European Youth Olympic Festival: Monday Results

Personal Bests and Finals Beckon for Team Ireland in Maribor

24 July 2023; Ava Jones of Ireland competing in the girls 100m freestyle heats during day one of the 2023 Summer European Youth Olympic Festival at the Pristan Swimming Centre in Maribor, Slovenia. Photo by Tyler Miller/Sportsfile

A busy day of competition for Team Ireland at the European Youth Olympic Festival (EYOF) saw Irish action in the pool, on the track, and on the court. Athletics saw good progression from several athletes, who will now contest the finals, including 2022 EYOF Bronze medallist Sean Cronin in the 1500m. This is the second day of action at the event which takes place in  Maribor and runs from the 23 – 29 July 2023.


Sean Cronin was the first Team Ireland athlete competing at the Poljane Athletics Stadium this morning, at the European Youth Olympic Festival (EYOF) in Maribor. The Clonliffe Harriers A.C. athlete finished in 3rd place in a time of 4:01.46 in the Boy’s 1500m Heats securing a place in the final.  

Cronin, who is a Bronze medallist in the same event from the EYOF in 2022, said,


“Everyone seemed to have a lot left in the tank coming into the last lap. I was in a comfortable second but had to watch my back, there was a group of four or five right behind me, so I had to be very careful, I’m really happy with that performance.” 

Despite a stumble in the heats of the Boy’s 100m, Jesse Osas finished the Boy’s 100m heats in 4th place with a time of 10.80 securing him a place in the semi-final which takes place tomorrow. The Ratoath sprinter was the flagbearer for Team Ireland at the Closing Ceremony of last year’s EYOF in Banska Bystrica and is determined to make his mark at this year’s event.

Kilkenny Andrew Cooper threw a personal best of 17.2 in the Boy’s Shot Put to qualify for the final later this week.

“The warm-ups were a bit dodgy, I ended up taking a few more than I should have, and they weren’t going very far. So I said I better keep the head here, I looked over to the coach Brian Scanlon and he gave me a few cues. I went in the first round and PBed 10cm, I can’t ask for more, I went out and did the job.

Disappointed with her performance Clodagh Gill struggled with the heat in the final of the Girl’s 3000m today, finishing seventh overall with a time of 9:44.79. The Moy Valley runner is capable of a podium time with a personal best time of 09:31.86.

“The first 2k was going well, and I was on track for a good time, but the last 1km, I could just feel the sun come out, and from there on it didn’t go too great. I know I couldn’t do any more, my legs went on the line. The atmosphere on the track was class, all my teammates were out there. They were all in the corner, and my coach was along with them – Philip Finnerty has been coaching me since I was 8 or 9, so he knows me well.”


Seamus Clarke finished in ninth place in the Boy’s 5000m Race Walk, with a time of 23:44.52. Disappointed to be outside his personal best time, the Ballina walker said,

“I’m happy with my debut, but not with my time. It was minute off my PB, so obviously I have stuff to work with, like balancing the heat. I went off a bit quick, and at 3km a wall came down. I dropped down to my easy pace, but it felt like my race pace, and that’s saying something.”


Son of 1996 Olympian Deirdre Clarke (nee Gallagher), Clarke has plenty of potential, and is coached by his mother, he added,

“Knowing mam, my coach, she’ll find a few things wrong. She’ll be able to correct me now, even on my arms. It’s great to have her, I can get all the coaching tips in the house and all. If I have a flaw, even a small little thing in training, she will get me to work on it.”



Making his debut for Team Ireland, Killarney’s Oisin Lynch finished the heats of the Boy’s 800m in a time of 1:54.74, resulting in fourth place in his heat. With only the top two in each heat and the two fastest times after that progressing, this wasn’t enough for the Killarney Valley A.C. athlete to qualify for the finals.

Speaking on his experience and first major Championship, Lynch said,


“It’s my first major championship so it’s all a learning curve, it’s been a good experience. It’s a pity I didn’t make the final, I’m not satisfied, but I will be back.” 

Also competing on the track this morning in the Girl’s 100m heats was Carlow’s Leila Colfer, finishing in fifth place in a time of 12.20 just outside her personal best. It won’t be enough to progress to the semi-finals tomorrow.  

Speaking on her performance afterwards, Colfer said, “I felt really good during the race, but I don’t think my start was as good as I wanted it to be. Getting here to compete against these girls has been a really good experience for me.”


Colfer, who competes for St. Laurence O’Toole Athletics Club will have the relay to look forward to at the end of the week.  

Oisin McEvoy and Hollie Kilroe both bowed out of the 400m on the track today. From Castlerea, Kilroe finished her second EYOF with a time of 58.05, while Banbridge native McEvoy finished with a time of 51.74. After the competition, the Lusk AC racer said,

“I never go out too fast and I kick in at the end. But when I got to the end I didn’t feel fast, just felt more tired than usual. It definitely was not the result I was looking for, you can find a million reasons why, but I’m happy to have the experience. It’s a building block.”


In the first morning of action for the swimmers, personal records were not enough to secure places in the final for the four competing athletes.

Dubliner, Ava Jones finished the 100m Freestyle with a personal best time of 59.61. Her 30th position overall was not enough to progress to the semi-finals. Speaking after her race, she said,

“The pressure was on, a new pool and the first race, the nerves, but it was totally fine when I was in the water. It’s the first race, I’m settled into it now, I think I was good in the first 50, but came back in slower than I needed to in the second one, but I can work on that.”


Limerick’s Denis O’Brien had a strong swim, with his personal record of 4:07.58 not enough to move into the top 8 who contested the final and finishing 15th overall. O’Brien said,

“It wasn’t the best start to the week, but not too bad. It was a very tough race, from the start the man ahead of me was out, and I couldn’t catch him. My arms started to get a bit heavy to the end. I was a bit nervous coming here – the fastest swimmers from all the countries are here, so it’s good to have the first one down now.”

Brydan Byrne also finished with a personal best time in the 100m Backstroke, finishing with a time of 59.12 to finish 30th overall.

“Getting a PB is always really nice, it feels amazing. I just did what I normally do at all the stages, so I’m really happy. I could see people next to me, and was trying to edge ahead. I knew we had similar PBs, so if you’re ahead you’re probably going well. I was quite controlled.”


From Galway, Niamh Connery had a strong swim in her opening event, the Individual Medley, and finished with a time of 5:13.1, just outside her PB. With tomorrow’s 200m Breaststroke being her favoured event, Connery was glad to get the event underway,

“I was trying to work on my fly, and keeping the legs under the water. I think it was a nice one to open the competition with, it was an ice-breaker. I’m more of a breaststroker, so hopefully tomorrow and my other events will go better. It’s been really fun here, I want to keep training and keep going, and try to get as far as I can.

Connery was also inspired by the results coming in from the senior team of swimmers who are competing for Olympic qualifying times in Japan at the world championships,

“The girls in Japan, I’ve seen all the results, it’s just amazing, because that’s where I want to be in the next couple of years.”



Lydia Brennan was beaten by Estonian tennis player Marie Lapimaa 2-0 (6-0,6-2) in her opening match.

“I played the Estonian girl, and she was so good. It was very hot, so the first set I wasn’t playing my best, and she was playing very well. Bu the second set I came back a bit and the games were longer and the volleys were longer. I was hitting my good shots and so was she so it was a good match.”

Jennifer Marsh was also in action today in the girl’s singles, ultimately losing 2-0 (6-4, 6-1) against her Latvian opponent, Odeta Panasa.

The girl’s were back in action in the doubles later this evening, where Brennan and Marsh ultimately lost the first two sets in a close match against Denmark, 2-0 (6-4, 6-4).

Speaking about their match, Brennan said,


“Our main tactic was to serve as wide as possible with the person at the net ready for the volley to put it away, which we got loads of points on. Both of our serves were working really well, and they were going to places where we wanted them to go.” Marsh added, “we both specialise in a way that when we were returning, we both went back to the baseline because that’s our strength. But in the end the result didn’t go our way”

Also competing on the court in the Boy’s doubles were Eoghan Jennings and Zac Naughton, Jennings from Westport and Naughton from Wicklow started strong by winning the opening set however the Turkish pair of Aren Baybars and Doruk Calikoglu fought hard to win the second set forcing the match into a tiebreak which the Irish pair ultimately losing, 2-1. Wicklow tennis player Naughton, said,


“In the first set we really took the game to them, playing aggressively, we didn’t let them play their tennis. In the second our concentration went which allowed them to get back into the game, the tiebreak can be a fifty-fifty and unfortunately it didn’t go our way.”

This brings the doubles competition for Team Ireland to a close at the European Youth Olympic Festival in Maribor.  Eoghan Jennings will be back in action tomorrow in the Boy’s Singles.

Results 24 July 2023


Sean Cronin, Boy’s 1500m Heat – 4:01.46 3rd fastest time, qualified for final

Jesse Osas, Boy’s 100m Heat – 10.80, qualified for final

Oisin Lynch, Boy’s 800m Heat – 1:54.74, did not qualify for final

Leila Colfer, Girl’s 100m Heat – 12.20, did not qualify for final

Andrew Cooper, Boy’s Shot Put – 17. 2 (PB), 11th overall, qualifies for Final

Hollie Kilroe, Girl’s 400m Heat – 58.05, 6th in heat, did not qualify for final

Oisin McEvoy, Boy’s 400m Heat – 51.74, 8th in heat, did not qualify for final.

Clodagh Gill, Girl’s 3000m Final – 9:44.79, 7th in Final

Seamus Clarke, Boy’s 5000m Final – 23:44.52, 9th in Final


Ava Jones, Girls 100m Freestyle, Heat – 59.61 (PB) not qualified for semis

Denis O’Brien, Boys 400m Freestyle, Heat – 4:07.58 (PB) not qualified for final

Brydan Byrne, Boys 100m Backstroke, Heat – 59.12 (PB) Reserve 1 for semis

Niamh Connery, Girls 400m IM, Heat – 5:13.1 not qualified for final



Girl’s Singles Round 1:

Jennifer Marsh (IRL) DEFEATED BY Odeta Panasa (LAT) 2-0 (6-4, 6-1)

Lydia Brennan (IRL) DEFEATED BY Marie Johanna Lapimaa (EST) 2-0 (6-0, 6-2)

Girl’s Doubles Round 1:

Jennifer Marsh/Lydia Brennan (IRL) DEFEATED BY Augusta Lucia Grau Kristenson/Sophia Izabella Ragus (DEN) 2-0 (6-4,6-4)

Boy’s Doubles Round 1:

Eoghan Jennings/Zac Naughton (IRL) DEFEATED BY Aren Baybars/Doruk Calikoglu (TUR) 2-1 (2-6, 6-4, 7-10)

Competition Schedule 24 July 2023 – times Irish with local in brackets.


08:50 (09:50) Boy’s Long Jump Qualification A/B, Michael Kent

10:35 (11:35) Boy’s 400m Hurdles Round 1, Davey Davitt

16:10 (17:10) Boy’s Shot Put Final (*Qualification dependent), Andrew Cooper

16:40 (17:40) Boy’s 100m Semi-Final, Jesse Osas

18:40 (19:40) Boy’s 100m Final (*Qualification dependent), Jesse Osas


08:00 (09:00) Girl’s Time Trial, Aliyah Rafferty, Kate Murphy, Greta Lawless

10:00 (11:00) Boy’s Time Trial, Conor Murphy, David Gaffney, Philip O’Connor



08:30 (09:30) Boy’s 100m Freestyle, Gene Smyth

09:11 (10:11) Boy’s 200m Butterfly, Sean Donnellan

09:23 (10:23) Girl’s 200m Breaststroke, Ava Jones, Niamh Connery

17:09 (18:09) Boy’s 100m Freestyle Semi-Final (*Qualification dependent), Gene Smyth

17:38 (18:38) Girl’s 200m Breaststroke Semi-Final (*Qualification dependent), Ava Jones, Niamh Connery

17:52 (18:52) Boy’s 200m Butterfly Semi-Final (*Qualification dependent), Sean Donnellan

18:14 (19:14) Boy’s 1500m Freestyle Final, Denis O’Brien


15:45 (16:45) MAG Qualification, James Hickey


09:15 (10:15) Boy’s Singles, Eoghan Jennings v Aren Baybars

Scroll to Top