Ireland’s Athletics Team make history
Ireland’s Athletics Team made history this week becoming the first of just 24 countries to compete in Dynamic New Athletics. In tonight’s quarter finals the team of 15 competed against Portugal, Cyprus, Bulgaria, Hungary and Denmark for a place in tomorrow’s semi-final. In the end, it was Portugal and Hungary who progressed as the fastest finishers in ‘The Hunt’.
‘The Hunt’ team of Paul Byrne, Amy O’Donoghue, Brandon Arrey and Catherine McManus posted a time four seconds faster than Sunday (4:46.43) in 4:42.57 to give Ireland a final placing of fourth.
There were a number of impressive performances from Ireland in the Dinamo Arena. The highlight, the Mixed 4x400m Relay of Andrew Mellon, Sinead Denny, Kelly McGrory and Luke Lennon Ford setting a new National Record and taking Ireland’s one and only win of their campaign with a combined time of 3:24.14.
Andrew Mellon took the opening leg of the 4 x 400m, getting the team off to a strong start, “It was my first time ever going out of the blocks in a 4 x 400m, so I knew if I didn’t get out it’d be over before it even started, I was happy to get the guys into position.” Next up was Sinead Denny who drove on putting Ireland into a good position, “I just knew that once I got the baton from Andrew I had to go out hard. I knew that they were quite close so I tried to run as far on the outside of lane one, and I held her (Portugal) off pretty well.” Kelly McGrory increased the lead, with Luke Lennon-Ford driving the home over the finish line in first place.
Stephen Gaffney had gotten Team Ireland underway with a second-place finish in the Men’s 100m. O’Donnell improved his time of 10.67 from the qualification round, crossing the line in 10.62. In the 110m Hurdles, Gerard O’Donnell recorded a time of 14.29 just behind Denmark’s Andreas Martinsen (13.89) in first.
Sarah Lavin, also with a second-place finish, improved her time in the 110m Hurdles to 13.32 (from 13.46) earning valuable points for Ireland going into ‘The Hunt’ “I had a good start, 13.32 into a headwind, it’s probably as quick as I ever ran into a headwind, and crucially I got ten points for Ireland. We were a bit apprehensive coming into this because we didn’t know what to expect, but the team atmosphere is so good because of it.”
Niamh Whelan completed the track line up with a sixth-place finish in the 100m in 11.87.
In the field events, Nelvin Appiah was the best placed Irish athlete, winning the fifth/sixth place final off in the High-Jump with a jump of 2.05. Sophie Meredith was 6th in the long jump with a best score of 5.61 while Grace Casey was sixth in the Javelin with her best throw coming in the group stage at 39.17.
- Team Ireland Press Release