Tuesday, September 16, 2008

DOUBLE GOLD FOR SMYTH

Ireland’s Jason Smyth won the 200m (T13) in a new world record time of 21.43sec, destroying the mark he set in qualifying yesterday by 0.38 of a second.

Orla Barry set a new Paralympic record of 27.08 for her category in qualifying for the discus final, but fouled all three throws in the final.
Ireland's 7-a-side football have to be content with sixth place after losing to the Netherlands 2-4 in their 5th/ 6th place classification match. This is still an big improvement on their eight place of four years ago.
Two goals in four minutes from Finbarr O'Riordan and Gary Messett gave Ireland a 2-1 lead after 11 minutes, but the Dutch fought back to claim a deserved victory.

On the track, Roy Guerin T53 was sixth in his 100m heat.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Another World Record for Smyth

Jason Smyth broke his own world record when he clocked 21.81 to win his 200m heat at the Paralympic Games.
Russian Alexey Labzin, who Smyth beat into second in Saturday's 100m final, won the other heat for visually impaired athletes.

Swim Silver for McDonald

Swimming sensation Darragh Mc Donald, aged just 14, won Paralympic silver in the 400m freestyle (S6 class) in the Water Cube in Beijing.
McDonald had qualified second fastest from the morning's two heats, when he swam a massive PB and new Irish record of 5:13.68 to win heat one.
In front of his parents Caroline and Derek, many Irish team mates, and a packed Water Cube, the Gorey swimmer destroyed his morning's record when he hit the wall in 5:09.75 for second place.
Race winner in a stunning world record time of 4:48.31 was the reigning world champion Anders Olsson of Sweden. McDonald, a member of the Asgard Swim Club in Arklow where he is coached by John Keely was in second place by the first turn and continued to stretch his lead over the next 300m. By the finish, he had 10.7 seconds to spare over Matt Whorwood of Great Britain who took bronze.
“Coming here my objective was to make a final. I thought that is as close as I thought I would get to anything. I never thought I’d get this near this fast. It’s great; I never thought anything like this could happen,” McDonald said after.
His unexpected medal brings the Irish tally to four at these Games after Jason Smyth's sensational 100m (T13) win on the track on Saturday, Micheal McKillop's 800m (T37) victory on Wednesday, and boccia bronze medal winner Gay Shelly on Tuesday last.
Also in the 400m (S6) , Johnny Cummings swam in the same heat as McDonald, finishing fifth in a personal best time of 5:50.54, nearly three seconds off his previous mark.

Setting up a play-off for fifth position against the Netherlands was the Irish 7-1-side football team who beat China 4-1. Goal scorers for Ireland were Gary Messett after ten minutes, Alan O’Hara 12 minutes, and both O'Hara and Messett again early in the second half. Only in the final five minutes did the Chinese pull one back.
“I can’t wait to play Holland now. I am sure Holland were up there in the stands and would look at the second half and saying we can beat these. They won’t find it easy though. Fifth or sixth place now, our performance here is an improvement on Athens. We achieved what we set out to do and considering the week we’ve had, it’s brilliant,” said manager Paul Cassin.
Cassin’s Irish team finished eighth at the Athens Games four years ago.

Irish flag bearer Patrice Dockery concluded her Paralympic career on the track when she finished sixth in the second heat of the 200m (T53 Class) in a time of 35.38secs.
“I gave it everything, I have no regrets”, said Dockery, one of Ireland’s most distinguished and well loved Paralympians. A former European and World championship medal winner, Dockery retires after 23 years representing Ireland on the international stage.

In the spectacular Ming’s Tomb road cycling venue, the last of Ireland’s bikes were in action today. Catherine Walsh with sighted pilot rider Joanna Hickey and Michael Delaney with sighted pilot rider David Peelo, both took part in the Road Race (B&VI Class). Delaney and Peelo covered the 96.8km distance in a time of 2.29.32, finishing 16th, fourteen minutes behind the winners Poland. Walsh and Hickey finished 9th on the women’s 72.6km course, with a time of 2:03.14.

Today(Monday), the penultimate day of competition for the Irish at these Games, sees Jason Smyth running the 200m heats (T13) and Dunmanway’s John McCarthy competing in his favoured field event, the club throw.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

GOLD FOR SMYTH

Irish sprinter Jason Smyth set the Bird's Nest track on fire when he won the T13 100m gold in a new Paralympic World record time of 10.62sec - a two-tenth improvment on the time he had set in the qualifying rounds earlier in the day. In front of a 90,000 strong capacity crowd and unfazed by a false start Smyth blasted out of the blocks to storm away from the field and with 40 meters had opened up a commanding lead that no one had any chance of closing. Alexey Labzin of Russia took silver 0.26 of a second off the Irish man (10.88sec), with Luis Felipe Gutierrez of Cuba taking bronze in 10.98sec.
Afterwards a delighted Smyth said of his debut Paralympic Games triumph: "I'm thrilled; it's awesome! I've put in so much work; it's all gone so well. To break my own world record twice in one day I knew it was there; it was just a matter of coming out and doing it on the big occasion, and I'm so pleased I did."
Smyth sensational win is the second gold for Ireland at these Games after his room mate Michael McKillop won 800m (T37) gold on Wednesday night also in world record time. In a lovely moment as Smyth reached the Irish contingent on his victory lap McKillop reached out and draped his gold medal around Smyth’s neck. It is the third Irish medal at these Games after Gay Shelly got the team off the mark on Tuesday with bronze in the individual Boccia competition.
After Amhran na bFhiann rang out for the second time in the space of two days and tricolour was raised in the shadow of the Paralympic flame Smyth’s full time coach Stephen Maguire spoke about this stunning Irish success.

“Jason had a super run, held himself superbly all day together all day. He put a marker down this morning, we knew by the reaction of the other athletes; he was the man to beat. Although he doesn’t show it there was obviously a fair bit of pressure there. He didn’t have the fastest start in the world but from 20 to 100 metres he absolutely nailed it.

It’s absolutely brilliant to break a world record twice in one day, to clock 10.62 is more than we could ask. There’s ninety one thousand people here, to run close to your PB with a false start and all that pressure is tremendous. It’s just magic and he so deserves this”, Maguire concluded.

Remarkably there is still more to come from Ireland’s latest Paralympic champion. The Derry flyer runs in the T13 200m in which he is the reigning world champion and record holder (21.83sec). The heats of the 200m are Monday with the final on Tuesday.


Two or Ireland’s four bikes raced in their final event today; the men’s road race at the spectacular Ming’s Tomb Reservoir venue. Dubliner Cathal Miller, in the LC1 class, started well, maintaining a good position nicely nestled among the leading group. Half way through the third lap of the six lap circuit however, Miller’s race was brought to a premature and unwelcome end when his rear tyre blew to the extent that it damaged the rim off the wheel and a write off.

Afterwards a frustrated Miller said:“ I’m gutted, it’s so frustrating because I know I was suffering and my legs were tired yesterday, but they really felt good today; they felt great out there. That makes it all the worse; I was where I wanted to be at that point and felt great. It is not the way I want to finish my campaign but I can’t complain about the effort; there was nothing wrong with that. It was unlucky and it’s just the way it goes unfortunately.”

Enda Smyth, (CP4 Class) was the other Irish rider in action at Ming’s Tomb. Despite a bright start the Dubliner found the conditions difficult especially with the effort in yesterday’s time trial lingering in his legs and took the decision to withdraw from the race with a lap to go. Miller and Smyth have now finished their representation in what has so far been an extremely successful Paralympic games for Irish cycling with a number of PBs, Irish records and high finishes.
It was the final day’s racing for the two Irish crews at the sailing regatta in Qingdao. The Sonar crew led by Paul McCarthy finished eleventh in both races 10 and 11 which secured them a ninth place finish overall. Skud crew; Amy Kelehan and John Twomey finished tenth and ninth in races 9 and 10 respectively. With the final race in their series cancelled due to delays earlier in the week, the Skud crew finished in tenth position overall.

Speaking from Qingdao, Irish Team Manager Denis Kiely said: “This fleet was of the highest standard with any one of the top five boats capable of winning gold. The standard of sailing was exceptional. Paul and his crew had expectations of finishing in a higher position but it wasn’t to be.

Kiely continued: “Amy and John in the Skud were happy with their performance during this regatta, they met their expectations. It was a fantastic experience that will stand to them all as they move forward.”
In table tennis, the Irish pairing of Eimear Breathnach and Kathleen Reynolds were back in action today at Peking’s University in the quarter-finals of the team event against the number three in the world; France. The Irish duo took first blood with Reynolds defeating Fillou in three sets. The Irish pair however was unable to maintain the momentum, ultimately losing to the French 3-1.

Speaking after the match first time Paralmypian Eimear Breathnach said “I am happier with my performance compared to my singles campaign, but still disappointed to lose.” Kathleen Reynolds added: “It was always difficult for us against the world number three team. We did our best but unfortunately it wasn’t good enough.”

Day eight for the Irish starts with swimmers Darragh McDonald and team mate Johnny Cummings finding themselves pitted against one another in the first heat of the 400m freestyle (S6) in the Water Cube bidding for a place in the evening final. Shortly afterwards, in the Bird’s Nest, Patrice Dockery goes in her final event; the heats of the T53 200m on the track hoping to make the grade for the final.

Paul Cassin’s 7-a-side football team is next up facing hosts China in their classification at the Olympic Green Hockey field. The winner of that match will progress to the 5th/6th place play off at these Games with the loser contesting the 7th/8th play-off on Tuesday. Finally for the Irish tomorrow both tandem bikes will contest their road races at the Ming Toom Reservoir.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

NEW WORLD RECORD FOR SMYTH

Jason Smyth ran a new Paralympic world record time of 10.81 to in the hearts of the T13 100m, qualifying easily for tonight's final in the Bird's Nest Stadium.
The 20 year old from Derry shaved four hundredths of a second off his own world record of 10.85, set last May at the Paralympic World Cup in Manchester.
Running in the second heat, Smyth got off to an explosive start and beat Zlatanov of Bulgaria by half a second. Alexey Labzin of Russia had won the first heat in 10.98 and is the only other athlete to have run under 11 seconds in qualifiying.
Today's final takes place at 5.45pm local time (10.45am Irish time). Smyth will race in lane four with Labzin in five.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Paralympics: Day 6

A 1-1l draw for the Irish 7-a-side football team against Great Britain today means that they finish third in their pool and now face a classification match against hosts China on Sunday. Should they win that tie, they will progress to the 5th/6th play-offs, guaranteeing an improved world ranking.
In sweltering conditions at the Olympic Hockey Field, both goals came in the second half, with Joe Markey scoring just five minutes into the half. Four minute later GB equalised.
Swimmer Hannah Clarke SB5 finished fifth in the first heat of the 100m breaststroke, taking ten seconds off her previous best in a new Irish record of 2:06.33 and missing out on a place in the final by four hundredths of a second.
Stephen Campbell S11 finished sixth in the third heat of the 100m freestyle (S11 Class) which put him 15th overall.
Archer Sean Heary's great run ended when he lost to Switzerland’s Philippe Horner 99-113 in the last eight of the compound open class.
All four Irish bikes were competing in the 24.8km time trial event at the stunning Ming Toom Reservoir venue. Enda Smyth CP4 was first up, finishing ninth in 41:24.28. Cathal Miller LC1 also finished ninth with a time of 36.33.95.
Catherine Walsh, with sighted pilot rider Joanna Hickey (B&VI Class), finished seventh with a time of 40.09.67 while Michael Delaney, with sighted pilot rider David Peelo, was 18th in 36.26.54.

* World champion Jason Smyth runs in the T13 100m heats tomorrow. Assuming he qualifies, Smyth will race in the T13 100m final tomorrow evening.

Sonar Sailors 3rd

Ireland’s Paul McCarthy, Paul Ryan and Richard Whealey placed 3rd in race 7 today in the Sonar class. They followed this with a 4th and 10th place in race 8 and 9 respectively and now lie in 9th position overall. France continues to remain in 1st place overall.

Two races remain in their series but with the Medal Ceremony also scheduled for tomorrow the Irish crew will need the wind on their side to ensure racing takes place as they aim to improve on their overall placing.

In the Skud 18 class Amy Kelehan and John Twomey placed 10th and 9th in race 7 and race 8 and therefore remain in 10th place overall. America continue to hold the lead in this fleet.

Racing will resume tomorrow (Saturday, 13th September). In the Sonar class, race 10 & 11 are expected to take place tomorrow while race 9, 10 and 11 are scheduled tomorrow in the Skud 18 class. The medal ceremony will take place tomorrow in both classes.

Paralympics: Day 5

Archer Sean Heary upset the form book to qualify for the quarter-finals of open compound class.
Heary, ranked 20th after the qualification round, beat Korea's Sung Kil Go, ranked fourth, 113-112. With the score all square at 84-84 going into the fourth and final end, Heary shot 29 out of a possible 30 from his last three arrows. He faces Switzerland’s Philippe Horner in the quarterfinal match.
In the Water Cube today, Ellen Keane SM9 finished sixth with a new Irish record time of 2.47.35, in the 200m Individual Medley. That puts the Dublin teenger tenth overall at her first Paralympics.
Visually impaired swimmer Stephen Campbell from Cookstown, Co Tyrone finished sixth in his 400m Freestyle heat ( S11), knocking six seconds of his PB and setting a new Irish record of 5:28.43,
At the Paralympic sailing venue in Qingdao, Sonar sailors Paul McCarthy, Paul Ryan and Richard Whealey produced the best sailing result for the Irish so far placing fifth in race six to leave them lying 11th overall with five races remaining.
In the Skud 18 class . Amy Kelehan and John Twomey remain tenth overall after another tenth place finish in race six. Races seven and eight were postponed due to lack of wind.
In boccia, the combined BC1-BC2 Irish team of Gay Shelly, Tom Leahy, Bobbie Connolly and Padraic Moran lost 2-12 to home favourites in the quarter-finals.
On the track, Patrice Dockery T53 just missed out on a place in the 100m final when she clocked a time of 18.90. John McCarthy F32/51 was ninth in the discus with a best of 9.48m.

Day 5 Results
Archery (compound)
Seán Heary, Last 16, bt SK Go (Kor) 113-112

Athletics
Patrice Dockery T53, 100m r1 heats, 4th, 18.90; 10th overall. sec.
John McCarthy F32/51, discus, 9th, 9.48m

Boccia
Team BC1/BC2, quarter-final, lost to China 2-12.

Sailing
Scud 18 (Amy Kelehan, John Twomey), race 6, 10th; races 7, 8 postponed; 10th overall.

Sonar (Paul McCarthy, Paul Ryan, Richard Whealey) race 6, 5th; races 7,8 postponed); 11th overall.

Swimming
Ellen Keane SM 9, 200m IM heats, 6th, 2:47.35 (IR); 10th overall.
Stephen Campbell S11, 400m fs heats, 6th, 5:28.43 (IR); 11th overall.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

GOLD FOR MCKILLOP: Day 4 Results

Micheal McKillop T37 sensationally won gold for Ireland at Paralympic Games in Beijing tonight setting new Paralympic world record time of 1:59.39. This took 2.74seconds off McKillop's own record set two years ago at the World Championships.

McKillop, aged only 18, who is coached by his father Paddy, left field for dead with 200m to go and had three seconds to spare over Brad Scott of Australia and France's Djamel Mastouri.

“It’s a dream come true. It’s unbelievable. The other night I was very nervous when I was in the stadium; I didn’t really know what to expect, but when you get into the call room you’re on your own. You have to build your own emotions up, you have to lock them up and focus on your race. That’s what I did; I focused on my race and the dream of becoming a Paralympic champion has come true,” an ecstatic McKillop said after completing a victory lap.

After the emotional medal ceremony when Amhran na bFhiann rang out for the first time in the Bird’s Nest, Ireland’s Paralympic champion got the chance to speak to his mum Catherine at home in Antrim. “Oh yeah my mum is in hysterics! She was more nervous than I was going into the race. She had a tear in her eye she said when I crossed the line, so I can’t wait to see them. I can’t wait to get out and support the other athletes on the team now and enjoy the rest of the Games.”

Ireland also had two other competitors in action in the Bird’s Nest. Wexford’s Catherine Wayland, F51 combined, finished 6th in the women’s discus with a season's best of 6.13m.
Duleek’s Lisa Callaghan, F37 combined, finished an agonising 9th in the javelin with a throw of 22.87m - one spot away from a place in the final.

Following Gay Shelly’s bronze medal in the individual competition yesterday, Ireland combined BC1/BC2 boccia qualified for tomorrow’s quarter-finals. Drawn in the pool with Spain and Finland, the Irish beat Finland 7 – 3 but lost 1-12 Spain in a match where tactical placement was key.
Dressage rider Eilish Byrne finished an encouraging eighth with a score of 65.833% in the Individual Freestyle Dressage Test Grade II. Having completed her Paralympic competition Byrne will join the rest of the Irish team in Beijing.

Results Day 4

Archery (compound)
Sean Heary bt Michael Arenz (Ger) 108 - 104.

Athletics
Michael McKillop T37, 800m, 1st, 1:59.39 (WR). GOLD
Catherine Wayland. F32-34/51-53, discus, 8th, 6.13m.
Lisa Callaghan, F35-38, javelin, 9th, 22.87m.

Boccia
Ireland 7, Finland 3. Rd 2, Ireland 1, Spain 12.

Cycling
Michael Delaney BV1 (with David Peelo), sprint, 5th, 11.460 secs(IR).
Archery
Sean Heary bt Michael Arenz (Ger) 108 - 104.

Dressage
Eilish Byrne (Freestyle Grade II) 8th, 65.833%.

Football (7-a-side)
Ireland 0, Ukraine 7

Swimming
David Malone S8, 100m bs heats, 5th; 10th overall.

PARALYMPICS: Day 4

On day 4 at the Paralympics, David Malone finished fifth in the second heat of the 100m backstroke at the Water Cube - tenth overall with a time of 1:16.80 - and not enough to make the final.

Malone then announced his retirement from international competition. In a hugely successful 12 year career, the 30-year-old Dubliner won silver in Atlanta, gold in Sydney and silver in Athens four years ago.

One of Ireland’s most successful Paralympians and Sydney Gold medalist Dave Malone, brought the curtain down on his spectacular swimming career in the Water Cube this morning. Swimming in the second heat of S8 100m backstroke, Malone clocked a time of 1:16.80 to finish in fifth; tenth overall, which was not enough to book a place in the final of the event.

“I was always going to retire after this meet; it’s my fourth Paralympic Games, and in my head I always wanted to go out at the highest level,” he said.

“Winning the gold in Sydney 2000, eight years ago now; that was a huge moment because that year I’d won the World Championships, the European Championships, and I held the world record. It was the only one I hadn’t won and it was a big milestone. It’s probably the greatest moment in anyone’s career to win a medal at the Paralympic Games. It doesn’t get any bigger than that.”

“I held the world record for 100m backstroke for ten years, and it was only broken last year. I’ve had an international career spanning back to 1993 so I’ve had a really amazing journey. It was always going to end here.”

Malone is the head coach of the National Aquatic Centre swim team in Abbotstown and will remain heavily involved in the sport.

“The future of Paralympic swimming in general is very bright in Ireland, there’s some incredible talent coming through; the best I’ve ever probably seen coming through at once.”

“It really is exciting times ahead; hopefully my career has inspired some of those to get involved, and the new generation can inspire young Paralympic athletes and able bodied athletes to get into the pool and start swimming.

“I’m very much looking forward to a new chapter in coaching, and being heavily involved in sport from another aspect. I go away with great memories.”

In cycling, Michael Delaney and pilot David Peelo set a new Irish record in the sprint at the Velodrome. Ireland's 7-a-side footballers were beaten 0-7 by the world champions Ukraine.

Archer, Sean Heary, who qualified in 20th place, beat Michael Arenz of Germany 108 to 104 to reach the compound bow quarter-finals.

Paralympics on TV

RTE Sport will air the third in their series of shows on the Irish team at the Games on Wed Sept 10th at 11.45pm on RTE 2. All the shows will be available to view on demand at Paralympic Games site http://www.rte.ie/sport/olympics2008/paralympics_index.html

Paralympics: Day 3

Day 3 Result
Archery
Sean Heary, qualified 1/16 elimination phase.

Athletics
Patrice Dockery T53, 400m r1, 5th, 1:8.95.

Boccia
Gabriel Shelly BC1 semi-final, lost A Marques (Por) 1-4; bronze medal play-off, bt Yi Wang (Chn) 6-2. BRONZE.

Cycling
Catherine Walsh (with Joanna Hickey) BVI (1-3), ind pursuit qual, 5th, 3:50.515 (IR).
Enda Smyth CP4, 1km TT final, 7th, 1:16.074.
Cathal Miller LC1, 1km TT final, 7th, 1:11.824 (IR)

Sailing
Scud 18 (Amy Kelehan and John Twomey), race 3, 10th; race 4, 10th; race 5 10th; 10th overall.
Sonar (Paul McCarthy, Paul Ryan and Richard Whealey), race 3, 12th; race 4 13th; race 5, 11th; 11th overall.

Swimming
Jonathan Cummings S6, 100m BS, 5th, 1:29.92; final, 8th 1:29.26 (IR).
Stephen Campbell S11, 100m bfly, 5th, 1:16.28 (IR); 10th overall.
Ellen Keane SB8, brs, 2nd 1:27.61 (IR); final, 6th, 1:29.72 (IR)

Table tennis
Kathleen Reynolds F3, lost H Choi (Kor)1-3; lost Y Silva (Cub) 2-3.

BOCCIA BRONZE FOR SHELLY


Gabriel Shelly won Ireland's first medal of the Paralympic Games beating home favourite Yi Wang of China to take a bronze medal in the boccia BC1 class.
In the semei-finals, Shelly, who won gold at the Sydney Games of 2000, had lost 4-1 to long-time rival Antonio Marques of Portugal. However, in the play-off match for bronze, he showed considerable steel to beat Wang 6-2.
Wang had ended Pádraic Moran's hopes in the quarter-final beating the young Irishman in the tie break.
"My team mate Pádraic helped me with the strategy; he gave me ideas about how to play him after yesterday," said Shelly. "He advised me to go long on him so I did and it really worked. I felt strong mentally too."
At the velodrome in Laoshan, Catherine Walsh and her sighted pilot rider Joanna Hickey setting a new Irish record of 3.50.515 in the women's individual pursuit (B&VI Class). Enda Smyth finished seventh in the men's 1km time trial (CP4 Class) with a time of 1.16.074.
In the men's 1km time trial (LC1), Cathal Miller set a new Irish record of 1:11.824, shaving over a second off his previous mark to place seventh.
At the Water Cube, Coalisland's Jonathan Cummings (S6 Class) finished eighth in the final of the men's 100m breaststroke with a new Irish record time of 1:29.26. Ellen Keane, competing in the 100m backstroke (SB8Class) finished sixth in 1:29.72.
Tyrone's Stephen Campbell made his Paralympic debut in the 100m butterfly (S11 Class) heats, finishing 10th in 1.16.28.
Sonar sailors, Paul McCarthy, Paul Ryan and Richard Wheeley finished 13th, 12th & 11th respectively, in races 3, 4 and 5, leaving them 10th overall with six races left. In the Skud 18 class, Amy Kelehan and John Twomey lie 10th overall.
On the athletics track, Irish flag bearer Patrice Dockery finished fifth in the second heat of the 400m (T53 Class) with a time of 1:08.95.
Archer Sean Heary made it through the ranking to face Arenz of Germany in the direct elimination round tomorrow morning.
Kathleen Reynolds lost to Korea's Hyun-Ja Choi 1-3 and to Yenelis Silva of Cuba 2-3 to end her campain in the individual tabel tennis competition. Reynolds will pair up with Eimear Breathnach for the team event on Saturday.

PARALYMPICS: Day 2

On a good day for the Irish, both Irish cyclists set new national records , Padraic Moran and Gay Shelly won their pools in the individual Boccia competition to advance to afternoon quarter-finals, with Gay Shelly then qualifying for the semi-finals.
In the evening, Garrett Culliton set a new Irish record for the discus. The 7-a-side football team lost a thrilling match 2-4 to world No 2, Iran in their opening pool game. Ireland’s sailors in the Skud and Sonar classes got their campaigns underway in Qingdao, as did dressage rider Eilish Byrne in Hong Kong. Table tennis player Kathleen Reynolds saw her first action of these Games, Eimear Breathnach played her second pool game, and Offaly’s Eoin Cleare competed in the shot putt final.
All foru boccia players compeletd their remaining pool matches; boccia is a form of bowls for athletes with severe physical disabilities. In the BC2 class, Bobbie Connolly and Tom Leahy both missed out on progressing further, with only pool winners making it through to the quarter-finals. Connolly finished third in her pool; so did Leahy despite beating Ferreira of Portugal 5-2 in his final match.
In the BC1 competition, Padraic Moran won his pool and then faced local favourite Yi Wang of China in a gripping quarter-final. When the pair couldn’t be separated after the four scheduled ‘ends’, the contest went to a tie break, with the player who got his balls closest to the "jack" winning. Moran was closest when the Wang threw a perfect last ball to inch Moran’s out of pole position. Moran had one last chance; he held his nerve but his ball landed one centimetre further away from the jack.
“Obviously I’m disappointed not to have progressed but to get to the quarter-finals in my first Paralympics is a massive achievement. I tried everything; it was only a fraction in the tie break. I wish him every success as he goes into the semi-finals. I’ll be back, and in London in 2012.”
Boccia team captain and Sydney gold medal winner Gay Shelly stormed through his quarter-final, leading his Spanish opponant Jose Vaquerizo, 8-0 after three ends. The Spaniard pulled back two in the fourth end, making it a 8-2 victory for the Carlow man.
In the veledrome, Dublin's Cathal Miller set a stunning new Irish record 4.53.969 in the men’s Individual Pursuit (LC1 Class), knocking a massive seven seconds off his previous mark . Tandem pair Michael Delaney and sighted pilot rider David Peelo were also in record-breaking form in the 1km time trial (B&VI 1 - 3 Class), recording a time of 1.08.593. All four Irish bikes in action in Beijing have broken an Irish record with several events yet to come.
Laois native Garrett Culliton was the first Irish track and field athlete to compete in the Bird’s Nest. Culliton produced his best ever throw of 17.79m to finish fifth place overall, with a new Irish record.
“I suppose I can’t ask for any more than a PB; that’s what you try and go out to do in every event. I had six throws over 17metres so it was quite a good series. The air was quite heavy and dead so there was no real carry; maybe another day it might have carried over but I’m happy enough,” he said.
In the F32 shot, Offaly’s Eoin Cleare finished seventh with a best of 6.11m.
The 7-a-side football team opened their Paralympic campaign against Iran. In a tense first half, Iran were leading a 2-0 lead, before the Irish were awarded a penalty on the stroke of half time. Finbarr O'Riordan's shot was saved at the first attempt but he then buried the rebound. In the second half, Ireland’s keeper Brian McGillavary was put under sustained pressure with Iran pushing their tally to four before Ireland pulled one back. Final score 4-2 to Iran.
Ireland now face world and Paralympic champions Ukraine in their next pool game on Wednesday.
Ireland’s dressage representative Eilish Byrne riding Youiri finished 11th with a score of 62.818% in the Individual Championship Test Grade II in Hong Kong.
Sonar sailors Paul McCarthy, Paul Ryan and Richard Wheeley finished seventh and 10th in their first two races, leaving them eighth overall. In the Skud class Amy Kelehan and John Twomey, whose baot had been damaged by a support craft a day earlier, were ninth and tenth respectively, with an overall position of tenth.
Table tennis player Eimear Breathnach lost 1-3 to Italy's Pamela Pezzutto and is out of the competition. Kathleen Reynolds lost 1-3 to Qian Li of China.
Day 2 results

Athletics
Garrett Culliton F33/34/52 , discus, 5th, 17.79m (IR).
Eoin Cleare F32, shot, 7th, 6.11.

Boccia
Gabriel Shelly BC1, bt T Kitani (Jap) 5-2; lost J Park (Kor) 3-5; QF, bt J Vaquerizo (Spa), 8-2.
Pádraic Moran, BC1, bt L Sanders (Nzl) 7-3; bt R Aandalen (Nor) 4-2; QF lost Wang Yi (Chn) 5-6.
Tom Leahy BC2, bt F Ferreira (Por) 5-2.
Roberta Connolly BC2, lost P Cortez (Arg) 4-1.

Cycling
Cathal Miller LC1 4km Ind Pursuit Q, 5th 4:53.969 (IR) .
Michael Delaney (with David Peelo) BVI, 1-3, 1Km TT Final, 10th, 1:08.593 (IR).

Dressage
Eilish Byrne, Championship Grade II, 11th.

Football (7-a-side)
Ireland 2, Iran 4.

Sailing
Scud 18(Amy Kelehan, John Twomey) 18) race 1, 9th, race 2, 10th; 10th overall.
Sonar (Paul McCarthy, Paul Ryan, Richard Whealey) race 1 7th, race 2, 10th; 8th overall.

Table tennis
Eimear Breathnach F1-2, lost P Pezzuto (Ita) 1-3.
Kathleen Reynolds F3, lost to Q Li (Chn) 1-3.

Monday, September 8, 2008

East Galway Welcomes Hession

From Loughrea AC:

"Paul Hession was back into Athenry last Saturday evening after
his successful campaign at the Olympics in Beijing a few weeks
earlier.

His official homecoming started at his home out in Park and, on a
fine clear but cold evening, proceeded into the Square in the
centre of Athenry, where he was met by over 500 well-wishers, who
congregated from all over East Galway to welcome him back.

He has raced twice since the Olympics, beating a number
of finalists from the 200M in the process. His three race series
at the Olympics captured the hearts and minds of the whole of
Ireland and was very unlucky not to reach the final, posting a
5th place finish in the first semi-final, coming 10th overall out
of 16 starters. He pieced together a top-quality series of times
but was fractionally outside what he needed to post to qualify
for the last 8 in this very hotly-contested event. His times in
the three races were, as follows: 20.59, 20.32 and 20:38.

At the Square, he was first received by local parish priest,
Canon Tony King. His near neighbour and current Mayor of County
Galway, Peter Feeney, was next up with fulsome tributes, hoping
that Paul would make it through to London in four years time.
Local TD, Noel Treacy, made a rousing tribute to both Paul and
other local athlete, Olive Loughnane, next. Iain Shaw, as
secretary of Athenry AC (Senior) was also full of praise for
Paul's efforts in China. Finally, Paul thanked everyone for
their support through the years, naming his early coaches Tom
Page, Mary Kelly and Dermot McNamara, as particular influences.
He also thanked his main commercial sponsors, Coffey Construction
and Tom Hogan Motors, for their financial support in recent
years."

PARALYMPICS: Day 1

In Beijing at the Paralympics Games, Team Ireland has hit the ground running with two national records in Beijing's Laoshan Veldrome and many other fine performances on the opening day of competition.

Sydney gold medalist Gay Shelly was the first Irish athlete in action, with a 5-2 win over Brock Richardson of Canada in the individual boccia competition. Shelly's team mates Bobbie Connolly, Padraic Moran and Tom Leahy, also started their campaigns, while teenage swimmer Ellen Keane raced in the Water Cube, and Eimear Breathnach featured in the individual table tennis.
Cyclist Enda Smyth from Santry finished seventh in the 3km Individual Pursuit (CP4 class) smashing his own Irish record by 2.674 seconds with a time of 3:55.919. A second Irish record of 1:16.208 came from Catherine Walsh with sighted pilot rider Joanna Hickey (B & VI class) in the final of the women's 1km time trial. The duo knocked 2.318 seconds off their previous best, in a final where Great Britian took gold in world record time (1:09.066).
Michael Delaney with sighted pilot rider David Peelo (B & VI 1-3 class) finished 13th in the 4km Individual Pursuit.

Tom Leahy lost to Risa Kainuma (Jap) 2-4 in the individual boccia. Dubliner Bobbie Connolly also lost to China's Cao. For Games debutant Padraic Moran there was joy when he beat world No 2 David Smith (Gbr) by a whopping 9-0.
In their second pool matches, Shelly defeated Ibarbure (Arg), Leahy lost 5-1 to Bentley (Gbr), Bobbie Connolly beat Leglice of Argentina 4-3, while Moran lost 2-4 to Marques (Por).

In the Water Cube, Clontarf's Ellen Keane got to within 0.34seconds of her best ever time in the 100m butterfly, finishing 6th. Her favoured event, the 100m breaststroke, comes on Tuesday. In table tennis, Eimear Breathnach from Ballinteer lost 1-3 to Pushpasheva (Rus).

Day 1: Sun, Sept7

Boccia (Individual competition, pool matches)
Gabriel Shelly BC1 bt B.Richardson (Can) 4-2; bt M Ibarbure (Arg) 3-2
Padraic Moran BC1 bt D Smith (Gbr) 9-0; lost A Marques (Por) 2-4
Tom Leahy BC2 lost R.Kainuma, Japan 2-4; lost D Bentley (Gbr) 1-5
Roberta Connolly BC2 lost 5-0 to F.Cao (Chn) 0-5; bt R Leglice (Arg) 4-3.

Cycling
Enda Smyth CP4, 3km Ind Pursuit qual, 7th, 3:55.919 (IR).
Michael Delaney (with David Peelo) B&VI (1-3), 4km Ind Pursuit qual, 13th, 4:49.911
Catherine Walsh (with Joanna Hickey) B&VI (1-3), 1Km TT final, 7th, 1:16.208 (IR)

Swimming
Ellen Keane S9, 100m bfly, heats, 6th, 1:18.50

Table Tennis
Eimear Breathnach F1-2, singles r1, lost N Pushpasheva (Rus) 1-3.