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Gutsy fourth for women’s relay on final day in Sweden

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Gutsy fourth for Irish women’s relay

The Irish women’s 4x100m relay team produced a gutsy effort from lane 1 to finish an agonising fourth in 44.32 on the final day of the European Athletics U23 Championships in Gavle, Sweden (July 14).

Earlier in the day a team of Gina Akpe-Moses (Blackrock Louth), Ciara Neville (Emerald), Sarah Quinn (St Colman’s South Mayo) and Molly Scott (SLOT) finished fourth in their heat in 44.79 – advancing as a non-automatic qualifier.

The order changed for the final to Molly Scott, Ciara Neville, Sharlene Mawdsley (Newport) and Gina Akpe-Moses. Scott had a flying start and a slick changeover to Neville putting them right in the mix. Unfortunately, it wasn’t to be a podium for the women but it was a another consistent performance at a championship.

In the afternoon, David Kenny (Farranfore Maine Valley) took to the roads of Gavle and judged his pace brilliantly to finish 9th in the men’s 20km race walk in a new personal best of 1:25:43.

Stephanie Cotter (West Muskerry) was first of the Irish athletes on the track on the final session of the championships and she finished 12th in 4:35.82. She got into good position at the bell but it was a fast last lap won by Great Britain’s Jemma Reekie who is part of Laura Muir’s training group.

Brian Fay (Raheny Shamrock) ran out of energy in the men’s 3,000m steeplechase final and finished 11th in 8:56.22.

John Fitzsimons (Kildare) put himself in a medal position in the men’s 800m but had to settle for a 6th place finish in 1:49.65. Fitzsimons gave himself a chance to win a medal and produced another good championship performance.

This was Ireland’s best ever performance all round at these championships with two medals, multiple finalists and personal bests with 42 athletes gaining valuable experience for the future to bridge the gap to the senior level.

Ireland had previously won 6 medals at these championships before adding two more in Gavle bringing the total to 8 via superb performances by Nadia Power (Templeogue) winning bronze in the women’s 800m and Eilish Flanagan (Carmen Runners) winning silver in the women’s 3,000m steeplechase.

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