HISTORY-MAKING RELAY TEAM FINISH 8TH IN FINAL WHILE THERE’S HEARTBREAK FOR HOCKEY IN FINAL GROUP GAME

Team Ireland’s 4x400m Mixed Relay team put in another stellar performance at the Olympic Stadium this evening, recording a time of 3:15.04, the second fastest ever by an Irish quartet, only behind yesterday’s stunning national record. Chris O’Donnell brought the team home with a characteristically strong finish in 8th, making history as the first Irish Relay team to compete in a final at an Olympic Games.

Meanwhile in hockey, Ireland’s quarter-final hopes came to a formal end this evening as they lost out to Great Britain 2-0 in their final group game to see them finish 5th in the pool and outside of the qualification spots.

ATHLETICS

Team Ireland’s 4x400m Mixed Relay team put in another stellar performance at the Olympic Stadium this evening, finishing 8th in their final.

They recorded a time of 3:15.04, the second fastest ever by an Irish quartet, only behind yesterday’s stunning national record. The team lined up with the same personnel as the qualifying round, and in the same order - Cillin Greene, Phil Healy, Sophie Becker, and Chris O’Donnell.

Greene, who clocked the fastest 1st leg split of any athlete in the competition yesterday, once again gave the team a fighting chance - giving Healy the baton in 5th. Healy had a very busy leg having to stay out of trouble at the break, and ran with bravery to hold on to those in front of her. Sophie Becker took the baton from Healy in 7th and had clear track in front of her, running a composed 3rd leg with the sprinting powerhouse Jamaicans in pursuit. Chris O’Donnell brought the team home with a characteristically strong finish in 8th, making history as the first Irish Relay team to compete in a final at an Olympic Games.

Greene, speaking of the experience across both days of competition said: “It’s an incredible experience to be out here. No one gave us a shot at making a final, so to step up on the biggest stage is an astronomical experience for us all.”

His training partner, Becker, talked of the pride that the team took in competing with the very best in world, adding: “We all held our own and fought to the very last bit – we’re all very happy with that.”

30 July 2021; Phil Healy and Sophie Becker of Ireland in action during the 4x400 metre mixed relay at the Olympic Stadium during the 2020 Tokyo Summer Olympic Games in Tokyo, Japan. Photo by Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile

It’s the end of a dream Olympic debut for Greene, Becker, and O’Donnell, while Phil Healy lines up in the individual 200m and 400m events later in the Games.

HOCKEY

Ireland’s quarter-final hopes came to a formal end as they lost out to Great Britain this evening 2-0 in their final pool game to finish 5th. India’s 4-3 win over South Africa earlier in the day left a simple equation against the reigning champions – win or bust.  But, despite a battling performance, Britain produced a controlled performance to keep the Green Army at bay. Susannah Townsend swooped to score from their fifth penalty corner in the second quarter and Irish hopes faded when Hannah Martin guided in Ellie Rayer’s exceptional cross. 

Ireland endeavoured to push on in the closing quarter, swapping out goalkeeper Ayeisha McFerran – who impressed once again – for an extra outfielder for the closing stages. But GB defended resolutely to get the result which also assured their progression to the last eight. 

For Ireland, it means a fifth place finish in the group stages of their maiden Olympic campaign, and last Saturday’s opening win over South Africa will live long in the memory, a special moment as Róisín Upton and Sarah Torrans’ goals earned a debut victory. 

Nicci Daly who got her 200th cap in today’s match commented after the game, “We were confident going out against GB because we played them a good bit this year. We have played them a lot over the past few years – we know them quite well. We knew we could beat them, so we felt really good going out. We thought maybe it would happen for us.

“We just didn’t really perform consistently, it’s a bit disappointing, but it is what it is. It’s been a fantastic experience. It’s the Olympics, and at times we definitely matched the best in the world and we can be proud of that. And we can be proud of the team today. I think there’ll be a lot of positives to take forward for the team going into the next cycle.”

EVENING RESULTS DAY EIGHT: JULY 31ST, 2021

ATHLETICS

Mixed 4x400m Relay Final – Ireland, 8th in 3:15:04

HOCKEY:

Pool Game: Ireland 0-2 Great Britain

DAY NINE SCHEDULE (ALL TIMES ARE IRISH TIME): August 1st, 2021 

*Schedule may be subject to change 

00:18 Equestrian – Sam Watson & Tullabeg Flamenco (ISH), Eventing: Cross Country 

01:30 Equestrian – Austin O’Connor & Colorado Blue (SHBGB), Eventing: Cross Country 

01:40 Athletics – Michelle Finn – Women’s 3000m Steeplechase, Heat 1

02:10 Athletics – Eilish O’Flanagan – Women’s 3000m Steeplechase, Heat 3

02:36 Golf – Shane Lowry – Men’s Stroke Play Round 4

02:39 Equestrian – Sarah Ennis & Horseware Woodcourt Garrison (ISH), Eventing: Cross Country 

02:58 Golf – Rory McIlroy – Men’s Stroke Play Round 4

03:30 Boxing – Kurt Walker (IRL) v Duke Ragan (USA) – Men’s Feather (52-57kg) Quarter-Final

04:03 Boxing – Pat McCormack (GBR) v Aidan Walsh (IRL) – Men’s Welter (63-69kg) Semi-Final

10:41 Gymnastics – Rhys McClenaghan – Pommel Horse Final

13:05 Athletics – Thomas Barr – Men’s 400m Hurdles Semi-Final

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