Friday 22 November 2019

Medals won and personal bests set on day of joy for Irish

MARIE CROWE in London

THERE was joy and disappointment for Ireland's Paralympians in London yesterday on a day when the medal haul increased and personal bests were set.

Catherine O'Neill, one of Ireland's most experienced athletes, earned her spot in the women's club competition final with a throw of 13.64 but finished just outside the medals with 13.05 in the final.

"I threw well in the first three throws but it just didn't happen for me," said O'Neill after the event. "Disappointing! The atmosphere was quite distracting so I worked hard to block it out. I look forward now to my main event, the discus."

Laois woman Ailish Dunne qualified for the F11/12 discus final and finished in 13th. Dunne will compete in the shot putt on Tuesday.

In cycling, Cathal Miller failed to qualify for the individual pursuit C5 medal ride-off but did finish with a season best of 4.49.237. He will compete in the individual time trial and individual road race later in the week.

"The wheels came off the wagon when Butterworth (GB) passed me, I feel I let everyone down," said Miller after the race.

James Brown and Damien Shaw finished in ninth position in the 1km Time Trial in a time of 1.07.979. It was an impressive outing for the pair who have only been cycling together since December. They clocked an average speed of almost 53kmph and set a personal best. They too will compete again in the Games.

"We are happy with our performance, our main event is the 4km pursuit, if we concentrated on every event there would be something wrong, we got a PB, you can't ask for much more," said Brown. "It was great experience racing in front of the crowd again, the atmosphere here is brilliant," added Shaw.

In rowing, the Irish mixed coxed fours gave a quality performance as they competed in the Repechage. The Irish boat, stroked by Kevin Du Toit, with Sarah Caffrey, Shane Ryan and Anne-Marie McDaid making up the quartet and Helen Arbuthnot as cox, finished fourth with a time of 3:34:85. They were edged out of a spot in the final by crews from Ukraine, China and Canada. They will now compete in the B Final this morning at 10.30.

Shooter Sean Baldwin got off to a magnificent start in the mixed 10m air rifle prone SH1, scoring a maximum 100 from his first set of 10. However he didn't build on his advantage and ended up finishing in 43rd place with a score of 589.

The Kildare man, who is a member of the Irish Defence Forces and has competed in several Military Games and World and European Championships, was very disappointment after the event.

In equestrian, Eilish Byrne finished fifth in the Individual para dressage final at Greenwich Park. The Dundalk-born rider, on her chestnut gelding Youri, returned a score of 73.429 per cent.

Byrne's individual mark will be added to the team test score from Thursday to help decide Ireland's overall team placing when the remaining three riders -- Helen Kearney, Geraldine Savage and James Dwyer -- complete their individual championships tests today. The team currently lies in sixth place.

"I'm just over the moon, I can hardly believe it. We are all delighted," said Byrne.

Ireland's sailors, John Twomey, Ian Costelloe, Anthony Hegarty placed 11th and seventh in the three-person Sonar keelboat class. They finished day one in ninth with nine races left.

"It was very shifty conditions especially in Race 1," said Twomey. "It's early days and we're hoping to improve on our performance today."

In the pool James Scully shaved three seconds off his personal best to finish in the 200m freestyle in a time of 2:53.03.

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