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Akpe-Moses and Neville sprint to European final


Great first day for the Irish in Italy

Gina Akpe-Moses and Ciara Neville highlighted a great day of action for the Irish by sprinting their way to the 100m final at the European U20 Athletics Championships in Grosseto, Italy (July 20).

Not since 1979 has there been two Irish finalists in the European U20 100m when Patricia Amond and Michelle Walsh competed in Poland. History was repeated in 2017 in Italy with Akpe-Moses and Neville matching that magnificent feat.

Akpe-Moses (Blackrock – Louth) was superb finishing second in her semi-final to qualify automatically for the final equalling her personal best of 11.56 into a headwind. She was also the second fastest qualifier overall for the final.

With two athletes qualifying automatically from each semi-final, of which there were three, Ciara Neville (Emerald) had an anxious wait having finished third in 11.79 in the second semi-final. It was enough to advance as a fastest qualifier making it a momentous day for Irish sprinting.

Elizabeth Morland (Cushinstown) and Kate O’Connor (St Gerard’s Dundalk) picked up from where they left off in the morning in the heptathlon. The green army both recorded personal bests in the shot put with O’Connor topping group B with 12.90m and Morland recording a best of 11.47m.

The roles were reversed in the 200m, their fourth event of the day, with Morland winning their heat in 24.76 with O’Connor fourth in a heptathlon personal best of 25.24.

The men’s 1500m heats were all about Norway’s Jakob Ingebrigtsen as he eyes an unprecedented treble at the championships as he targets the 5,000m and 3,000m steeplechase to boot.

Charlie O’Donovan (Leevale) finished 10th in the first semi-final in 3:50.72 with a gritty run. There was no shortage of guts for Darragh McElhinney (Bantry) either as he finished 11th in Ingebrigtsen’s semi-final in 3:53.15.

Niamh Fogarty (North Westmeath) threw a best of 45.21m in Group B of discus qualification.

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