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Healy's dream of a medal rolls away

Conor Healy was less than a second off the bronze medal position when his boat tipped over at the European Junior Wildwater Championships in Kraljeo, Serbia.

Competing in the canoe sprint race, Healy was lying a comfortable seventh after his first run and only 10 metres from the finish line on the second when he endured not one but three eskimo rolls. It dropped him down to 19th place.

A few days earlier, Healy had been competing in the longer distance classic race and finished ninth in 18 mins 6.22 secs, just 23.28 seconds behind Vladimir Slanina of the Czech Republic. Jack McCabe was 25th in the same class for open boats, with canoeists using a single-bladed paddle.

In the kayak class sprint, Sean McCarthy was 29th of 42 starters, less than 16 seconds behind the winner, Richard Hal of the Czech Republic.

With McCarthy ill, Iomhar Mac Giolla Phádraig was the only Irish paddler in the K1 classic race. He finished 27th in 16:27.69, which put him 1.22 minutes behind the winner, Bjorn Barthel of Germany.

Healy, McCarthy and Mac Giolla Phádraig had also competed in both K1 team races. With McCarthy recovering from his illness, they used the classic race as training. In the sprint, their time of 2:39.39 over two runs put them eighth and less than 24 seconds behind the winning French team.

This weekend it's the turn of the U23 and junior sprint canoeists, who are off to Moscow for the European Championships.

A total of 400 from 35 countries will compete, including a strong team from Ireland. Joe Murphy, Adam Sweeny and Tom Brennan, all from Salmon Leap Kayak Club, and Mick Fitzsimons, from Celbridge Paddlers, will team up to compete in the junior K4 1,000m race. Murphy and Sweeny pair up for the K2 500m, while Fitzpatrick and Brennan go in the K2 200m.

Ireland's sole representative in the U23 Championships is Jenny Egan, of Slalom Leap, who lines out in all three K1 races -- 200m, 500m and 1,000m. In June, Egan took a first ever World Cup canoeing medal for Ireland, finishing second in the longer distance 5,000m race in Szeged, Hungary.

The team has spent the past 10 days training at Mechelem, Belgium.


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