Saturday 20 January 2018

Behan thrills keep Ireland hopes alive

Ireland's Kieran Behan competes on the pommel horse
Ireland's Kieran Behan competes on the pommel horse

Dave Hooper

Kieran Behan gave Ireland's artistic gymnastic team every chance of making the European Games final after a fantastic floor routine in Baku yesterday.

The London 2012 Olympian led the Irish trio of Daniel Fox and Sebastian Rohan to 11th place overall, just under eight points behind leaders Ukraine and 2.134 points off eighth-placed Germany, with day two qualification still to come and the top eight to progress.

London-born Behan placed sixth overall on the floor with 15.066 points, while Fox and Rohan both posted top-20 finishes on the pummel horse and rings.

The second day of qualification gets under way at 1.50 Irish time.

There was no such luck for the young women's team, finishing 22nd and needing to make up a massive 6.8 points to grab a top-eight finish.

Elsewhere, day two of Baku 2015 produced a mixed bag.

Galway karate competitor Karen Dolphin exited after three straight defeats in the round-robin elimination round.

Her group opponents Jamie Sanchez and Sandy Scordo progressed to contest the final.

Spaniard Sanchez took gold in the Kata division, defeating French woman Scordo, exposing the difficulty of Dolphin's opening round draw and the strength of European karate.

Jennifer Egan performed bravely in the morning's 500 metres kayak heat, finishing in sixth place, five seconds behind Poland's Ewelina Wojnarowska and progressing to the semi-final, which took place two hours later.

Egan's semi-final was a close affair with just six seconds separating the top eight. Egan took seventh place, just enough to make tomorrow's B Final.

It was a mixed day for the men's doubles pair of Peter Egan and Simas Dobrobolskis, who failed to make the final with a ninth place semi-final finish, some 30 seconds off the race winners.

The pair had qualified for the 1,000m semi-final after finishing their heat in 3:49.42 for seventh place.

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