Tuesday 16 July 2019

Fletcher leads way for Irish in Minsk

Ireland's Megan Fletcher in action during her 70kg quarter final match against Netherland's Sanne Van Dijke. Photo: Martin Rickett/PA Wire
Ireland's Megan Fletcher in action during her 70kg quarter final match against Netherland's Sanne Van Dijke. Photo: Martin Rickett/PA Wire

Cathal Dennehy

There was little joy for the Irish on the opening weekend of action at the European Games in Minsk, Belarus. Megan Fletcher was the highest finisher yesterday, the 29-year-old finishing seventh in the women's 70kg judo.

She won her first two contests against Spain's Sarah Rodriguez and Britain's Sally Conway, but came one win short of a medal when losing to Sanne Van Dijke of the Netherlands. On Saturday Nathon Burns finished seventh in the 66kg category.

The athletics team, which competed in a curious competition called dynamic new athletics, finished fifth of six nations. The experimental format sees athletes earn points for their team to determine time advantages for a final medley relay.

Stephen Gaffney clocked 10.67 to finish second in the men's 100m, while Sarah Lavin was another to earn decent points for the Irish, finishing second in the women's 100m hurdles in 13.46. Niamh Whelan came home fourth in the women's 100m. Grace Casey was fourth in the javelin, while the mixed 4x400m team of Catherine McManus, Andrew Mellon, Sinead Denny and Brandon Arrey finished fourth in 3:24.37.

Gerard O'Donnell clocked 14.15 to finish fourth in the 110m hurdles, while 17-year-old Nelvin Appiah finished third in the high jump with a best 2.02m. Their tally meant the Irish set off fourth of six in the final relay, but they eventually faded to fifth.

Five Irish cyclists were in action in the men's 180km road race, with Robert Jon McCarthy the leading finisher in 30th, a race won by Italy's Davide Ballerini.

On Saturday Alice Sharpe finished 25th in the women's 120km road race, 11 seconds behind gold medallist Lorena Wiebes of the Netherlands. "It was a bit of a weird race, I thought it would split up a bit more and go harder from the start," said Sharpe.

In shooting, Aoife Gormally was best of the Irish, finishing 15th in the shotgun trap competition out of 29 starters, while Derek Burnett was 31st in his competition. Action continues today across a range of sports, with live coverage on BT Sport and eir Sport.

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