Team Ireland in Tokyo: Cork rows to gold as McIlroy’s Olympic debut under way

There was action overnight across rowing, golf, judo, shooting and sailing
Team Ireland in Tokyo: Cork rows to gold as McIlroy’s Olympic debut under way

Overnight action for Team Ireland on day six of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games saw Cork’s Paul O’Donovan and Fintan McCarthy row home to gold.

In a thrilling final of the lightweight men’s double sculls, the Skibbereen crew clocked a time of 6:06.43, pipping Germany to first place.

Elsewhere there was action across swimming, golf, judo, shooting and sailing, with the latest below.

Swimming

Irish swimmer Shane Ryan has missed out on a semi-final place but set a new Irish record in the 100-metre butterfly.

The 27-year-old was fourth in his heat with a time of 52.52 seconds, shaving 0.06 off Brendan Hyland's record.

Ryan had to pull out of his main event — the 100-metre backstroke — due to injury.

Golf

The men's individual stroke play got underway this morning in Tokyo, with Shane Lowry and Rory McIlroy representing Team Ireland at Kasumigaseki County Club.

However, play was suspended at 2pm local time due to lightning in the area and players are set to restart play at 4pm (8am Irish time).

Before the suspension, McIlroy, making his Olympic debut, was playing his 14th hole and was tied for 30th on one-under par.

Lowry’s tidy wedge play meanwhile resulted in a birdie on the short par four 2nd hole, however, a dropped shot on the 12th saw him fall back to level par through 13 holes.

Austrian Sepp Straka currently sits in gold medal place, firing an eight-under par 63 earlier this morning.

Judo

Irish judoka, Ben Fletcher, had an early elimination from the men’s -100kg category, losing by Waza-ari to Mukhammadkarim Khurramov of Uzbekistan (UZB).

It was a close competition against the number 14 world ranked Khurramov, who performed a sode-tsurikomi-goshi — a hip throw — halfway through the fight to take the win.

Both players picked up one shido penalty each throughout the fight which ultimately ended 0s1 – 1s1 in favour of Khurramov.

Speaking afterwards, Fletcher said: “He started strong, and I probably didn’t match him to start with, but I finished strong. He managed to score, so he could then defend that. He played it smart, he got a good score. It is difficult, as there are all the what ifs. At the end of the day, I lost. You can analyse it as much as you want but that’s the end result.”

Rowing

The lightweight men’s double of Fintan McCarthy and Paul O’Donovan became Olympic champions by winning the final with a time of 6:06.43 early this morning.

In a thrilling race, the Skibbereen crew were sitting in second place with Germany going out fast and dominating the first half of the race.

A push from the Irish double with 700 metres to go left no doubt about their class, when they edged their boat to the front, and took the win by 0.86 of a second on the line.

Speaking after the race, O’Donovan said: “The Germans and Italians always have a quick start, so for the first time we had a quick start as well, not for lack of effort. It was a bit of a surprise that it paid off and we weren’t totally dropped in the first 500m, so that was good. And then we put the heads down and ploughed on.”

McCarthy added: “It feels pretty good. We can’t complain! We had a really good race – but a tough one. The Germans were flying so it was hard. I was really excited when we first crossed the line and there was a bit of relief as well.”

In the lightweight women’s double sculls, Aoife Casey and Margaret Cremen finished second in their B final with a time of 6:49.90, resulting in an eighth overall final standing, after pushing winners Switzerland to the line and crossing just 0.74 seconds after them.

Monika Dukarska and Aileen Crowley meanwhile finished fifth in their B final with 7:02.22, resulting in an 11th place finish overall. The Killorglin pair are part of the emerging strong squad of female rowers in Ireland from which the Olympic bronze medal winning crew was selected.

In the final race of the day for the rowers, there was disappointment for Sanita Puspure in the semi-finals of the women’s single, where she finished fifth in her race, with only the top three progressing to the A final where the medals are contested.

Sailing

Team Ireland sailors Robert Dickson and Sean Waddilove have completed their day’s action at the Tokyo Games, finishing strong in 2nd place and 6th place in Races 5 and 6 of the 49er class respectively, to see them lying in 7th position overall.

“We’re feeling pretty good,” said Waddilove afterwards. “We had a pretty average day yesterday, but we learned from our mistakes and we were really nicely set up today so that made our life a lot easier. At the halfway point, we’re still ready to go. One race at a time – and still keep picking off the places.”

Dickson added: “I think what we’ve been doing up to now has been working, so we’re going to keep everything the same as we always sail, keep going and tick off the places as Sean said.”

Annalise Murphy is also in action today, with the laser radial races ongoing throughout the day. The Irish sailor secured 1st place in Race 7, and was shortly back in action to secure 2nd place in Race 8 — bringing her up to 14th place overall.

Shooting

Derek Burnett finished in 26th position in the trap men’s qualification with a score of 118 today, with just the top six progressing to the final.

Today’s qualification day at the Asaka Shooting Range saw the shooters complete their final two rounds, with Burnett posting two more 24-shot rounds. The Longford shooter missed his first shot of the day but got into his rhythm after that, finishing his competition as consistently as possible.

Speaking afterwards, Burnett acknowledged that his first-round score of 22 hampered his potential qualification chances, saying: The first one was the one that did all the damage, I missed three targets and really, you’re out of the running after missing three targets.”

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