Berlin 2018: Taking On The Europeans

Irish sport is on the up as our nation’s stars compete on the world stage from the hockey team making history and competing in our first World Cup Final to storming the Europeans, as the Irish come out in force with competitors delivering medals and top class finishes in athletics, swimming, gymnastics, rowing, cycling, triathlon and diving. With 4 medals so far, what is next for the Irish in Berlin?

The women’s 4x100m relay team raced in Lane 3, Heat 2 setting a new national record of 43.8, beating the old record of 43.84, but unfortunately .06 seconds too slow to qualify for the final. We have been following these stars and their outstanding achievements over the past few months, proud to be Irish and immensely proud of a 9th place European finish.

Joan Healy:

First up is Joan Healy, taking the first leg of the race. It was neck and neck with team mate Gina Apke-Moses at the National Senior Championships, as they both crossed the line in 11.86 seconds for 100m. Running a seasons best of 11.57 in May this year, the 14th fastest Irish 100m time, Healy is on top form. The Healy name is one to be proud of in Irish athletics and Joan will pass the baton to her younger sister, Phil who has become the poster child of Irish sprinting.

Joan Healy came out of the blocks, tearing down the track eager to set up her team as best she could in pursuit of qualification. With a quick reaction time of 0.180 Healy got a great start to her leg of the campaign. Trying to reel in the athletes on the outside lanes, she drove on to sister Phil, with a clean handover.

Phil Healy:

Ireland’s national record holder in both the 100m and 200m – the first Irish woman to go under 23 seconds for 200m. A force to be reckoned! She has broken the 100m national record several times this season, with the national record now standing at 11.28. An impressive wind-assisted time resulted in an 11.16 finish – truly outstanding. Healy has been in action in both the 100m and 200m this European Championships, making the semi-final of both and finishing 11th and 20th respectively.

Phil Healy showed her true power and determination, running an outstanding leg, gaining ground on her competitors before handing the baton to Ciara Neville. They were ahead of the Swiss at this point, who went on to finish second, qualifying for the final.

Ciara Neville:

Limerick sprinter Ciara Neville was part of the World U20 Junior Championships representing Ireland who won an historic silver medal in the 4x100m relay, alongside Gina-Apke Moses. The Emerald AC’s star has been in brilliant form this season and ran a season’s best in the 100m semi-final at the World U20 Junior Championships, with a time of 11.54. Balancing her running with the Leaving Cert this year, Neville has shown great promise and ended her Irish schools career undefeated as she retained the 100m and 200m senior title.

Ciara Neville passed the baton to Gina Apke-Moses in third position, coming round the bend finishing strong, with the possibility of automatic qualification within reach. Another top class run for the Limerick athlete.

Gina Apke-Moses:

Apke-Moses has already made history for Ireland this year, along with team-mate Ciara Neville. The U20 quartet contributed to the silver streak that Ireland are on, storming to second place in the 4x100m relay just a month ago in Finland at the World Junior Championships, setting a new U20 Irish relay record. Making the final at the U20 event, Gina stepped up to compete in the Europeans in the 100m, running 11.63. A personal best of 11.46, set in Newham in May and a National 100m Senior Title, just pipping Joan Healy, giving Gina Apke-Moses great confidence in racing another relay on the world stage for her country.

Toe to toe with lane 1 and 2, Apke-Moses had her work cut out for her. The final leg relay competitors are always incredibly strong and the young Irish star, gave it everything she had in an effort to qualify automatically. In the end, the Italian pulled ahead coming into the line and Ireland were looking to the fastest loser slot to qualify, but were unfortunate to miss out by just 0.06 of a second.

A great race by the Irish team, boasting a new Irish national record. With the oldest member of the team at just 25 and two of the athletes still competing at U20 level, the possibilities and hopes for Irish sprinting is at an all time high. It was the fastest ever time in a 4x100m relay at the European Championships to not qualify for a final – truly highlighting how talented the team are!

Ciara Mageean:

Irish Olympian, Ciara Mageean ran the perfect race in the heats of the 1500m to automatically qualify for tonight’s final. Mageean finished second, hot on the heels of Britain’s Laura Muir who is favourite to take gold. Mageean who started off slowly at the beginning of the season has come on strong in recent weeks, looking like the athlete who took bronze in the 1500m at the 2016 European Championships in Amsterdam. After a returning to winning ways in Barcelona earlier last month, Mageean put on a strong performance at the Morton Games and was in real contention.

Setting off well, sitting in the top group Mageean looked strong, in good form and ready to fight for a medal. Laura Muir took off to the front, Mageean holding fourth. As they crossed the line for the first 300m, there was movement as athletes were shaking it up and settling into their pace. Mageean dropped to the middle of the group, focusing on her own race, with two laps to go.

Starting to make a move, as the field started to spread out, Ciara Mageean came up the outside moving from seventh position to fifth with one lap to go. Going for it in the last lap, Mageean kicked it up a notch and tried to go for a higher position yet again. Sitting on the shoulder of the Polish athlete on the corner, they pushed on fighting down the line. Laura Muir of Britain was too far ahead, but Mageean fought for bronze with Poland’s Ennaoui and Great Britain’s Weightman. Mageean was attempting to make a move to overtake the two athletes, but they pushed on as she approached. Ennaoui dug deep and overtook Weightman who then held off Mageean to finish in third place.

A great interview from Ciara Mageean after the race with Athletics Ireland.

HerSport Editor

Her Sport is a media platform centred on bringing the latest Irish and international women’s sports news. Her Sport aims to empower women in sport, inspire more female participation, increase opportunity and level the playing field for future generations. Our objective is to create real and tangible change.

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