Tonight, all Irish interest at the Tokyo Olympic Games took place in the pool, with Team Ireland swimmers impressing across the three events on offer this evening. Meanwhile sailors Robert Dickson and Sean Waddilove reacted to their winning start to the 49er class Race 1.

SAILING (QUOTES)

Sailors Robert Dickson and Sean Waddilove reacted to leading going into Race 2 on their Olympic debut in the 49er class race, when they edged out Great Britain and Germany. After the race the pair were relieved to start their campaign strongly, emphasising the changing nature of the sport. “I feel thrilled,” said Waddilove after the race, “We can’t ask for a abetter start, but you have to remember that this is the very first race, and anything could change with eleven races to go, plus a medal race, hopefully!” Dickson added, “It was pretty close, but you only have to win by a few centimetres. We didn’t know crossing the line that we’d done it until we came in and Matt (McGovern, coach) told us.”

SWIMMING

It was a busy evening for Team Ireland swimmers with Ireland in competition across the Men’s 200m Breaststroke, Men’s 800m Freestyle and the Men’s 4 X 200m Freestyle Relay.

Longford’s Darragh Greene opened proceedings posting a time of 2.11.09 in Heat 5 of the Men’s 200m Breaststroke, finishing 7th in his heat, and 23rd overall. Speaking after the race, Greene was pleased with his performance, “It was good, just off my best which was a bit unfortunate, but at the same time it was a good swim. I’m going to look back and see what I can improve on.” The Longford swimmer started strong, lying fifth at the first turn, keeping his focus on his own performance.

For the first time in history Team Ireland fielded a Men’s 4 X 200m Relay, with Jack McMillan, Finn McGeever, Brendan Hyland and Rio Olympian Shane Ryan finishing 8th in their heat with a time of 7.15.48, resulting in a 14th place overall finish; the top eight progressed to the final. McMillan showed his class in his Olympic debut, clocking a time of 1:46.66 in the opening leg of the relay, putting them in fourth place at that early stage, the first time that he swam under 1:47, and swimming an Irish Senior Record.

“It’s my dream since I was a little kid, to be finally here is class,” McMillan said after his race. “The experience out there was unbelievable, once in a lifetime! It’s great to just be here and race with the lads for the relay, and we wouldn’t be here without Jordan (Sloan) and Gerry (Quinn), so a shout out to them. Hopefully we did them proud. Everyone stepped up, couldn’t ask for anything more.”

Daniel Wiffen finished off the Irish line up in today’s swimming action in incredible fashion by winning his heat in the 800m Freestyle. Wiffen stormed up the final length to secure a time of 7:51.65, beating his personal best, season best & Irish Senior Record of 7:52.68. Wiffen missed out on a top 8 qualifying spot but improved on his 24th place ranking coming into the event and finished in 14th place.

Speaking after the heat, a beaming Daniel said, “I am ecstatic! I got a Personal Best on the big stage. I came out top of the race. It is the Olympics, and I am happy to be here. I rebroke my old Irish Senior Record which is incredible. I have dropped about 20 seconds this year on it which is a lot. I felt it was like a 1v1 race at the end and I thought I have got to win this. I have got to show the nation what I am capable of. I have huge support coming from home, my parents, family and extended family. It is my mum’s birthday today so happy birthday, mum!”

Tomorrow is one of the busiest days for Team Ireland, with ten sports being represented throughout the day, with medal opportunities in a number of sports, including rowing and judo.

EVENING RESULTS DAY FOUR: JULY 27TH, 2021

SAILING (RECAP)

Laser Radial, Race 6: Annalise Murphy, 10th (moves to 20th overall)

49er Class Race 1: Robert Dickson and Sean Waddilove, 1st

SWIMMING

Men’s 200m Breaststroke Heats – Darragh Greene finished 23rd with 2.11.09

Men’s 4 X 200m Freestyle Heats – Jack McMillan, Brendan Hyland, Finn McGeever, Shane Ryan finished 14th with a time of 7.15.48

Men’s 800m Freestyle Heats – Daniel Wiffen finished 14th with 7:51.65 (PB).

DAY FIVE SCHEDULE (ALL TIMES ARE IRISH TIME): July 28th, 2021

00:20 – Philip Doyle and Ronan Byrne - Men’s Double Sculls Final B

01:30 Rugby Sevens – Ireland v Kenya – Men’s Placing 9-10

01:50 Rowing – Aifric Keogh, Eimear Lambe, Fiona Murtagh, Emily Hegarty – Women’s Four Final A

01:50 Shooting – Derek Burnett – Trap Men’s Qualification Day 1

From 03:00 Judo – Michaela Polleres (AUT) v Megan Fletcher (IRL)  - Women’s -70kg Elimination Round of 32

03:30 Rowing – Paul O’Donovan and Fintan McCarthy - Lightweight Men’s Double Semi-Final A/B

03:40 Rowing – Aoife Casey and Margaret Cremen - Lightweight Women’s Double Semi-Final A/B

04:05 Sailing – Robert Dickson and Sean Waddilove – 49er class Races

04:15 Hockey – Germany v Ireland – Women’s Pool A, Game 3

04:20 Rowing – Monika Dukarska and Aileen Crowley, Women’s Pair, Semi-Final A/B

04:36 Boxing – Mirazizbek Mirzakhalilov (UZB) v Kurt Walker (IRL), Men’s Feather Round of 16

06:00 Cycling – Nicolas Roche – Men’s Individual Time Trial

10:18 Boxing – Aoife O’Rourke (IRL) v Qian Li (CHN), Women’s Middle Round of 16

10:40 Badminton – Tzu-Wei Wang (TPE) v Nhat Nguyen (IRL) – Men’s Singles Group Play

11:36 Swimming – Mona McSharry - Women’s 200m Breaststroke, Heat

Sailors Robert Dickson and Sean Waddilove announced their arrival at the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games with a splash this afternoon as they finished in first place in their opening 49er class race, edging out Great Britain and Germany. There’s still a long way to go in this competition though, with 12 races in total in the series.

Indeed it was a good day all round for the sailors, with Annalise Murphy following on from her impressive form earlier to secure a 10th place finish in Race 6 this afternoon, seeing her move into 20th place overall.

Ireland’s Rugby Sevens squad came back with a bang at Tokyo Stadium in their second game of the day meanwhile, winning out comprehensively over the Republic of Korea, 31-0, to see them through to a 9-10th place clash with Kenya tomorrow (July 28th).

RUGBY SEVENS 

It was onwards and upwards for Ireland’s Rugby Sevens squad today, as they faced off against Republic of Korea in the first of their 9-12 place placing games. Having failed to progress from the pool stages to the quarter-finals, Ireland put on a strong showing in today’s second game to win out in comprehensive fashion, 31-0.

Ireland started quickly with scores by Mark Roche and Jordon Conroy in the first five minutes to secure a 10-point advantage at half time. Republic of Korea started strong in the second half, but Ireland held them scoreless before adding three more tries, one more from Conroy and a double from Gavin Mullin.

“We said we would go out and attack them,” said first try scorer, Roche. “We wanted to hold on to the ball, and that’s what we did for the 10 points that we got and then we just switched off a little, we allowed them play instead of attacking them in defence. We know how to pick ourselves back up for another game and know how important it is to finish strong and get that 9th place.

“It was tough this morning, a tough one to take with that last minute try to put us out,” said Mullin of their bittersweet win over Kenya in their final pool game earlier. “It’s a good group here so we just managed to shake it off in the afternoon. We all just chilled out a bit, relaxed. We’re at the Olympics and we have to go out and enjoy ourselves. It was still pretty sloppy to be honest. We’re still not happy with where we are but we’ll come out tomorrow for our last game and just have a bit of craic.”

Ireland will face Kenya once more in the final game of their Olympic campaign tomorrow (July 28th) in a bid to finish in 9th place.

SAILING

Sailors Robert Dickson and Sean Waddilove made their Olympic debut with a splash today, as they finished in first place in their opening 49er class race, edging out Great Britain and Germany. After a tricky start, with Race 1 being abandoned due to shifting winds, the race officials reset the course and the Irish sailed strongly to finish first. Racing is now cancelled for the rest of today and will resume tomorrow. There’s still a long way to go in this competition though, with 12 races in total in the series.

It was a good day for Annalise Murphy as well in her Laser Radials, as she secured two top 10 scores, with a 9th and 10th place in Races 5 and 6 respectively has moved her into 20th place. Today’s earlier Race 5 marked the half way point of the regatta. The Lasers now have a rest day (Wednesday) with racing to resume on Thursday with Races 7 and 8 in the ten race series.

AFTERNOON RESULTS DAY FOUR: JULY 27TH, 2021

RUGBY SEVENS

Men’s Placing 9-12: Ireland 31-0 Republic of Korea

SAILING

Laser Radial, Race 6: Annalise Murphy, 10th (moves to 20th overall)

49er Class Race 1: Robert Dickson and Sean Waddilove, 1st

DAY FOUR SCHEDULE (ALL TIMES ARE IRISH TIME): July 27th, 2021

11:50 Swimming – Darragh Greene – 200m Breaststroke Heats

12:03 Swimming – Relay – 4x 200m Freestyle

12:31 Swimming – Daniel Wiffen – 800m Freestyle

Mona McSharry became the first Irish swimmer in 25 years to compete at an Olympic final today, and put in a solid performance this morning in her 100m Breaststroke final, placing 8th overall in a time of 1:06.94.

Earlier in the day, a superb performance from Carolyn Hayes in the women’s triathlon saw her finish in 23rd position in a time of 2:02:10, while there was also good news from the boxers, with Aidan Walsh powering his way into the quarter-finals of the men’s Welterweight.

Annalise Murphy secured her first top 10 finish of the Games in race five of the Laser Radial series, while there was heartbreak for the Irish men’s Rugby Sevens squad meanwhile as despite taking their first ever Olympic win over Kenya this morning (12-7) it was not enough to see them through to the quarter final stages.

BOXING

Aidan Walsh has qualified for the quarter finals of the Men’s Welterweight (63-69kg), following a unanimous win over Cameroon’s Albert Mengue Ayissi. The Belfast boxer used his height to his advantage, and boxed smart.

Speaking after the bout the determined fighter said; “It’s amazing to get the first one out of the way and focus on the next one. I just listened to the coaches’ advice and did what they were telling me. My strategy going into it was to keep it long, keep the basics and to do what the coaches said. They always have the best advice and you just have to put your trust in them and listen to the advice that’s given to you. But keep it simple, and what’s worked for me and got me here.”

While most athletes are being cheered on virtually by family, Walsh’s sister, Michaela, is also a member of the boxing team, competing yesterday in the Women’s Feather event so was on hand to cheer him on.

“To do it alongside my sister is even more amazing,” Aidan continued. “It’s incredible it’s just one of those ones you can’t even describe, because it’s surreal. Especially in boxing, like something you hear of brothers in the family, but brother and sister, obviously with the female boxing coming along so good it’s amazing. Obviously I’m disappointed for my sister, but now she’ll be rooting for me. We always root for each other - it doesn’t matter what tournament, win, lose or draw.”

RUGBY SEVENS

It was a bittersweet first Olympic win for the Irish Rugby Sevens squad at Tokyo Stadium today as, despite securing their first win of the Games, it just was not enough to see them through to the quarter-final stages. Having lost out to South Africa and USA in their opening pool games on Monday, Ireland came into today’s clash with Kenya with the knowledge that they had to win by at least eight points in order to progress. Unfortunately, they did not secure the eight-point margin needed to qualify, and now go into the placing games where they face Korea later today.

Early on, it looked like the dream was firmly in the bag, as an immense defensive effort throughout kept the Kenyan attack at bay, while Hugo Lennox and Harry McNulty were on hand to score two first half tries to see Ireland into a 12-0 lead at the break. A solid second half defensive display from the Irish kept the pressure off, but they were just unable to add more to their tally at the other end and, with 47 seconds to play, Kenya delivered the death blow, crossing the line for a converted try. Time ran out on Ireland, and though they won out 12-7, it was not enough to qualify.

Speaking afterwards, Harry McNulty stated:Nobody really wanted this scenario unfortunately with the points difference. It’s disappointing. I think we really should have won that game by a whole lot more. If we had one more score on the board, or if we didn’t let them in, we would have gone through to the quarters.

“Realistically, if we had played at our best the last two days I think we would have been well and truly in there and have a really good shot at putting ourselves up for some sort of medal. It’s just disappointing because we know we’re so much better. It’s probably one of the lesser performances of our careers. I don’t know what’s really going wrong, but we’re not firing on all cylinders. It’s just simple errors. It’s really small errors, but at this level, particularly at the Olympics, those errors will cost you.”

SAILING

Annalise Murphy secured her first top 10 finish of the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games this morning, as she secured a ninth place position in the fifth race of the Laser Radial. This morning’s race was the mid-way point of the series, and Murphy is currently preparing to get race six underway. More to follow.

SWIMMING

Sligo’s Mona McSharry made history today, becoming the first Irish swimmer in 25 years to compete in an Olympic final. Ranked 11th entering the heats on Sunday evening, McSharry qualified for the semi-final in 9th, before going one step further to reach the final in 8th place. A time of 1:06.94 in the final - slightly outside of her semi-final race of 1:06.59 -  saw her finish 8th overall.

Speaking afterwards, she said: “It’s amazing, thinking about it like that, that there hasn’t been anyone else who has done this in 25 years, I think it puts it into perspective. For me, racing in it is just another final - but it really is a lot more than that. It makes me feel so proud that I made it there.

“In the race it was hard to tell, I was really just trying to go for it. It definitely felt like a good race and anything sub 1:07 is a good race in my mind so I’m happy with the race. Of course it wasn’t a PB and was the slowest of the three rounds, but I think that comes as well from that there was a sense of relief in making it to the final so I was just excited to go out there and race and see what would happen. The worst  that could happen was that I come 8th at the Olympics and that’s what happened so that’s not a bad result for my first event.”

There was huge support from home with many setting their alarms to watch live. Including McSharry’s family at home in Grange, Co. Sligo.

“To see all the people who are even staying awake at 3am in the morning to watch me race, it kind of just shows that there is  huge support behind me and they really care and that’s amazing, I really do want to say thank you to everyone for that. It really does mean the world.”

TRIATHLON

A battling performance from Carolyn Hayes saw her claim 23rd place in the Women’s Individual Triathlon, in a race delayed by challenging weather conditions. Hayes posted a time of 2:02:10 with the run being the most impactful aspect of her race, posting the 10th fastest time in the field for the 10km segment.

A morning of heavy rainfall delayed the start time by 15 minutes, with the tail end of a typhoon sweeping through Odaiba Marine Park. Hayes exited the swim in 41st position, and the treacherous cycling conditions saw a number of athletes fall, but Hayes worked up to the front of her pack in time for the second transition - posting the fastest T2 in the field in 28th place. She gradually picked off another five spots during the run, and was just four seconds off the athlete in front of her after putting in an impressive sprint finish.

“I’m happy enough with the performance,” she said afterwards.
“I obviously came for a better result, but considering where I’ve come from and everything I’ve done over the last few years I have to be pleased with it
. The Olympics -  I’ve always said - it’s the pinnacle of sport. I always hoped that I’d get here, and probably didn’t believe I would, so I think it’ll probably hit me later tonight that I’ve just competed in the Olympic Games.”

Action continues for Team Ireland today, with sailors Annalise Murphy and Robert Dickson and Sean Waddilove on the water today, while Darragh Greene, Daniel Wiffen and the relay team will all hit the pool this evening for their respective heats.

MORNING RESULTS DAY FOUR: JULY 27TH, 2021

BOXING

Men’s Welterweight (63-69kg) – Aidan Walsh (IRL) Vs Albert Mengue Ayissi (CMR), win for IRL 5-0 by unanimous decision

RUGBY SEVENS

Pool C, Game 3: Kenya 7-12 Ireland

SAILING

Laser Radial, Race 5: Annalise Murphy, 9th

SWIMMING

Women’s 100m Breaststroke Final: Mona McSharry, 8th with a time of 1:06.94

TRIATHLON

Triathlon Women’s Individual – Carolyn Hayes, 23rd with 2:02:10

DAY FOUR SCHEDULE (ALL TIMES ARE IRISH TIME): July 27th, 2021

04:05 Sailing – Annalise Murphy – Laser Radial Race 6

06:50 Sailing – Robert Dickson and Sean Waddilove, 49er, Races 1, 2 and 3

08:30 Rugby Sevens – Ireland v Republic of Korea, Men’s Placing 9-12

11:50 Swimming – Darragh Greene – 200m Breaststroke Heats

12:03 Swimming – Relay – 4x 200m Freestyle

12:31 Swimming – Daniel Wiffen – 800m Freestyle

Nhat Nguyen announced his arrival at the Tokyo Olympic Games in style this evening with an impressive straight set win over Niluka Karunaratne of Sri Lanka in his opening group game.

Nguyen was one of a host of athletes in action this evening, with Ireland’s men’s rugby sevens coming agonizingly close to their first group game victory, while Annalise Murphy rounded off a tough day of sailing and now sits in 32nd place overall. Darragh Greene and Ellen Walshe were in action in the pool, with Greene posting a Season’s Best time in his heats.

BADMINTON

Nhat Nguyen got his Olympic Badminton debut off to a fantastic start today in the first round of Group Play stages. Ranking 54th in the world, Nguyen faced Niluka Karunaratne of Sri Lanka in a testing group match, beating Karunaratne in straight sets, 21-16 21-14.

Speaking afterwards, he said: “I am happy to be able to walk off the court as a winner. I am very grateful for the support that I had today. It was overwhelming walking out to all the staff there with me; my physio, my coach and a couple of others in support as well. I wanted to give my all for every single point, especially for the support I was given. I was happy I was able to do that even though I didn’t play my best, I am happy that I took the win.

“I feel I shook off the nerves there than rather playing free and playing my style so it was just getting the job done and I was happy that I crossed that line. I have a day to rest with late practise tomorrow. Today gave me a chance to test out the hall so I have no excuses going into the next game unprepared. I am excited and buzzing for it.”

Nguyen proudly dedicated his win to his family, especially his parents who are supporting him from home: “I dedicate today’s win to my family and my parents at home. They have sacrificed a lot for me and my sister and I am happy to give back by giving them something to cheer about and something to be happy about. They have worked very hard for us and I am pretty sure that they are working today as they work all day every day! I am going to give them a call after this game and I am happy that I made them proud. That is why I play badminton.”

Nguyen will now face Top 10 Seed Tzu-wei in the final game of the three-man group in Wednesday’s Group Play stages with the winner of the group moving on to the round of 16 knockout phase.

RUGBY SEVENS

It was so close and yet so far for the Irish men’s Rugby Sevens team this evening, as they came agonisingly close to pipping USA in their second group game in Tokyo Stadium, but lost out in the end 19-17.

A very slow start from Ireland saw USA roll out a number of phases early on to run out into a 12-0 lead midway through the first half. With Ireland left chasing a fast and speedy USA, it took a lot of time for them to finally break into the other half, and super work from Foster Horan and a neat pick up from Hugo Lennox finally opened Ireland’s account on the stroke of half time, to leave it 12-5 at the break. 

A much-improved second half from the Irish saw Horan once more to the fore, and with momentum still with the Irish after Lennox’s late first half try, Harry McNulty was next to cross the line, making it 12-10 in favour of USA. The USA replied in kind seconds later though, and as the clock wound down, it was Horan who got a much-deserved score over the line and – with a Dardis conversion – closed the gap to two points, 19-17. Time had already run out though and that was to be the last of the action.

Speaking afterwards, Lennox said: “Gutted really. I felt like we really had the beating of these guys before the game. They kept the ball well and kept us out of the game really. They tired us out, which was disappointing and something we’re going to have to work on before tomorrow.

“USA probably went through seven or eight phases at the start of that game, that’s a real killer. It kind of just blows any momentum - and when you do get the ball, you’re tired and it’s tough to get going. I think we’re going to have to get a real focus on keeping the ball early and going from there tomorrow.”

Offaly man Jordan Conroy added; “I don’t think that game reflects how we actually play. I think we have a lot more to give, so I think we just need to shift our focus now onto tomorrow against Kenya and see what we need to do and just execute it. I’m annoyed but that said, day one is done. Tomorrow is the big one for us now, so all eyes on that now. We play these teams in the World Series. They’re nothing new to us. We know we have to do our job in order to beat these, we just didn’t do it today.”

Ireland now faces a must-win clash against Kenya tomorrow in their final pool game. Kenya also come into the clash off the back of losses to the USA and South Africa earlier today.

SAILING

After her second day of racing, Annalise Murphy is currently lying in 32nd position overall in the Laser Radial fleet. She finished 24th and 37th in Races 3 and 4 respectively earlier today, the wind starting off stronger for the first race but dropping off slightly for the second.

 Speaking after today’s two races, Murphy said: “Having such a bad day makes it really hard for me to get a result that I want from this regatta with only six races left. I’m upset for Rory (coach), for my family and everyone who supported me because I really wanted to do them proud. I actually thought it was going to be a good day for me today - I love those conditions - small things just didn’t go the way I wanted them to.”

Racing continues for Murphy tomorrow with Races 5 and 6, while fellow sailors, Robert Dickson and Sean Waddilove will begin their Olympic campaign tomorrow as the 49er class gets underway.

SWIMMING

Team Ireland swimmers Brendan Hyland and Ellen Walshe were in action this evening, with Hyland securing a Season’s Best time in his 200m Butterfly heat. Hyland came into the event ranked 27th, but his SB time of 1:57.09 saw him finish his heat n 3rd to place him in 23rd position overall, with the top 16 progressing to the semi-finals.

Hyland was ecstatic after his swim: “I looked at the Olympic rings about 40 times! I was just thinking that this is unbelievable, that’s what everyone says about an Olympics. You’re waiting your whole life for this so it definitely spurred me on.

“The build-up to this Games has been frustrating and tough but I was blessed with a bit of luck and that’s my second fastest swim ever! It’s actually nice to swim well, it took me a while to see the clock so when I saw 1:57 I was genuinely so happy.”

Hyland now turn his attention to the 4x200m relay tomorrow evening alongside Finn McKeever, Shane Ryan and Jack McMillan: “I’ll be trying to keep the morale high and keep everyone excited for tomorrow. The guys will be nervous for their first race but I’ve one under my belt now - so that will be my job, to steady the ship now that I’ve the nerves out of the way.”

Swim teammate Ellen Walshe was also in the pool this evening, competing in the 200m Individual Medley heats, where she posted a time of 2:13.34 to finish 8th in her heat and 19th overall. Walshe’s heat included three-time Olympic champion Katinka Hosszú of Hungary, who won the heat in a time of 2:09.70.

EVENING RESULTS DAY THREE: JULY 26TH, 2021

BADMINTON

Men’s Singles Group Play: Nhat Nguyen (IRL) v Niluka Karunaratne (SRI) – win for IRL straight sets 21-16, 21-14.

RUGBY SEVENS

Pool C, Game 2: USA 19-17 Ireland

SAILING

Laser Radial, Race 3: Annalise Murphy, 24th

Laser Radial, Race 4: Annalise Murphy, 37th

Currently in 32nd position overall.

SWIMMING

Men’s 200m Butterfly Heat 2 – Brendan Hyland 3rd in heat and 23rd overall with a time of 1:57.09

Women’s 200m Individual Medley Heat 4 – Ellen Walshe 8th in heat and 19th overall with a time of 2:13.34

DAY FOUR SCHEDULE (ALL TIMES ARE IRISH TIME): July 27th, 2021

22:30* Triathlon – Carolyn Hayes (*this event takes place on the night of July 26th Irish time)

03:00 Rugby Sevens – Ireland v Kenya, Pool Game 3

03:17 Swimming – Mona McSharry – 100m Breaststroke Final

03:30 Boxing – Aidan Walsh – Men’s Welterweight Round of 16

04:05 Sailing – Annalise Murphy – Laser Radial Races 5 and 6

06:50 Sailing – Robert Dickson and Sean Waddilove, 49er, Races 1, 2 and 3

11:50 Swimming – Darragh Greene – 200m Breaststroke Heats

12:03 Swimming – Relay – 4x 200m Freestyle

12:31 Swimming – Daniel Wiffen – 800m Freestyle

Mona McSharry continued her impressive form at this year’s Tokyo Olympic Games as she secured a coveted final spot in the Women’s 100m Breaststroke today. Finishing fourth in her semi-final today in a time of 1:06.59, she become the first Irish swimmer to qualify for an Olympic final in 25 years. 

Elsewhere, both of Team Ireland’s teams were in action today, with the Rugby Sevens making their Olympic debut, losing out 33-14 to South Africa in their opening pool game. They will face USA later on today. The Irish hockey team were also in action against world number one, the Netherlands, and despite a strong defensive display, lost out 4-0.

Russell White was Ireland’s first triathlete in action today, and finished out in 48th place with a finishing time of 1:54:40 for the event. Meanwhile, there was disappointment for boxer Brendan Irvine as he lost out on split decision to Carlo Palaan of the Philippines in his Men’s Fly Round of 32 clash.

BOXING 

Two-time Olympian Brendan Irvine put up a strong fight against Carlo Paalam from the Philippines today in his Round of 32 bout, but it just wasn’t enough, with Paalam taking the win in a split decision 4-1.

Speaking afterwards, the Belfast boxer and Irish boxing team captain stated: “I’m absolutely devastated to not win. I’ve put so much in these past three years to get here. So you can understand why it’s a bit emotional. But I’m immensely proud to be representing my country and to be captain of the boxing team. I just have to pick myself and support the rest of the team now.”

For Irvine, his Olympic journey has been plagued with injury, and despite 18 months out of the ring, in his first fight back in March 2019, he qualified for his second Olympic Games. Reflecting on that Irvine added: “If you had asked me three years ago if would I have been at the Games I would have told you no. It’s an achievement to get here, but when you’re here, you obviously want more, and to get a medal - but it wasn’t meant to be. We’ve a superb team here, incredible athletes, and to be an Olympian is something special, so you can imagine the talent in each and every athlete here.”

Next in action for the boxers today is Michaela Walsh who will compete against long-time rival Irma Testa (Italy) shortly, and will look to turn around the result from the Olympic Qualifier last month.

HOCKEY

A late flurry of goals saw world number one side, the Netherlands, eventually break Ireland down and win 4-0 at the Oi Stadium in Ireland’s second group game today. Felice Albers had given the Dutch a strong 1-0 start but the Green Army – inspired by an Ayeisha McFerran masterclass – kept the Oranje raiders out for the guts of 40 minutes. A final quarter barrage from Malou Pheninckx, Laurien Leurink and Frédérique Matla however saw the Dutch ease home 4-0 in the end and in doing so, they matched June’s EuroHockey Championship scoreline, extending their winning streak over Ireland to 30 games, dating back to 1963. 

Speaking afterwards, McFerran stated: “It’s tough to take. We defended really, really well and I’m really proud of how everyone just kept fighting right to the end. I’m disappointed with the last goal especially, I think I didn’t do myself justice on that one. But overall, the Dutch showed they are number one for a reason.”

RUGBY SEVENS

Ireland’s Rugby Sevens team made their Olympic debut at Tokyo Stadium today, as they faced off against South Africa in their opening Pool C game. A tough and physical opening half saw South Africa dominate early on, hitting two tries to put Ireland on the back foot, 14-0. A try from Ireland’s Gavin Mullin on the stroke of half time sent the Irish into the break with a spring in their step, but an early second half try from South Africa widened the gap once more.

A strong reply from Terry Kennedy kept Ireland in contention with four minutes to play (21-14), but South Africa were on hand to reply in style, and pushed on from there to win out 33-14 in the end.

Speaking afterwards, Irish captain Billy Dardis said: “We’re bitterly disappointed. It’s a tough one to take, especially when you’ve been building up to it for the last three to four weeks. I know that’s not a long time, but we know how good we are and we know exactly what it took to beat them – we’ve done it many times before.

“We strayed away from what we do best and it went against us. They were really physical and on for that game. They bullied us, which is a bit annoying, but we will just have to get over it, get on with things and hopefully keep our hopes alive in this tournament later on this evening. I think Sevens is brilliant, you can just wipe it off and look forward to the next opportunity. We’re going to have to review that one, have a look at it and then get ready for a big one later today.

SWIMMING

Mona McSharry was in superb form today, earning her spot in an Olympic final as she posted a time of 1:06.59 in her 100m breaststroke semi-final to become the first Irish swimmer to qualify for an Olympic final in 25 years. 

Turning at the 50m mark in 31.62, McSharry sat in 6th place, but an outstanding push in the second half of the race saw her finish 4th, 1.52 seconds behind South African Tatjana Schoenmaker who set an Olympic Record yesterday in the heats.

“I’m over the moon,” an elated McSharry said afterwards. “That was the target, to make it round by round and when I got through the semi-finals yesterday it was just the plan to compete and race and try to make it into a final.

“I  knew it was going to be tough. I was in ninth, already having moved up from my starting position so I knew it was going to be a push. Everyone is swimming really fast and it’s competitive. I’m just so happy to get another opportunity to race tomorrow.”

Ranked 11th coming into the event, McSharry placed 9th in the heats before improving her position to qualify in 8th for the final. The final will take place on Day Four (Tuesday, July 27th) at the Tokyo Aquatics Centre.

TRIATHLON

Russell White made his Olympic debut with a 48th place finish today in the Men’s Individual Triathlon. It was an early start time for all at the Odaiba Marine Park, with the race beginning on the second attempt following a false start. The Banbridge athlete posted a finishing time of 1:54:40 for the event.

The swim saw White exiting in 48th position, 58 seconds down on the leaders. A clean transition to the bike saw him solidify his position and a big effort was needed to stay with those around him on a technical bike course. Eight laps of 5km with 17 turns was the challenge, and White worked in a small group with eight of his competitors, moving up one position to 47th into the final transition.

White was quite isolated for most of the 10km run, with a 30-second gap to the athletes ahead, and over a minute to those behind, and while some cloud cover took the sting out of the sun, the temperature remained intense throughout the event.

Speaking afterwards White said: “I was on the back foot from the start, I didn’t get a great swim. I thought after the first lap that I could maybe bridge up to that main group but it sort of split with about 300 to go and I just didn’t get on good feet. It made for a gruelling bike in a small group and having to really work hard - not much draft, a lot of gaps. Sprinting out of all the corners in such a small group it did burn the legs out for the run.”

Reflecting on his Olympic Games debut he added: “I’m absolutely honoured to be here today and compete for Ireland in the Olympic Games -  but obviously, just not the performance I was looking for.”

MORNING RESULTS DAY THREE: JULY 26TH, 2021

BOXING:

Men’s Fly (48-52kg) Round of 32 - Brendan Irvine (IRL) Vs Carlo Paalam (PHI), win for PHI on a split decision 4-1

HOCKEY:

Women’s Pool A, Game 2: Netherlands 4, Ireland 0

RUGBY SEVENS:

Men’s Pool C, Game 1: South Africa 33, Ireland 14

SWIMMING:

Women’s 100m Breaststroke, Semi-final 2 – Mona McSharry, 4th in semi-final to place 8th overall with a time of 1:06.59.

TRIATHLON:

Triathlon Men’s Individual –Russell White 48th in a time of 1:54:40

DAY THREE SCHEDULE (ALL TIMES ARE IRISH TIME): July 26th, 2021

06:00 Canoe Slalom – Liam Jegou – Semi-Final

06:27 Boxing – Michaela Walsh (IRL) v Irma Testa (ITA) – Women’s Featherweight, Round of 16

06:35 Sailing – Annalise Murphy, Laser Radial, Races 3 and 4

10:30 Rugby Sevens – USA v Ireland, Men’s Pool C Game 2

11:20 Badminton – Nhat Nguyen (IRL) v Niluka Karunaratne (SRI) – Men’s Singles Group Play

11.20 Swimming – Brendan Hyland - Men’s 200m Butterfly Heat 2

11.45 Swimming – Ellen Walshe - Women’s 200m Individual Medley Heat 4

In her third Olympic Games, the current World Champion in the Women’s Singles Sanita Puspure won her quarter-final in impressive style in today’s race in Tokyo, and will now compete in the semi-final A/B next Tuesday. 

The Women’s Pair of Monika Dukarska and Aileen Crowley and the Lightweight Women’s Double of Margaret Cremen and Aoife Casey also progressed to the semi-finals from their repechages this morning. There was disappointment for the Men’s Double of Philip Doyle and Ronan Byrne though, whose sixth place finish in the semi-final in 6.49.06 was not enough to progress to the A Final.

Indeed, it was a busy morning on the water all round for Ireland as Liam Jegou was also competing in his first Canoe Slalom heat, while Annalise Murphy was the first of the Irish sailors in action.

The second of Team Ireland’s gymnasts, Meg Ryan, was also competing today in the women’s qualification in the All-Around this morning finishing with an overall score of 47.199 to round out a busy morning once more for Team Ireland.

CANOEING:

Liam Jegou got his C1 Canoe Slalom campaign underway at the Kasai Canoe Slalom Centre posting a time of 174.57 in his first run of the heats after picking up a missed gate penalty.

“A shaky start I’ll call it,” said Canoeing Ireland Performance Director, Jon Mackey, after the first run “We dropped an edge mid-course, but had a lovely opening, the start of the course was nice and tight, nice and technical.”

Jegou has a second run later today, with Mackey adding: “It’s good to get the nerves out of the way on the first run and get a feel for it. I think he’ll come back a lot stronger in the second run.”

The top 15 after both runs are completed will progress to the semi-finals.

GYMNASTICS:

The second of Ireland’s two gymnasts competing at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, Meg Ryan, completed her women’s qualification in the All-Around this morning with an overall score of 47.199

Her display currently sees her sitting in 25th position at the culmination of subdivision 2 but she will have to wait until later today to see who progresses to the final, when the 24 gymnasts with the highest cumulative score across all apparatus will qualify for the All-Around finals.

Full results will be available after all five subdivisions are completed later today but Ryan was proud of her performance, scoring 10.466 on the balance beam, 12.000 on the floor, 13.200 on the vault and 11.533 on the uneven bars.

“I’m feeling great!” she said afterwards. “To officially be an Olympian is just amazing, it’s surreal. It’s been an amazing experience overall, just looking around and taking it all in. I knew that no matter what happens I was just going to try and enjoy it and be happy with the fact that this is the Olympics and I am an Olympian!”

The senior Irish gymnast, who delivered Ireland’s first World Cup podium finish at the 2019 World Challenge Cup in Turkey winning silver on Uneven Bars, admitted that there were some nerves in her first routine.

“Definitely a bit of nerves for me at the start, I think the beam is always a shaky one to start on anyway. In my own head, a silly mistake was made and it’s something that wouldn’t normally happen. I know these things happen on the day and especially when you’re nervous. I was a bit nervous and shaky. I got into it though, and after that I tried to put it behind me and focus on the rest and I think I did a good job with that and I was happy with the rest of the performance,” she concluded.

ROWING:

In her third Olympic Games, defending World Champion in the Women’s Singles Sanita Puspure won her quarter-final in today’s race in Tokyo, and will now compete in the semi-final A/B next Tuesday. Her quarter-final race included World Bronze Medallist Kara Kohler from the USA, who was the early leader in the 2,000m race. Following a steady start, Puspure found her speed and moved up the field, before taking the lead with 500m to go. She finished in a time of 7.58.3, over a second clear of Kohler, while China’s Yan Jiang finished third, in the final qualification position.

The Women’s Pair of Monika Dukarska and Aileen Crowley also progressed to the semi-finals in their event, taking the third qualification spot in the repechage, with a time of 7.31.99. The Killorglin duo were relieved to keep the momentum, and will now set their focus on competing for the three places on offer for the A Final on Tuesday.

Speaking after the race Dukarska was relieved to be through to the top 12, especially following the uncertain year: “To be honest, it feels great. I suppose it was an uncertain time right up to getting here. Initially we had to defend our seats and make sure we were in the boat. We are progressing through each stage, and now the next focus is to get through the semi-final and get to the A Final. We are quite good at focusing on the process, so we are going to focus on that.”

The Lightweight Women’s Double of Margaret Cremen and Aoife Casey also finished third in their repechage, in a time of 7.23.46, and will compete in the semi-finals A/B. The Cork crew qualified for Tokyo in the final Olympic Qualification Regatta in Lucerne in May, and have benefitted from the extra year of training.

There was disappointment for the Men’s Double of Philip Doyle and Ronan Byrne, whose sixth place finish in the semi-final in 6.49.06 was not enough to progress to the A Final. They will now compete in the B Final and will race for seventh place.

Tomorrow’s regatta has been cancelled due to an expected typhoon in Tokyo, with the racing set to continue on Day Four (Tuesday, July 27th), when the Lightweight Men’s Double, Lightweight Women’s Double and the Women’s Pair compete in their semi-finals, aiming for a top three finish in their respective races. Puspure will compete next on Day Five (Wednesday, July 28th) in the Women’s Single, while the same day will also see the Women’s Four in the A Final and the Men’s Double in the B Final.

SAILING:

Team Ireland’s Annalise Murphy is the first Irish sailor to take to the water at Enoshima Island today as the sailing action officially gets underway. This Games marks the Olympic silver medallist’s third Games appearance in the women’s single-handed event. Racing in the Laser Radial, the 10-race series began today to decide the top 10 places for a medal race finale on Sunday, August 1st. The opening race has just concluded, with Annalise now lying in 35th place after race one, with the second race currently delayed due to poor weather conditions.

MORNING RESULTS DAY TWO: JULY 25TH, 2021

CANOEING:

Men’s C1 Canoe Slalom, Heats 1st Run: Liam Jegou, 174.57

GYMNASTICS:

Women’s Qualification, Subdivision 2: Meg Ryan, Accumulative Total of 47.199

Breakdown:

Beam – 10.466

Floor – 12.000

Vault – 13.200

Uneven Bars – 11.533

ROWING:

Women’s Single – Sanita Puspure 1st with 7.58.3 (progresses to semi-finals)

Women’s Pair – Monika Dukarska and Aileen Crowley 3rd with 7.31.99 (progress to semi-finals)

Lightweight Women’s Double – Aoife Casey and Margaret Cremen 3rd with 7.23.46 (progress to semi-finals)

Men’s Double – Philip Doyle and Ronan Byrne 6th with 6.49.06 (progress to B Final)

SAILING:

Laser Radial, Race 1: Annalise Murphy – 35th

DAY TWO SCHEDULE (ALL TIMES ARE IRISH TIME): JULY 25TH, 2021

TBC* Sailing – Annalise Murphy – Laser Radial Race 2 (*delayed due to weather)

07:08 Canoeing – Liam Jegou – Men’s Slalom, Heat 2nd Run

09:36 Equestrian – Heike Holstein and Sambuca - Dressage

11:07 Swimming – Danielle Hill – Women’s 100m Backstroke, Heat 3

11:45 Swimming – Mona McSharry – Women’s 100m Breaststroke, Heat 5

12:42 Boxing – Emmet Brennan – Men’s Light Heavyweight, Round of 32

Team Ireland’s swimmer Mona McSharry secured her slot in the 100m Breaststroke semi-final in Tokyo Aquatic Centre today with a strong swim of 1:06.39 for third place in her heat today – just shy of her PB of 1:06.29 – to finish 9th overall and qualify through to tomorrow’s semi-final swim. 

McSharry’s teammate Danielle Hill was also in action today in the Women’s 100m Backstroke heat, where she posted a time of 1:00.86, for 3rd place in her heat, and 25th position overall, while Emmet Brennan rounded off the action for Ireland on Day Two, losing out to Dilshod Ruzmetov of Uzbekistan by unanimous decision in his opening Round of 32 bout.

BOXING

Dublin’s Emmet Brennan was the only Irish boxer in action today, and lost out by unanimous decision this evening in his Men’s Light Heavy Round of 32 bout against Dilshod Ruzmetov of Uzbekeztan. World silver medallist, Ruzmetov, had a strong opening round, and though Brennan put the pressure on in the second round, Ruzmetov finished strong to progress to the next stage.

Speaking after the fight, Brennan said: “I’m gutted. It’s an Olympic Games, you come here to win and ultimately, I was beaten in the first fight. He was a good opponent, but a loss is never easy – especially on the biggest occasion in the world. You want to go as far as you can, you know you need a best night every fight and I didn’t have my best night – it’s as simple as that.”  

SWIMMING

Team Ireland’s swimmer Mona McSharry secured her slot in the 100m Breaststroke semi-final in Tokyo Aquatic Centre today with a strong swim of 1:06.39 for third place in her heat today – just shy of her PB of 1:06.29. The Sligo native was ranked 11th coming into the event, and placed 9th overall, to progress tomorrow’s semi-final.

Speaking afterwards she said: “I’m really excited, it was really nice to do that, it really is something else competing at the Olympics and I’m really glad that I’ve got the first race done now – and I’m so happy that I get to do another one.”

An Olympic Record was set by South African Tatjana Schoenmaker in her heat, which added that extra push.

 “I really burned coming up the last 25m,” McSharry admitted. “I could see the Swiss coming up the right of me and I was like, ‘I’m not letting her touch me out!’. I thought she almost had me, but I really pushed the last 10m. It’s really nice to be competing against great swimmers that are breaking records like that and say that you were in the same race as them.”

McSharry’s teammate Danielle Hill was also in action today in the Women’s 100m Backstroke heat, where she posted a time of 1:00.86, for 3rd place in her heat, and 25th position overall – outside of the top 16 progressing to the semi-finals.

Speaking afterwards, Hill said: “I’m a little disappointed with how it went, I would have liked to perform a little bit better, especially given that it is an evening swim but at the same time, I’m proud to put the Irish hat on and represent Larne as well.

“I think I was a little bit scared to attack it if I’m being brutally honest, I should have gone out and attacked it but that’s what I’ve got to learn and the only way I’m going to learn it is by doing it wrong.”

Action continues for Team Ireland, with the men’s triathlon getting underway tonight (Irish time), while Irish athletes are in action across hockey, swimming, sailing, canoeing and boxing. Ireland’s only badminton athlete Nhat Nguyen gets his debut Olympic campaign underway tomorrow, while Ireland’s rugby sevens will also make their debut at the Games tomorrow with games against South Africa and USA.

ENDS

EVENING RESULTS DAY TWO: JULY 25TH, 2021

BOXING:

Men’s Light Heavyweight (75-81kg) Round of 32 – Dilshod Ruzmetov (UZB) Vs Emmet Brennan (IRL), Win for UZB 5-0

SWIMMING:

Women’s 100m Backstroke, Heat 3 – Danielle Hill 3rd in heat and 25th overall with a time of 1:00.86

Women’s 100m Breaststroke, Heat 5 – Mona McSharry 3rd in heat and 9th overall with a time of 1:00.39 (progresses to semi-final)

DAY THREE SCHEDULE (ALL TIMES ARE IRISH TIME): July 26th, 2021

22:30* Triathlon – Russell White (*this event takes place on the night of July 25th Irish time)

02:00 Hockey – Netherlands v Ireland, Women’s Pool A Game 2

02:50 Swimming - Mona McSharry - Women’s 100m Breaststroke semi-final

03:00 Rugby Sevens – South Africa v Ireland, Men’s Pool C Game 1

04:03 Boxing – Brendan Irvine (IRL) v Carlo Paalam (PHI) - Men’s Flyweight, Round of 32

06:00 Canoe Slalom – Liam Jegou – Semi-Final

06:27 Boxing – Michaela Walsh (IRL) v Irma Testa (ITA) – Women’s Featherweight, Round of 16

06:35 Sailing – Annalise Murphy, Laser Radial, Races 3 and 4

10:30 Rugby Sevens – USA v Ireland, Men’s Pool C Game 2

11:20 Badminton – Nhat Nguyen (IRL) v Niluka Karunaratne (SRI) – Men’s Singles Group Play

11.20 Swimming – Brendan Hyland - Men’s 200m Butterfly Heat 2

11.45 Swimming – Ellen Walshe - Women’s 200m Individual Medley Heat 4

Both Liam Jegou (canoeing) and Annalise Murphy (sailing) had a second race this afternoon in Tokyo, with Jegou putting in a superb second run display to qualify for the Men’s C1 Canoe Slalom semi-finals. A solid race from Annalise Murphy in the Laser Radial also saw her finish in 12th place, while Team Ireland Dressage athlete, Heike Holstein, and her home-bred Sambuca, finished the Grand Prix Group D on a score of 68.432% for 6th place.

CANOE SLALOM:

Liam Jegou put in a strong 2nd run effort to safely negotiate the heats of the Men’s C1 Canoe Slalom this afternoon, and secure a spot in the semi-finals. Jegou finished in 11th position with a total of 104.40, placing him within the top 15 qualifying spots.

Speaking afterwards, a determined Jegou said: “I’m confident I’m in shape, I feel great technically. I just need to free myself a bit more. Tomorrow is a new day and semi-finals are a different ball game to heats. You have to attack a lot more and I feel less nervous in those situations, and I can really let go and try to put down the best run I can do.”

He added: “It’s the Olympics but it feels like a different kind of Olympics. That extra year has been really long for everyone, and everyone is excited to compete here. I’m glad I can say I’m an Olympian now – it’s official and I’m looking forward to more tomorrow.”

Jegou returns to the Kasai Canoe Slalom Centre tomorrow (Day 3 – July 26th) for the semi-finals, with the top 10 advancing to the final later in the day.

EQUESTRIAN

Ireland’s sole Dressage athlete, Heike Holstein and her home-bred Sambuca, finish the Grand Prix Group D on a score of 68.432% for 6th place. Now a four-time Olympian, Holstein partnered her home-bred 12-year-old mare by Samarant (HANN) through her Olympic debut in a beautiful fashion. Sambuca gave it her all and produced a striking display under the setting sun and in humid conditions, which have proved to be difficult factors for all horse and rider combinations.

Speaking after their performance, Heike stated: “I was really happy with her, she went into the ring and really concentrated. We had a few little errors that were my fault, in the first medium trot I had her back a bit too much. I was really happy with the passage and the piaffe has improved a lot, she was really relaxed in the walk and the changes were good. I timed the warm-up just right, I practiced it yesterday at the same time and I had more time today so I did less with her before I went in. She wasn’t exhausted but wasn’t too fresh. I was happy with most of it.”

“I am really proud of her. When she was a little foal I never thought that we would get this far, it is a long road and lots of things can happen. In 2019 I finally thought, this might happen!”

The Irish equestrian athletes are wearing yellow ribbons in commemoration of the loss of a highly talented young Irish athlete, Tiggy Hancock, in June. Also decorating Heike’s lapel was a beautiful pin designed by Tiggy’s mother specifically for the event.

When asked about the ribbon and pin, Heike proudly mentioned while pointing at them: “Tiggy is at the Olympics in Tokyo and we are very proud to wear this for her.”

SAILING:

Despite a delay to Annalise Murphy’s second race this afternoon at Enoshima Island, with the light wind picking back up it eventually got underway, with Murphy improving on her opening race placing of 35th, to finish in 12th place in the second race of the Laser Radial.

The 10-race series is due to continue tomorrow, weather allowing and speaking after today’s two races, Murphy said: “I’m relieved to get the first day out of the way, disappointed it didn’t go as I wanted it to. I did exactly what I didn’t want to in the first race, had a bad race, went the wrong way, didn’t stick with my plan, got caught up in a bit of an incident with another boat. I dealt badly with that by freaking out and doing the wrong thing. I had a slightly better second race, I was gaining around the race course rather than trying to do damage control which was good. I’m glad the first day is done and I’m looking forward to moving up from here – no more mistakes.”

The top ten boats from the series go through to the medal race.

Elsewhere today, swimmers Danielle Hill and Mona McSharry will be hitting the pool shortly, while boxer Emmet Brennan will be in action just before lunchtime.

AFTERNOON RESULTS DAY TWO: JULY 25TH, 2021

CANOE SLALOM:

Men’s C1 Canoe Slalom, Heats  2nd Run: 11th Liam Jegou, 104.40

EQUESTRIAN: 

Dressage Grand Prix - Group D: Heike Holstein & Sambuca, 68.432%, 6th place.

SAILING:

Laser Radial, Race 2: Annalise Murphy – 12th

DAY TWO SCHEDULE (ALL TIMES ARE IRISH TIME): JULY 25TH, 2021

*Note the schedule may be subject to change*

11:07 Swimming – Danielle Hill – Women’s 100m Backstroke, Heat 3

11:45 Swimming – Mona McSharry – Women’s 100m Breaststroke, Heat 5

12:42 Boxing – Emmet Brennan – Men’s Light Heavyweight, Round of 32

GREENE ROUNDS OUT THE ACTION IN THE POOL ON DAY ONE FOR TEAM IRELAND

Gymnast Rhys McClenaghan has made history today as he became the first Irish gymnast to qualify for an Olympic final following an incredible performance on the Pommel Horse earlier today. Indeed, it was another busy evening all round for the Irish, as the Team Ireland hockey team got their Tokyo 2020 Olympic campaign underway with a comfortable 2-0 win over South Africa, while swimmer Darragh Greene concluded Team Ireland’s action in the pool on Day One.

GYMNASTICS

Rhys McClenaghan has made history today as the first Irish gymnast to qualify for an Olympic final. Since his incredible performance on the Pommel Horse earlier on today, McClenaghan had a long wait for the completion of the three subdivisions to receive the exciting news. McClenaghan sat comfortably in 1st place throughout the first and second subdivision with the hopes of qualification set firmly in his sight.

After the day’s competition, McClenaghan finished in joint 2nd place alongside Kohei Kameyama, Japan, on a score of 15.266. Gymnasts are judged on a combination of Difficulty (D) & Execution (E) for their performance and both gymnasts were awarded the same score as Taiwan’s Chih Kai Lee in 1st place. However, Lee was declared the winner by achieving a higher execution mark. Lee was awarded 6.400 for Difficulty (D) and 8.866 for Execution (E), beating both McClenaghan’s and Kameyama’s Execution (E) mark of 8.766. The runners-up were awarded 6.500 for Difficulty (D).

“I am so proud to be the first Irish gymnast to make an Olympic final,” McClenaghan stated after the news was officially confirmed. “I am looking forward to going out and representing Team Ireland once again.”

HOCKEY

Ireland made a dream start to life as an Olympic hockey team as they got the best of South Africa in their debut on this stage.

Róisín Upton’s powerful low drag-flick in the ninth minute meant they held the lead from the outset, an advantage they eventually strengthened before the end of the third quarter via Sarah Torrans. It gives them the perfect platform for the tournament with a big date against world number one side the Netherlands on Monday.

Sarah Torrans scored the second goal, a particularly special moment as it was her first in a major world ranking tournament. Speaking after the game she said: “It’s so special, to do it with this bunch of girls is incredible. It’s a pity family and friends can’t be here to see it, but hopefully we can do them proud at home. It’s really nice to score in your first game – it’s one an attacker dreams of!

“You could probably see the smiles on our faces walking out – it’s been a long day waiting for this game, so to finally be on the pitch, it’s incredible, it feels so surreal. We are delighted to get it going with a win and excited to get it going.”

SWIMMING

Darragh Greene rounded off the Irish swimming action on Day One with a solid swim of 1:00.30 for fourth place in his 100m Breaststroke heat. Greene missed out on a top 16 qualifying spot but matched his 29th place ranking coming into the event. He competes again on Tuesday (Day 4 – July 27th) in the 200m Breaststroke.

Speaking afterwards he said: “It’s great to get that experience out there, it’s a serious pool, and yeah, really looking forward to the 200m.”

Speaking of the support he feels from home he added: “Yeah it’s unreal. It’s great to have everyone’s support, it’s very overwhelming and it’s great to have.”

Another busy day for Team Ireland gets underway tomorrow, with action across seven sports including rowing, gymnastics, sailing, canoeing, equestrian, swimming and boxing.

EVENING RESULTS DAY ONE: JULY 24TH, 2021

HOCKEY:

Women’s Pool A, Game 1: Ireland 2, South Africa 0

GYMNASTICS

Pommel Horse:

1st place Chih Kai Lee (TPE), 15.266

Joint 2nd Rhys McClenaghan (IRL) & Kohei Kameyama (JPN), 15.266.

SWIMMING:

Men’s 100m Breaststroke, Heat 4 –Darragh Greene 4th in heat and 29th overall with a time of 1:00.30

Morning report from Team Ireland on Day One of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games

It was a jam-packed morning of action for Team Ireland at the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games, with athletes from rowing, gymnastics, boxing and taekwondo all in action, while the men’s road race is currently still taking place in cycling.

BOXING

Kurt Walker was the first Irish boxer into the ring in Tokyo today, facing off against Spain’s Jose Quiles Brotons in the Men’s Featherweight (52-57kg) Round of 32 at the Kokugikan Arena. A powerful display from Walker saw him progress through, winning the fight by unanimous decision.

‘I’m so happy to be here, and so happy to get the win,” he said afterwards. “I’m feeling grateful. I was listening to the coaches and I knew I was going to win. It just went off a bit in the second round but that’s normal in the first fight, it’s good to have that type of thing behind me.’

Awaiting him in the next round is World Champion and number one seed, Mirazizbek Mirzakhalilov from Uzbekistan.

GYMNASTICS

The first of Ireland’s two gymnasts to compete at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, Rhys McClenaghan, completed his men’s qualification round on the Pommel Horse earlier this morning with a score of 15.266. His display saw him top the Pommel Horse individual results in subdivision 1 but he will have to wait until later today to find out his fate, with the top 8 ranked gymnasts in each individual section qualifying for the final. Full results will be available after all three subdivisions are completed later today. Speaking afterwards, the European and Commonwealth gold medallist was proud of his performance, and is relying on his preparation to make improvements to his routine if he advances to the final. 

 “It was a good day at the office. I am an Olympian now and that is a dream come true. We are as prepared as we can be. I am relying on the preparation that we have done so far to replicate my routine today and do it better.” 

ROWING

In a true demonstration of their class on the second day of racing at the Olympic Regatta in Tokyo, Team Ireland rowers Paul O’Donovan and Fintan McCarthy dominated their heat of the Lightweight Men’s Double Scull in the opening heats of their Olympic campaign, finishing five seconds clear of second-placed Czech Republic in a time of 6.23.74, to progress to Semi-Final A/B. The Women’s Four of Emily Hegarty, Fiona Murtagh, Eimear Lambe and Aifric Keogh were equally impressive, qualifying for the A Final in a time of 6.28.99, just 0.23 seconds off first-placed Australia, who posted an Olympic Best time of 6.28.76.

The Men’s Double of Philip Doyle and Ronan Byrne kept their Olympic hopes alive, finishing third in their repechage, and will now compete in the Semi-Final A/B tomorrow (Sunday). Meanwhile the Women’s Pair of Monika Dukarska and Aileen Crowley and the Lightweight Women’s Double of Aoife Casey and Margaret Cremen will compete in the repechage tomorrow after finishing fourth and fifth in their respective heats.

The event schedule was adjusted today to allow for a rescheduling of races that were set to take place on Monday, due to the expectation of strong winds. The saltwater course is changeable, with conditions unpredictable.

Speaking after the race, Olympic Silver Medallist Paul O’Donovan said, “We won the race, so it’s hard to do much better than that – you don’t want to win by 20 seconds either, because it’s very hot out there. It was still tough, all the races at this regatta will be tough. But it’s difficult to complain with that result.”

Commenting on the changeable conditions, Fintan McCarthy added: “I reckon we row in all sorts of conditions in training and we are used to adapting to whatever condition is thrown at us. It’s about being adaptable and doing what we do in training.”

TAEKWONDO

There was heartbreak for Ireland’s first Olympic Taekwondo athlete, Jack Woolley, who was in action in his first fight this morning, losing out in the final seconds, 22-19 to Argentina’s Lucas Guzman. An evenly-matched contest, the two fighters were on level pegging throughout, with Guzman taking the spoils at the end of the first, 9-6, while Woolley put in a superb second round display to see him take a slender 12-13 lead into the final round. They matched each other blow for blow in the last, with Woolley taking an 18-19 lead with just over 10 seconds remaining. However, two quick scores from Guzman in the closing few seconds, saw him take a 22-19 win. Jack now awaits the remainder of Guzman’s results before finding out if he has a chance to fight in the repechage later today. 

Speaking afterwards he said: “I’m very disappointed, everything was good in the lead up, in our prep, I felt physically great going in. I walked in today and something just didn’t click, it just wasn’t my day. I have to keep my fingers crossed and hope for the best this evening. Sport is unpredictable. I hope everyone else he fights has a similar performance to me, but we have to see - he has to get to the final first.”

Elsewhere, the Men’s Road Race is currently underway in cycling, while later today, Team Ireland swimmers Ellen Walsh and Darragh Greene are in action, while the hockey team will get their Olympic campaign underway when they face South Africa in their opening game.

MORNING RESULTS DAY ONE: JULY 24TH, 2021

BOXING

Men’s Feather -57kg Round of 32: Jose Quiles Brotons (SPA) v Kurt Walker (IRL), win for IRL: 0-5

GYMNASTICS

Men’s Pommel Horse: Rhys McClenaghan (IRL) 15.266 (Placing confirmed after all three subdivisions complete)

ROWING:

Lightweight Men’s Double – Paul O’Donovan & Fintan McCarthy 1st with 6.23.74 (progress to semi-finals)

Women’s Four – Emily Hegarty, Fiona Murtagh, Eimear Lambe, Aifric Keogh 2nd with 6.28.99 (Progress to A Final)

Men’s Double – Philip Doyle & Ronan Byrne 3rd with 6.29.9 (progress to Semifinals A/B)

Women’s Pair – Monika Dukarska & Aileen Crowley 4th with 7.24.71 (progress to Repechage)

Lightweight Women’s Double – Aoife Casey & Margaret Cremen 5th with 7.17.67 (progress to Repechage)

TAEKWONDO

Men’s -58kg Round of 16, Jack Woolley (IRL) v  Lucas Guzman (ARG), win for ARG: 22-19

DAY ONE SCHEDULE (ALL TIMES ARE IRISH TIME): JULY 24TH, 2021

*Note the schedule may be subject to change*

03:00 Cycling – Nicolas Roche, Dan Martin & Eddie Dunbar – Men’s Road Race

11:28 Swimming – Ellen Walshe – Women’s 100m Butterfly, Heat 2

12:32 Swimming – Darragh Greene – Men’s 100m Breaststroke, Heat 4

13:15 Hockey – Ireland v South Africa – Pool Match

 Afternoon report from Team Ireland on Day One of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games

The action continued in Tokyo this afternoon for Team Ireland with Dan Martin, Nicolas Roche and Eddie Dunbar all competing in the men’s cycling road race, while Ellen Walshe was the first Irish swimmer to hit the water this evening, winning her Women’s 100m Breaststroke heat in a time of 59.35.

CYCLING ROAD

Dan Martin finished 16th in a punishing 234-kilometer Men’s Road Race at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics today, with his Ireland teammates, Nicolas Roche and Eddie Dunbar finishing 75th and 76th respectively, and both playing their part in animating the race and delivering a top 20 result for Team Ireland. With 4,865 metres of climbing over a distance of 234 kilometres, the course was considered one of the toughest in Olympic history. The searing temperatures and over six hours in the saddle combined to whittle down the peloton with 82 of the 130 riders finishing the race.

24-year-old Cork man, Eddie Dunbar said he wanted to put Banteer back on the Olympic map and he aimed to do just that with an attack inside the final 50 kilometres. Dunbar was joined by Remco Evenepoel and Vincenzo Nibali however other nations recognised the danger and acted quickly to close the gap. The decisive move was made on the Mikuni Pass when one of the pre-race favourites, Tadej Pogačar (Slovenia) blew the peloton apart on the steep climb. The move saw Eddie Dunbar distanced while Dan Martin remained in contention until a kilometre before the summit. Dan Martin crested Mikuni Pass in a chase group and battled on for a very respectable top 20 finish. Richard Carapaz (Ecuador) won gold with Wout van Aert claiming silver ahead of Tadej Pogačar in a photo finish.

Speaking afterwards, Dan Martin said: “We came here with the idea of getting a medal and honestly, it’s been my best experience in an Irish team since I’ve been racing for Ireland. We had the best preparation possible; the staff have been amazing, and we really worked together. It was a great team performance and yeah, unfortunately I just didn’t have the legs when it mattered on the climb. It was super-hot there and I just missed a couple of seconds to be in that front selection that was fighting for the medals. We did a perfect race today in my opinion, I wouldn’t change anything that we did today and that’s a really nice feeling coming out of an Olympic road race knowing that we all did our best. Nico did a great job of keeping me positioned and safe the whole way along and we had staff the whole way along giving us bottles. It really was a great team effort. I want to say thank you to everyone and just unfortunately we couldn't come away with a medal this time but yeah it's really promising for the future, how we're developing as a team. It was really good to race with Eddie as well. I think he’s the future of Irish cycling, so it’s been good to share mine and Nico’s experience with him this week. The future’s bright and we can all look forward towards Paris now and try and improve our performance still.”

Eddie Dunbar agreed, commenting: “Yeah, it was a very, very tough day. A long day in the saddle. I thought it was a super performance today by the team, we were out of trouble all day and never dropped outside of the top 30 all day I would say. Nico did a brilliant job keeping me and Dan out of trouble. I followed a move with about 60km to go with Remco and Nibali. When you see a rider like that move it's important to follow, given his characteristics and what he's capable of doing. I felt good at the time and you never know what could have happened in a situation like that. It didn't pay off but that’s one day racing - you normally only have one bullet and when you use it that’s it, game over. I thought it was a great day for us and Dan finished in the top 20 today, so a good ride by all of us in the green jersey.”

Nicolas Roche was also pleased with the performance stating: “Today the tactics were that I would look after the interests of Dan and Eddie to put them in the best position for the finish. Eddie tried to go in an early move with Remco, and Dan played the safe card by just waiting and saving himself. Good ride by Dan to make it into the top 20. When we got to the last climb, I just rode my pace and made it to the finish. It’s been an honour for me to ride at the Olympics. I’ve had my chance to go for results of my own already three times and I thought it was fair to really commit this time for the other two who were, in my opinion, stronger for the day.”

EQUESTRIAN

Irish equestrian athletes across all disciplines will wear a yellow ribbon during competition in commemoration of the loss of a highly talented young Irish athlete who tragically suffered a fatal incident in June. Tiggy Hancock (15) was known across all equestrian disciplines and was a respected member of the Irish Pony High-Performance Eventing Programme. She was a shining star that would have been a promising Olympian of the future. At the young age of 15, Tiggy had already made a mark on the sport and was one to watch whenever she competed, against both senior and youth athletes. 

Tiggy was well-liked among both junior and senior members of the Irish equestrian family as well as the international equestrian community and her passing has been mourned by all. The colour yellow for the ribbon was selected by the Hancock family as this was Tiggy’s favourite colour and a symbol of the person she was; a bright, bubbly, shining ray of sunshine. Tiggy’s warm nature was felt by everybody in her presence and the yellow ribbon is a reminder of her beautiful nature.

Speaking about the announcement, Joe Reynolds, Acting CEO of Horse Sport Ireland stated: “We would like to thank the International Olympic Council (IOC) and the Fédération Equestre Internationale (FEI) for allowing the Irish equestrian athletes to wear this mark of respect and show their support to the Hancock family during the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.”

SWIMMING

Ellen Walshe was Team Ireland’s first swimmer in action at the Tokyo Aquatic Centre and she put in an impressive performance to win her Women’s 100m Butterfly heat in a time of 59.35 – just 0.03 seconds outside of her own Irish Senior Record set in June 2021. Walshe finished in 24th position overall, with the top 16 progressing to the semi-finals.

“It was a strong first swim for me, it’s just slightly off my PB.” she said afterwards. “It would have been nice to get another Irish Senior Record but it wasn’t there, I felt strong, but you win some you lose some – I’m happy enough with the swim.”

Walshe is back in action on Monday (Day 3 – July 26th) in the Women’s 200m Individual Medley.

Elsewhere today swimmer Darragh Greene will be in action in the 100m Breaststroke shortly, while the hockey team will kick start their Olympic campaign when they face South Africa in their opening game.

AFTERNOON RESULTS DAY ONE: JULY 24TH, 2021

CYCLING:

Men’s Road Race:16th Dan Martin (6:00:04), 75th Nicolas Roche (6:21:46), 76th Eddie Dunbar (6:21:46).

SWIMMING

Women’s 100m Butterfly Heat: Ellen Walshe, 1st in heat, 24th overall with a time of 59.35.

DAY ONE SCHEDULE (ALL TIMES ARE IRISH TIME): JULY 24TH, 2021

*Note the schedule may be subject to change*

12:32 Swimming – Darragh Greene – Men’s 100m Breaststroke, Heat 4

13:15 Hockey – Ireland v South Africa – Pool Match

ROWERS FIRST IRISH ATHLETES IN ACTION AS THE TOKYO 2020 OLYMPIC GAMES GET UNDERWAY FOR TEAM IRELAND

Today was the opening day of action in Tokyo for Team Ireland athletes this morning, with all attention firmly focused on rowing as Sanita Puspure in the Women’s Single (W1X) and Philp Doyle and Ronan Byrne in the Men’s Double (M2X) took to the water early on.

Puspure demonstrated her class by cruising home first in her heat in a time of 7:46.08, almost eight seconds ahead of second-placed Kenia Lechuga of Mexico and progressing straight through to the quarter finals. In the men’s event meanwhile, with only the top three moving to the semi-finals, Doyle and Byrne finished just outside automatic qualifying in fourth place in a time of 6:14.40 and will now compete in the repechage tomorrow (Saturday) morning.

Puspure led from the start, and was never under pressure throughout the race. However, the competition is proving extremely high in this event, with the fastest heat times being posted in heat six by Emma Twigg (New Zealand) and Anna Souwer (Netherlands). Timings on the course may hold little relevance though, with conditions ever changeable.

Speaking after her race, Puspure was relieved to get her Tokyo 2020 Olympic campaign underway: “That’s the first race done, I’m focusing on the next one now and taking it one race at a time. I’m not thinking too far ahead, and am staying calm and collected. The conditions were okay, it swings around a lot. For our race, we had a cross head, and you can see by the flags here it is a tailwind so it changes rapidly. You just have to go with it.”

Elsewhere in swimming, Shane Ryan will not start in the Men’s 100M Backstroke. His decision to withdraw is based on persistent shoulder pain that he has been experiencing, which is specific to this particular stroke. The decision was made in consultation with the Team Ireland swimming and medical staff in Tokyo. He will, however, still compete in the Men’s 100M Butterfly and the Men’s 4x200M Freestyle Relay.

The official Opening Ceremony of the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games will take place later this evening Tokyo time (12pm noon Irish time), while Day One tomorrow (Saturday, July 24th) is an action-packed day for Irish athletes with a host of rowers in action and the men’s road race in cycling. Gymnast Rhys McClenaghan will also get his first taste of action in the morning, while Kurt Walker will be first up in the boxing ring for Ireland. Jack Woolley will begin his Olympic campaign in Taekwondo, swimmers Ellen Walshe and Darragh Greene will hit the water in the evening, while the Irish hockey team faces South Africa in their first pool match.

MORNING RESULTS DAY ZERO: JULY 23RD, 2021

ROWING

Women’s Single Heats: Sanita Puspure (IRL) 1st with 7:46.08 (Progresses to quarter-final).

Men’s Double Heats: Philip Doyle and Ronan Byrne (IRL) 4th with 6:14.40 (Progresses to Repechage)

DAY ONE SCHEDULE (ALL TIMES ARE IRISH TIME): JULY 24TH, 2021

*Note the schedule may be subject to change*

01:40 Rowing – Philip Doyle and Ronan Byrne -  Men’s Double Repechage

02:00 Gymnastics – Rhys McClenaghan - Men’s Qualification

02:10 Rowing –Monika Dukarska and Aileen Crowley - Women’s Pair, Heats

02:50 Rowing – Aoife Casey and Margaret Cremen – Women’s Lightweight Double, Heats

03:00 Cycling – Nicolas Roche, Dan Martin & Eddie Dunbar – Men’s Road Race

03:30 Rowing – Paul O’Donovan and Fintan McCarthy – Men’s Lightweight Double, Heats

04:00 Rowing – Aifric Keogh, Eimear Lambe, Fiona Murtagh, Emily Hegarty – Women’s Four, Heats

04:03 Boxing – Kurt Walker (IRL) v Jose Quiles Brotons (Spain), Men’s Feather Round of 32

05:15* Taekwondo – Jack Woolley (IRL) v  Lucas Guzman (ARG), Men’s -58kg Round of 16 (*further fights to be confirmed throughout the day)

11:28 Swimming – Ellen Walshe – Women’s 100m Butterfly, Heat 2

12:32 Swimming – Darragh Greene – Men’s 100m Breaststroke, Heat 4

13:15 Hockey – Ireland v South Africa – Pool Match

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