Thursday 27 October 2016

Paralympic GOLD medals for Irish cyclists Eoghan Clifford, Katie-George Dunlevy and Eve McCrystal

Published 14/09/2016 | 13:16

Eoghan Clifford of Ireland in action during the Men's C3 Time Trial at the Pontal Cycling Road during the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Photo by Diarmuid Greene/Sportsfile
Colin Lynch of Ireland has won silver in Rio

It has been a huge night for Ireland at the Paralympics with gold medals for Eoghan Clifford in the C3 time trial event and that has been quickly followed up by victory for Katie-George Dunlevy and Eve McCrystal in the B tandem time trial.

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Galway cyclist Eoghan Clifford has secured his second medal at the Rio Paralympics and this time it was magical gold.

Clifford, who took bronze in the C3 Individual Pursuit last Friday, produced a terrific performance today to beat off all his rivals in a time of 38:21.79,  a full one minute and eight seconds ahead of second placed Masaki Fujita of Japan.

The 35-year-old secured Ireland's fifth medal and third gold of the Paralympics, to the add to top honours secured a Jason Smyth and Michael McKillop, with a commanding display at Pontal.

There was more joy for Ireland shortly afterwards Katie-George Dunlevy and Eve McCrystal were also victorious at Pontal in a time of 38:59.22, 33 seconds ahead of Japan in second.

Today's achievement more than makes up for the duo's despair at coming fifth in the Women's B 3000m Individual Pursuit earlier in the Games.

Ireland's medal haul stands at seven after today's exploits after Ellen Keane won bronze in the SB8 100m Breaststroke Final in a time of 1:23.07.

Canada's Katarina Roxon took gold, stopping the clock in 1:19.44. Claire Cashmore of Britain was second in 1:20.60.

Earlier today, Colin Lynch won silver in the C2 Time Trail.

Lynch clocked a time of 28:02.25 and finished second - 19 seconds behind the victorious Tristen Chernove from Canada.

Speaking from Rio, a beaming Lynch said: "It’s four years and to achieve the one thing I didn’t have, a Paralympic medal. It was really close and I was trying to figure out how to get everything out of myself. It was really really close."

He told RTE Sport: "I put all year into this one ride today and I'm pretty pleased. I would have obviously loved to have won the gold and it was close but to come away with a medal, it's a four-year dream.

"At the halfway point I knew that I was only 11 seconds down so I was driving as hard as I could to make that up. The other guy didn't take too much more time out of me but it was a tough day out there with a lot of wind.

"I gave it everything I had right to the line so there was no more I could have done."

Declan Slevin and Ciara Staunton both finished 11th in their respective time trial events today.

Earlier in the Games, Lynch finished fifth in the Individual Pursuit competition, narrowly missing out on a bronze medal ride off. At the 2012 Paralympic Games in London, he missed out on a track medal  by one tenth of a second.

Lynch grew up in Canada while his father is from Drogheda. He took up competitive cycling in 2008 and pursued his competitive career winning his first time trial world title in 2011. In 2015, he won two golds on the UCI World Cup Circuit and this year won a silver in the 3km Pursuit at the World Track Championships.

Elsewhere today, canoeist Patrick O'Leary qualified for tomorrow's KL3 final after finishing third in his semi.

In the pool, Ellen Keane will go in the SB8 100m breaststroke final after she won her heat today.

Shooter Sean Baldwin failed to make final of R6 50m rifle prone after finishing 29th in qualifier.

There were two Irish pairings in the B tandem time trial this evening, Damien Vereker and Sean Hahessy finished in sixth position while Peter Ryan and Marcin Mizgajski were 17th.

The men's cerebral palsy seven-a-side football team were beaten 2-1 in their seventh placed playoff by the USA to finish eighth overall.

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