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
Garrett Culliton F33/34/52 , discus, 5th, 17.79m (IR).
Eoin Cleare F32, shot, 7th, 6.11.
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.
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).
Eilish Byrne, Championship Grade II, 11th.
Ireland 2, Iran 4.
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.
Eimear Breathnach F1-2, lost P Pezzuto (Ita) 1-3.
Kathleen Reynolds F3, lost to Q Li (Chn) 1-3.