her Polish opponent.


In the velodrome the track cyclists were also in action with Robyn Stewart finishing second in the repechage of the Women’s Keirin today, coming close to passing GB’s Katy Marchant for the one place on offer in the semi-final. The Women’s Team Pursuit clocked a time of 4.30.118, over a second faster than their qualifying ride to finish 5th overall in a new team combination.


This evenings schedule will see boxers Kellie Harrington, Regan Buckley, Kurt Walker and Michael Nevin looking to upgrade their bronze medals in the semi-finals. In the velodrome Orla Walsh and Marc Potts will be competing in their respective Scratch Race and Points Race.






Chloe and Sam Magee have secured a semi-final spot and at least a bronze medal in the Mixed Doubles at the Falcon Club in Minsk this morning, Ireland’s seventh medal of the European Games so far.


The dynamic duo, who won Bronze at the 2015 European Games, outclassed the Netherlands pair of Robin Tabeling and Selena Piek over two sets, 19-21 and 17-21, to progress to the semi-final where they will face Great Britain’s Gabrielle and Chris Adcock for a place in the final.

The Magees started strong and kept their composure throughout both sets of today’s match, with Tabeling and Piek leading on only one occasion. There were joyous scenes as the Nederlands went wide to give Ireland their final point and the win.


Reacting Chloe commented “Amazing, we really wanted that this week but we’ve had such a tough draw and now to be standing here knowing that we are going home with a medal is the most incredible feeling that you can imagine.


On a second European Games medal she said “We’ve battled through so many tough games, but I think right now it feels incredible. I think the first one we won, will always stand to us, but this one feels amazing.”


On tomorrow’s match against European number one’s and gold medal favourites Sam commented “I think it’s an exciting match, we’ve played them a few times, the best results we’ve had was taking one set off them, so we have to take that into consideration.


“Tomorrow we’ve no pressure, they’ve the pressure, they’re top seeds, they’re world class players, they’re expected to win, so we have to use the other side of the coin when we’re coming in, free, no pressure and try and deliver the same quality of performance as we did today.”





Michaela Walsh moved one step closer to a gold medal at the European Games in Minsk this afternoon as she won out on a 3-2 split decision in her semi-final clash against Russia’s Daria Abramova.


Today’s bout was certainly a case of revenge is sweet for Walsh though, having lost out to the Russian last year on a 3-2 split decision in the semi-finals of the European Championships. Indeed, much like last June’s bout, another extremely close battle followed, with Walsh firing strong in the opening round to take the upper hand early on.


Abramova came back hard in the second round though, and delivered some powerful blows to test Walsh at every turn. The third round was just as close, and despite a late rally from Abramova, a tactically strong Walsh held her composure to win out 3-2.

“I feel amazing, it’s great to get the win,” Walsh said afterwards. “I boxed that girl last year in the European semi final and it was a close fight so it was great to get one back. Going in, I had the perfect game plan and I tried my best to stick with it. Obviously when you’re fighting opposition so high, it can go either way, but I feel I performed really well.


“As Grainne said the other day, this is what dreams are made of. I’m one fight away from gold now. So I just have to refocus…. The job’s not done.”


Speaking of Grainne Walsh, the Tullamore based boxer was in also in semi-final this afternoon but came out the wrong side of a 3-2 split decision result in her bout against Poland’s Karolina Koszewska.


A super opening round from Walsh saw her slip inside the long reaching stretch of the much taller Polish boxer, getting some solid body hits and moving out of Koszewska’s range. Koszewska settled more in the second round though, and her length and size, coupled with a strong backhand, caused Walsh periods of trouble to tee up a cagey finish.


A closely fought third round saw Walsh take back some of the control, and dictated the match for solid spells. It wasn’t enough though as Koszewska was crowned winner on a 3-2 split decision in the end. Walsh bows out of the Games with a bronze medal for Team Ireland.

“A tough fight, but they’ve all been tough fights to be honest with you,” Grainne said afterwards. “I just fell short, I found her range awkward, but I did what I could and I felt it could have went either way. I’m glad I’m on the podium and I’ll dust myself off – it’s a learning curve, it’s never a loss, it’s a learning.”




The Women’s Team Pursuit knocked one second off their qualifying time to finish fifth with 4.30.118 in the 4km test against the clock. The event is a contest whereby four riders compete as a team in a race against the clock, rotating the person at the front throughout.


Yesterday in qualifying the quartet of Orla Walsh, Mia Griffin, Lydia Gurley and Shannon McCurley were competing for the first time together, and today were happy to go one second quicker in the second fastest time clocked by an Irish Team Pursuit. They started hard and by the halfway mark were already 2 seconds faster than their qualifying time, catching the Ukrainian team who started on the opposite side of the track.

Griffin was pleased with their performance after the round, “We went into the qualifying thinking we had 3-4 seconds on Ukraine in the qualifying, and we thought maybe we would get in their slip stream, get a second or two on what we did yesterday, and we went a second faster.”


In the Women’s Keirin Robyn Stewart finished second in her repechage, after missing out on a direct route to the semi-final in the opening heat, the winner Katy Marchant from GB took the one place on offer, with Stewart pushing hard in the final 100m.

The Keirin is a sprint event where a derny, or motor pacer, sets the pace for the riders who line behind before the derny peels off and leaves the riders to sprint the remaining laps.


This evening will see more action in the velodrome with Orla Walsh competing in the Women’s Scratch Race and Marc Potts taking on the Men’s Points Race.




Women’s Featherweight 57kg

Michaela Walsh (IRL) wins over Daria Abramova (RUS) on 3:2 split decision – 29-28, 28-29, 28-29, 29-28, 29-28


Women’s Welterweight 69kg

Grainne Walsh (IRL) loses to Karolina Koszewska (POL) on a 3-2 split decision – 29-28, 27-30, 29-28, 27-30, 30-27




Robin Tabeling & Selena Piek (Netherlands) v Chloe Magee & Sam Magee (Ireland) W 19-21, 17-21


Cycling Track


Women’s Keirin Heats: Robyn Stewart 4th, moves to Repechages.


Women’s Team Pursuit: Orla Walsh, Mia Griffin, Lydia Gurley, Shannon McCurley finish 5th 4.30.118.





17:00 Boxing Kellie Harrington (IRL) v Agnes Alexiusson (SWE), Women’s Lightweight 60kg


18:00 Cycling Orla Walsh Women’s Scratch Race


18:15 Boxing Regan Buckley (IRL) v Artur Hovhannisyan (ARM), Men’s Light Flyweight 49kg


18:30 Boxing Peter McGrail (GBR) v Kurt Walker (IRL), Men’s Bantamweight 56kg


18:35 Cycling March Potts Men’s Points Race


19:45 Boxing Salvatore Cavallaro (ITA) v Michael Nevin (IRL), Men’s Middleweight 75kg


Team Ireland’s Felix English came within metres of winning a medal in the Men’s Scratch Race at the European Games today. It was the first day of track cycling at the Games, and English finished fourth in the 15km race. Lydia Boylan was also in action, racing in the Women’s Points Race, where she finished 11th with five points.


In the qualifying rounds of the Gymnastics All Around, Adam Steele and Emma Slevin finished just outside the top eighteen and are listed as first reserves for the Finals this weekend.


Sixty three Irish athletes are competing across nine sports at the European Games in Minsk from the 21-30 June.


Cycling – Track


There was disappointment for Felix English this evening in the Men’s Scratch Race, as an extremely tight finish saw him pipped on the line by Belarusian Yauheni Karaliok to leave English in fourth place. The race, which is well known in Irish cycling circles following Martyn Irvine’s 2013 World Championship win in the very same velodrome as this evening’s race, was a tough test of endurance, speed and patience, and despite Irvine being trackside coaching the athletes, it just wasn’t enough to help English over a tantalisingly close bronze medal line.

“It was a very stop-starty race, the pace was on and off,” a frustrated English said afterwards. “Everyone was watching each other really closely, as we haven’t seen each other since March so no one knows how everyone is going. I was convinced I had at least third, and coming over the line a guy came past me with five metres to go. I didn’t see him coming.” 


Earlier in the evening, Lydia Boylan competed in the Women’s Points Race final – a 25km race, which is 100 laps of the track, with points being awarded every ten laps for the first over the line. The winner is the rider with the most points at the end of the 25km. World silver medallist Boylan went on the leader board in the early stages of the race, winning the second sprint lap, and gaining five points. In the opening half, however, two riders lapped the field pushing Boylan further down. With fifteen laps to go, the Dubliner attacked in an effort that almost worked but she had to settle for eleventh at the end of the 100 laps.

Speaking after the race she said, “The field was pretty mixed, with strong riders, and some really good sprinters in there, making it quite different tactically. Between me, Martyn and Brian we came up with some good tactics, and I tried to stick to them as much as possible – and I tried to score in an early sprint. I really committed to that. I think my legs aren’t quite where they could have been.”


Trackside with the team as a coach was former World Champion Martyn Irvine who won his title in this velodrome.


Tomorrow is another action packed day for Team Ireland with track cycling, badminton and boxing on the schedule.



Cycling Track


Women’s Points Race: Lydia Boylan 11th on 5 Points.

Gold Ganna Solovei (Ukraine)

Silver Verena Eberhardt (Austria)

Bronze Jarmila Machacova (Cech Republic)


Men’s Scratch Race: Felix English 4th

Gold Christos Volikanis (Greece)

Silver Filip Kazimierz Prokopyszn (Poland)

Bronze Yauheni Karaliok (Belarus)





Men’s All Around Qualifying Round: Adam Steele 78.097 (20th Place)

Floor 13.633, Horizontal Bar 12.866, Parallel Bars 12.333, Pommel Horse 13.133, Rings 12.366, Vault 13.766

Women’s All Around Qualifying Round: Emma Slevin 48.865 (21st Place)

Floor 11.733, Beam 11.733, Uneven Bars 12.266, Vault 13.133







Mixed Doubles Quarter Final

Robin Tabeling & Selena Piek (NED) v Chloe Magee & Sam Magee (IRL), 8.40



Cycling (Track)


Women’s Keirin

Robyn Stewart, 11.35


Women’s Team Pursuit

Ireland v Ukraine, 12.35

(Shannon McCurley, Mia Griffin, Lydia Gurley, Orla Walsh)


Women’s Scratch

Orla Walsh, 18.00


Men’s Points Race

Marc Potts, 18.35


Boxing (Semi-Finals)


Women’s Featherweight 57kg

Michaela Walsh (IRL) v Daria Abramova (RUS), 12.00


Women’s Welterweight 69kg

Karolina Koszewska (POL) v Grainne Walsh (IRL), 12.45


Women’s Lightweight 60kg

Kellie Harrington (IRL) v Agnes Alexiusson (SWE), 17.00


Men’s Light Flyweight 49kg

Regan Buckley (IRL) v Artur Hovhannisyan (ARM), 18.15


Men’s Bantamweight 56kg

Peter McGrail (GBR) v Kurt Walker (IRL), 18.30


Men’s Middleweight 75kg

Salvatore Cavallaro (ITA) v Michael Nevin (IRL), 19.45


Frustrating Fourth for Egan in Women’s K1 5000


It was a familiar case of so close yet so far for Jenny Egan in the Women’s K1 5000m today, when she finished fourth with a time of 25.27.936. The afternoon session on day seven of the European Games featured Team Ireland athletes in canoeing, cycling, badminton and gymnastics. The track cycling Women’s Team Pursuit qualified for the first round with a time of 4.31.358, and gymnasts Adam Steele and Emma Slevin performed well in the All Around event. Badminton duo Chloe Magee and Sam Magee move to the quarter finals, while Nhat exited his competition.


Sixty three Irish athletes are competing across nine sports at the European Games in Minsk from the 21-30 June.




Chloe and Sam Magee are through to the quarter finals of the Mixed Doubles and will fight for a medal tomorrow against Robin Tabeling and Selena Piek of the Netherlands.


The Donegal duo recorded a comprehensive win against the Belarus pair of Aliaksei Konakh and Krestina Silich 21-9, 21-5 this morning, but had a nervous wait for the final group game between France and Russia to conclude before their place in the quarter final was confirmed.

Speaking once the pair had confirmed the quarter final Chloe commented ‘It was very very tough (to watch) we knew that we had obviously done everything that we could do, so we could just sit and watch, but it was hard to watch the Russian’s versus the French. We knew it was going to be close but happy to be through.’


On the Belarus game this morning Sam commented ‘We knew what we had to do, we had to win those sets comfortably, I didn’t realise how important the score was until we came off the court, but I think we had the best score against Belarus across all the pairs and that would have stood to us, it ended up we didn’t need the points but at a lot of times it looked like we would’.

Nhat Nguyen exited the Men’s Singles competition at the round of 16 today after a tough match against Great Britain’s Toby Penty. Penty was impressive taking the game in two sets 12-21 and 11-21. A disappointed Nguyen commented ‘I think he was definitely playing better than me today, I had some close games against him before, today I couldn’t bring my A game and he did.’


Canoe Sprint



There was disappointment for Irish canoeist Jenny Egan on the course in Minsk this afternoon after she finished just outside the medals in fourth place in the K1 5000m final.


This afternoon’s race was Jenny’s third of the day, having competed in the K1 200 B and K1 500 B finals earlier this morning, dealing with extremely tricky conditions all day as the warm Minsk weather took a turn for the worse, with very high winds and heavy rain.  This third race was Egan’s main event having finished in fourth place in the same race at the 2015 European Games in Baku and was hoping to go one better this time round.


It wasn’t to be though, as Egan finished out in a time of 25:27.936 to see her placed in fourth spot once more, behind gold medal winner and home crowd hero, Maryna Litvinchuk of Belarus, while Dora Bodonyi of Hungary and Mariana Petrusova of Slovakia took home the silver and bronze medals.

Speaking afterwards, she said: “To come fourth again, after coming fourth four years ago [in Baku] is tough. But I did my best out there.


“There was thunder and lightning and wind, but you know, everyone had those conditions, everyone had to race in them. For me it was probably better as there was less heat, but it was tough, there was a big head wind out there on the home straight. I gave it my all, fourth place is not bad, but it’s just tough when you miss out on the medals again.”


Ireland’s Ronan Foley had one race this afternoon, also competing in the K1 5000m final. A tough race for the Irish man saw him finish out in a time of 23:16.064 to claim 16th spot.

“It’s a bit of a heartbreaking end to a brilliant week of racing that was full of PBs,” Foley reflected afterwards. “I had a good start to today’s race, but it’s a field full of top guys and they’re all A performers out there - they are as good as it gets.”


Cycling – Track


The track cyclists kicked off their European Games campaign today with the Women’s Team Pursuit competing in the qualifying rounds, where they finished fifth with a time of 4.31.358. They will now move into the next round and have an opportunity to get into the medal ride offs.

Analysing the results Performance Director Brian Nugent was happy with how the team performed and believes they can go faster in the next round, “We had a brand new team pursuit out tonight, to be within two seconds of the national record it shows so much excitement for the future. Yes we could have gone maybe one or two seconds quicker if we hadn’t made tiny errors in the last kilometre, but we can iron them out tomorrow. There are two little changes that we can make to knock two seconds off, and we will all be gunning to qualify for the medal ride tomorrow.”


The Irish track cycling team has grown in strength and depth and he is encouraged knowing that there is a pool of athletes that can slot into the team pursuit and produce results. Tonight will see Lydia Boylan compete in the Women’s Points Race, an event in which she won silver at the World Championships earlier this year. Felix English will also be in action, competing in the Men’s Scratch Race. Both athletes will be coached track side by former World Champion Martyn Irvine, who won his world title in the Scratch Race in this velodrome in 2013.





Adam Steele and Emma Slevin were competing in the qualifying rounds of the All Around event, where they performed well, just outside their personal bests.


In the All Around event gymnasts compete across six events for men, and four for women, with scores awarded based on the difficulty and execution of the individual routines. At the end of the qualifying rounds the top eighteen gymnasts qualify for the finals, and they also have opportunities to qualify for the finals in the individual disciplines.

Both Steele and Slevin executed clean routines, and were pleased with how they performed. Speaking after his qualifying round Steele said, “I’m really happy, one mistake, but you never have a perfect combo. Went really well on the rings, it’s a routine that I’ve been doing for a couple of years now, so I’m happy with it.”

This is not the first multi-sport event for Slevin, she also competed in the Youth Olympics Games last October. “It was good. Not my best competition, but not my worst either, no major mistakes. I’m really happy with my performance because recently I’ve been struggling with a few injuries, but I managed to pull through and do it so I’m happy.”


Performance Director Sally Johnson pleased with Adam Steele and Emma Slevin’s Performance so far 👍👍😘#TeamIreland ☘️🇮🇪@GymnasticsIre @sallyfilmer pic.twitter.com/0v0HdTmvjj

— Team Ireland (@TeamIreland) June 27, 2019


Performance Director Sally Johnson was happy that both athletes executed their routines well, “I’m very pleased with them. They coped very well, paced themselves and they hit the targets we set for them so I’m happy with that. They kept themselves pretty contained throughout the competition. Emma contained herself very well, her bars were excellent, one of the best I’ve seen her do them. Adam did very well, he did an excellent job on the apparatus, couple of upgrades on the high bar which were excellent, exciting routine to watch and had us on the edge of the seat. I’m very pleased with both of them.”






Mixed Doubles Group Rounds: Aliaksei Konakg & Krestina Silich (BLR) Vs Chloe Magee & Sam Magee (IRL) W 9-21, 11-21

Men’s Singles Round of 16: Nhat Nguyen (IRL) Vs Toby Penty (GB) W 12-21, 11-21


Canoe Sprint


Women’s K1 200 B Final: Jenny Egan 8th with

Women’s K1 500 B Final: Jenny Egan 8th with

Women’s K1 5000 A Final: Jenny Egan 4th with

Men’s K1 5000 A Final: Ronan Foley 15th with


Cycling Track


Women’s Team Pursuit 4km: Shannon McCurley, Mia Griffin, Lydia Gurley and Orla Walsh IRL – 4.31.358.




Men’s All Around Qualifying Round: Adam Steele 78.097 (currently 9th, more to compete)

Floor 13.633, Horizontal Bar 12.866, Parallel Bars 12.333, Pommel Horse 13.133, Rings 12.366, Vault 13.766

Women’s All Around Qualifying Round: Emma Slevin 48.865 (currently 15th, more to compete)

Floor 11.733, Beam 11.733, Uneven Bars 12.266, Vault 13.133




17:30 Cycling Track – Lydia Boylan, Women’s Points Race

18:15 Cycling Track – Felix English, Men’s Scratch Race


Reigning World Champion Kellie Harrington announced her arrival at the 2019 Minsk European Games in style this evening, securing a 4-1 split decision win over Italy’s Irma Testa in the Women’s Lightweight quarter-final bout.


The Dubliner had a long wait to get into the ring, with this evening’s bout being her first of the Games but put in a clinical display to secure Ireland’s sixth medal.  Harrington settled quickly, landing some quick opening blows on Testa to get the match underway, and an interesting battle ensued, as the two edged around each other in the early exchanges. Harrington soon began to assert herself though, and despite being forced to box off the back foot at stages, some key clean blows and nice combos saw her drive home to a convincing victory.


“It was a real twitchy fight. It was like a cat and mouse, but I don’t know who the cat was or who the mouse was!” Harrington said afterwards. “I felt like I was landing the cleaner, heavier shots than hers. I felt like I won all three rounds comfortably, so I’m happy with it.


“It felt great to be back in the ring, I haven’t had a fight since February so I’m happy with the performance and I know now that my fitness is there and that will drive me on in the next fight. Some people think ‘oh you’re a top seed, it’s great’ but being a top seed you have to wait longer, it’s more mental torture than anything. It’s great to be on the same team where everyone else is medalling – it’s great for Irish boxing and it’s great for Irish sport.”


There was disappointment for Aoife O’Rourke in her quarter final bout this evening meanwhile as she lost out against tough opposition in the form of Commonwealth gold medallist and World bronze medallist Lauren Price of Great Britain.


Price was in control from the off, dominating the pace of the bout from the early stages, and denying O’Rourke the opportunity to assert her game plan. O’Rourke rallied well, pulling off some nice shots, but Price continued to maintain control of the bout and ran out winner on a unanimous decision.



Tomorrow will be another busy day for Team Ireland, with gymnastics and track cycling kicking off their campaign.

Sixty-three athletes are competing across nine sports for Team Ireland at the European Games in Minsk, which run from the 21-30 June.



Women’s Light -60kg Q/F Kellie Harrington (IRL) W Vs Irma Testa 4-1

Women’s Middle 5-0 Q/F Aoife O’Rourke (IRL) Vs Lauren Price (GB) W

*Two bronze medals will be awarded at the Games to the losers of the semi-final bouts.



*Note the schedule may be subject to change *

08:00 Badminton – Chloe Magee & Sam Magee (IRL) Vs Aliaksei Konakg & Krestina Silich (BLR)

08:00 Canoeing - Jenny Egan Women’s K1 500 B Final

12:00 Canoeing - Jenny Egan Women’s K1 200 B Final

13:00 Cycling – Lydia Boylan, Mia Griffin, Lydia Gurley, Orla Walsh

14:00 Canoeing - Jenny Egan Women’s K1 5000 A Final

14:30 Canoeing – Ronan Foley Men’s K1 5000 A Final

15:30 Cycling Track – Lydia Boylan, Women’s Points Race

18:15 Cycling Track – Felix English, Men’s Scratch Race

TBC Badminton – Nhat Nguyen (IRL) Vs TBC

Michaela Walsh, Grainne Walsh and Kurt Walker overcame their boxing opponents bringing the guaranteed medal tally for Team Ireland to five on a successful afternoon of action for Ireland at the European Games in Minsk. Badminton and canoeing also saw success with Nhat securing a pass to the round of 16 and Joshua Magee and Paul Reynolds winning their match. Rachael Darragh fought hard in her final Group Stage match, but it was not her day. In canoeing Jenny Egan qualified to the B Finals of the Women’s K1 200, and Ronan Foley clocked a personal best in his Men’s K1 200 semi-final.


Sixty-three athletes are competing across nine sports for Team Ireland at the European Games in Minsk, which run from the 21-30 June.




Nhat Nguyen secured his place in the last 16 of the Men’s Singles at the European Games today and earned crucial points towards Olympic qualification, as the 19-year-old beat Austria’s Luka Wraber to progress from Group F in second place.


A nervy start from the Irishman saw Wraber take the first set 21-19, but a determined and focused Nguyen recovered to take the next two sets and the game 12-21 and 14-21.

Commenting after the match, Nguyen said “I’m quite relieved, I’m really happy that I mentally turned my head around after the first set, didn’t distract myself and kind of manned up to just go for it in the second and third, which I did and I’m really happy that I did it.”


Nguyen will find out his opponent for tomorrow after this evening’s 7pm draw.


Josh Magee and Paul Reynolds recorded their first win of the tournament in the Men’s Doubles today beating Estonia’s Kristjan Kaljurand and Raul Kasner. A slow start in the first set saw the Irish team trail by 8 points but they stormed back to take the win 21-19. A more confident game two saw the pair then secure the victory 21-16.

Happy with today’s performance, the pair who have been together for just one year commented “It’s good to get a win after two tough days for us, we performed quite well the first day but the second was a bit worse, so it’s good to come back up and finish on a high.”


Rachael Darragh fought hard in her final group game, but it was Finland’s Airi Mikkela who took the match points winning 21-16, 21-19. Speaking after the match Darragh commented, “I knew before I came here that I was up for a very tough week, these girls are all ranked a lot higher than me in the world ranking but I just came here with the intention to leave my best performances on the court and I think I’ve done that so it’s a happy/sad kind of feeling at the minute.”



“This is what dreams are made of” - Sensational afternoon at boxing sees Ireland’s medal tally rise to five


Canoe Sprint  


Jenny Egan has qualified for the B Final in the Women’s K1 200m finishing 7th in the semi-finals today with a time of 43.427. The heats and semis of the event were within one hour of each other, and Egan knocked over a second off the time she produced in the heats earlier in the day.  In the K1 200 events, the top three boats over the line in the semi-finals progress to the A Finals, with boats 4-7 moving into the B Final.

Speaking after her race, Egan said, “I’m really happy to make the B Final in the K1 200m, it’s a big improvement from a few weeks ago at the World Cups. It was a good race, it was quite windy out there, quite a side wind so you had to adjust your technique to cope with the conditions. But I’m happy with it and through to the B Final of the 200 tomorrow.”

Ronan Foley finished within one second of qualifying for the B Final in his Men’s K1 200 – finishing eighth in his heat with a personal best time of 38.413. The 19 year-old Dubliner is one of the youngest athletes on Team Ireland and is soaking up the experience.


“200m isn’t really my distance it’s more of an explosive type distance for the stronger guys out here. I’m more of an endurance guy so I prefer the 1000m. But it was good to get out there and get the experience and do my best.”






Luka Wrabber (AUT)  Vs Nhat Nguyen W (IRL) 21-19, 12-21, 14-21


Josh Magee & Paul Reynolds (IRL) W Vs Kristjan Kaljurand & Paul Kasner (EST) 21-19, 21-16


Airi Mikkela (FIN) W Vs Rachael Darragh (IRL) 21-16, 21-19




Women’s Feather -57kg Q/F Ornella Wahner (GER) Vs Michaela Walsh (IRL) W 1-4


Women’s Welter -69kg Q/F Grainne Walsh (IRL) W Vs Elina Gustafsson 5-0


Men’s Bantam -56kg Q/F Samuel Kistohurry (FRA) Vs Kurt Walker W 0-5


*Two bronze medals will be awarded at the Games to the losers of the semi-final bouts.




Women’s K1 200 Heats Jenny Egan (IRL) 5th with 44.608

Women’s K1 200 Semis Jenny Egan (IRL) 7th with 43.427 Q B Final


Men’s K1 200 Heats Ronan Foley (IRL) 7th with 39.049

Men’s K1 200 Semis Ronan Foley (IRL) 8th with 38.413




*Note the schedule may be subject to change *


17:00 Boxing – Kellie Harrington (IRL) Vs Irma Testa (ITA) Women’s Light -60kg


17:45 Boxing – Aoife O’Rourke (IRL) Quarter Finals Women’s Middle -75kg


“This is what dreams are made of” - Sensational afternoon at boxing sees Ireland’s medal tally rise to five


A sensational afternoon in the boxing ring for Ireland has seen Team Ireland’s medal tally rise to five thanks to three superb performances from Michaela Walsh, Grainne Walsh and Kurt Walker in their respective quarter-final bouts.

Michaela Walsh was first into the ring and put on a stunning exhibition of boxing to drive home to a memorable victory that saw her knock out the current World Champion and number one seed, Ornella Wahner of Germany on a 4-1 split decision.


A close opening round saw Walsh and Wahner sizing each other up early on, with Wahner landing some hard blows in the opening stages. Walsh found her rhythm quickly though and began to dictate the pace of the fight with some quality shots landing. A cagey second round followed, as Wahner was not giving up easily, but a gritty performance from Walsh saw her take the win in style.


“I feel great, I felt a bit surprised that I had a split but obviously I was against the current World Champion,” she said afterwards. “It was amazing to get that win. I had a tough draw, but that’ll make winning the gold medal more worth it.


“Since she won gold in my weight my eyes have been on her - I’ve been wanting to fight her for a long time. I boxed her as a youth boxer in the semi-finals of the World Championships, and she beat me by one point and stole my dream of becoming a youth world champion, so I wasn’t going to let her steal my dream of becoming a European Games champion. Thankfully I’m into the next stage now, but I’m not satisfied yet - the job’s not done yet.”


Grainne Walsh was also in dazzling form as she stormed home to Ireland’s first unanimous quarter-final win this afternoon, with victory over European Champion, Elina Gustafsson of Finland. Grainne dominated from the off, taking complete control of the opening round and not allowing Gustafsson to settle. A stronger second round from Gustafsson did not deter Walsh as she kept her cool and delivered a polished performance, landing some key blows to see her home to glory.

“This is what dreams are made of,” a thrilled Grainne said afterwards. “I’m actually a bit emotional, it’s a great achievement and I’m just delighted with myself. I felt my technique and my speed would be enough to beat her, I had to bite down hard – that’s two tough fights now in three days but the job is only half done now, I’m fully focused to go the full way.”


Last into the ring for Ireland this afternoon was Kurt Walker who saw off a difficult challenge from Samuel Kistohurry of France in his men’s bantamweight quarter-final. The Frenchman came out all guns blazing in the opening round, pushing Walker on to the back foot and dictating the pace of the early exchanges. A quick switch in style from Walker though saw him take control of the bout and he showcased his depth and strength to drive home to a unanimous decision victory.

“It feels brilliant,” he reflected afterwards. “It’s probably the first ever time I’ve fought in that style : he was too fit to keep off and he would have caught me on the back foot so I had to fight his style which I’ve never really done, so I’m just glad I tried it and won myself a medal. That’s two tough fights now, but I’m happy, I’m improving every time. Our team is flying at the moment so it’s brilliant.”


Kellie Harrington will take to the ring at 5pm Irish time this evening where she faces off against Irma Testa of Italy in the women’s lightweight quarter-final, while Aoife O’Rourke faces off against GB’s Lauren Price in the women’s middleweight quarter-final at 5.45pm (Irish time).



Women’s Featherweight (57kg)

Michaela Walsh (IRL) wins on a 4-1 split decision: 30-27, 27-30, 28-29, 28-29, 28-29.


Women’s Welterweight (69kg)

Grainne Walsh (IRL) wins on unanimous decision: 30-27, 29-28, 29-28, 29-28, 30-27.


Men’s Bantamweight (56kg)

Kurt Walker (IRL) wins on unanimous decision: 28-29, 27-30, 28-29, 28-29, 27-30




© 2020 Olympic Federation of Ireland.
Registered in Dublin No. 82262.
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