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OlympicIRL

Ireland National Thread | An Bóthar go Tóiceo 2020

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OlympicIRL    869

article-urn:publicid:ap.org:62ec8a455192

 

2020 Vision

 

 

 

Akpe-Moses claims 100m Gold at European Juniors

 

 

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It was a weekend to remember for Ireland's Gina Akpe-Moses as she stormed to gold in the final of the women's 100m at the European u20 Championships in Grosseto, Italy.

 

18-year-old, Gina, who we are tracking as part of our 2020 Vision project here on Totallympics, posted a personal best time of 11.56 secs in the semi-finals. Although conditions in the final were not conducive to fast times it was all about taking home silverware and she could not have delivered a better result, claiming gold and the European junior women's 100m title in 11.71 secs, seeing off the challenge of Germany Keshia Kwadwo in the final 20m. Her Irish teammate Ciara Neville came home in 7th place, a rare sight to see two Irish contesting a sprint final!

 

It's another stepping stone for Gina on the way to hopefully qualifying for Tokyo 2020 and follows on from her success at the EYOF in 2015, where she claimed silver in both the 100m and 200m. Gina and Ciara were also in action this afternoon in the final of the women's 4x100m relay finishing just outside the medal in 4th place. Hopefully this points towards a bright future for Irish sprinting.

 

 

Here you can watch a replay of that glorious gold-medal winning moment for Gina :)

 

 

 

Post-race interview with a delighted Gina:

 

 

 

Ciara Neville congratulating an emotional Gina after the race

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Gina with her gold medal

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Congrats Gina, very proud moment for our athletics :)

 

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hckosice    1,577
The Fighting Irish

Despite lack of ice, hockey in Ireland alive

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Aaron Guli, Paul Cummins and Damien Roche defend against Morocco’s Redouan Bouhdid in front of Irish goalie Chris Devine.

 

Ireland had a short history of World Championship play at the lower levels between 2004 and 2013. While the shutdown of the Republic of Ireland’s last rink caused a meltdown for Irish ice hockey, enthusiasts fight to keep the Irish ice hockey family alive.

“A few years after the closing of the rink nothing was really happening. Since the current executive board took over four-and-a-half years ago we started building up with youth hockey. The last two years we have been successful with senior hockey too,” said Aaron Guli, the President of the Irish Ice Hockey Association, who also serves as both player (although a soon-to-be-retired one as he added) and team manager for the men’s national team that currently plays at the 2017 Development Cup, an initiative of smaller IIHF members that established a tournament among themselves.

“The level starts to pick up. We started with four teams, now we have 11 teams in the Cross-Border Cup,” he said. In that competition seven teams play from the Republic of Ireland and four from Northern Ireland (UK) with all games being played in the Belfast area in Northern Ireland.

In Andorra the men’s national team plays for international honours for the first time in four years. While the other countries come from warmer places, Ireland geographically doesn’t exactly look like an exotic place for ice sports. The capital of Dublin is at a similar latitude like hockey places such as Astana, Berlin, Edmonton, Minsk, Saskatoon, Sheffield or Ufa. And then there were players of Irish heritage in the NHL. And in the state of Indiana, USA, the University of Notre Dame’s sports teams are nicknamed the “Fighting Irish”, including their NCAA ice hockey team.

However, opposed to all these places the Republic of Ireland just has lacked an ice rink for the past seven years. And that’s obviously a major problem to keep the sport striving.

“Mismanagement with too many owners led to the closure in 2010. The arena is not used anymore but the boards and the Zamboni are still there. There’s a business plan ready to meet for a possible re-opening,” he said about the former ice rink in Dunedin.

The first games in Ireland were played in the ‘80s and the Irish Ice Hockey Association joined the IIHF in 1996. The country got a permanent full-size rink in 2006 with the Dundalk Ice Dome that also hosted the 2007 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship Division III. A sell-out crowd of 1,522 saw how Ireland beat Luxemburg 4-3 in shootout to earn promotion to the Division II level for one year. In 2010 the Irish earned promotion again a few weeks before the rink halfway between the country’s capital of Dublin and the Northern Irish capital of Belfast shut its doors.

The national team couldn’t keep momentum and hasn’t played in the World Championship program since 2013. Once there were 1,100 players in the Republic of Ireland. Without an ice rink many quit the sport or turned to inline hockey. According to Guli 400 players are still active and play ice hockey in exile in the Belfast area. Belfast is a little less than two hours away by car from the Irish capital of Dublin and about one hour from the former hockey town of Dundalk.

“We started a recreational league, now the national team players get 15 games a season,” Guli said.

Most players come from the Republic of Ireland while goaltender Chris Devine is from Northern Ireland, Ian Courtney plays in London, England, 2000-born Thomas Carpenter for Swiss fourth-tier team HC Chateau d'Oex and Declan Weir for German minor-league team EA Schongau. Two players (Paul Cummins, Niall McEvoy) played for the senior national team in IIHF play and Vytautas Lukosevicius, who emigrated to Ireland in 2007, represented his native country Lithuania at Division I level until 2004.

To get back to former heights, the IIHA is not only in discussion with the Dundalk ice rink owners but also for a new rink in the country’s capital.

“We are talking with potential investors for a rink in Dublin. We met with them and with Sport Ireland. The investors are looking for 2,500 seats to put in a professional team,” Guli said. Professional team, that would ideally mean one playing in the top British contest, the Elite Ice Hockey League. And a possible derby with the Northern Irish neighbours. “The Belfast Giants would love it!” Guli said.

Until then the Irish try to grow the program with playing in exile.

“We keep the kids going so that there’s a clear pathway now. That’s why we pushed with the Development Cup that we have a senior national team going for them to look up to,” Guli said.

The Irish had a rough start against Morocco, 10-2, but then beat both Portugal (9-4) and Andorra (5-3) on Saturday to set up a final against Morocco. The level was quite different. As Guli said, the game against Morocco was the first one with body-checking for some of the players in several years.

“We battled hard. Unfortunately we were on the wrong side of the score line. All three lines gave it a 110 per cent. I couldn’t ask for more,” Nigel Smeaton, the Cyprus-born Irish head coach who currently lives and plays in Dubai, said after the game.

For Smeaton development is the key. “We have young players. This squad will eventually feed the senior World Championship squad in the future,” Smeaton said.

After the two wins against the southern European competitors, the Irish hope for revenge on Sunday in the final against Morocco. Portugal and Andorra will play for third place.

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OlympicIRL    869

Interesting read, thanks @hckosice  :yes

I haven't really heard anything about our ice hockey situation for many years so hopefully we can resume playing at some level soon, even if it is the bottom tier. Not competing at all is lamentable.

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hckosice    1,577
7 hours ago, OlympicIRL said:

Interesting read, thanks @hckosice  :yes

I haven't really heard anything about our ice hockey situation for many years so hopefully we can resume playing at some level soon, even if it is the bottom tier. Not competing at all is lamentable.

 

you´re welcome !

 

Yes, thats super cool to hear something about Irish hockey after so long time and see that there still many passionate peoples in Ireland to try to revive this sport there. Good luck to them ! Hopefully Ireland will be back soon in the World Championships program :)

 

Unfortunately there not livestreams from this tournament but you can rewatch the matches in this channel https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC64I6QTyoYp_TTkss9pSDpw/videos  The Gold medal match played today at 11:30 will be added later too

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OlympicIRL    869

Ireland claim the Grand Slam with victory in Twickenham

 

 

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It was a historic St.Patrick's Day for Irish sport as the men's rugby team defeated England in Twickenham to add the Grand Slam to their Six Nations title.

 

In a controlled performance Ireland blasted out of the blocks with first half tries from Garry Ringrose, CJ Stander and Jacob Stockdale leaving England trailing 21-5 at half-time. England, unbeaten at home in the Six Nations since 2012 had tries in either half by Elliot Daly and a stoppage-time try by Jonny May was not enough to spoil the Irish party as they ran out comfortable 24-15 winners in the end.

 

It is just the third time in history that Ireland has claimed the Grand Slam and follow in the footsteps of the Irish heroes of 1948 and 2009. It is also Ireland's third Six Nations title in 5 years for Joe Schmidt's men, who now lie in second place in the world rankings behind the mighty All Blacks.

 

What A Day!!!! Grand Slam champions 2018 :cry:  :champion:  :bounce:

 

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The Final Standings of the 2018 Six Nations Tournament:

 

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OlympicIRL    869
Posted (edited)

Leinster claim record-equalling 4th European title

 

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Leinster will add a fourth gold star to their jersey next season after claiming a record-equalling fourth European crown in Bilbao, Spain yesterday evening. A late Nacewa strike from the boot secured a 15-12 victory for the Irish club over a resilient Racing 92.

 

It was one of the most intense finals in recent years with Europe's top 2 clubs in 2018 going toe-to-toe for 80 minutes. In a game where both defences were firmly on top througout, neither try line was breached and in the end it was the kicking boot of Nacewa, who will retire at the end of the season, who separated the sides.

 

It is a fourth European title for Leinster and first since 2011-12 season and they now sit alongside the mighty Toulouse as the most successful clubs in the history of European club rugby. The victory also sees Leinster coach Leo Cullen become the first to win the competition as a player and a coach, having won 3 European titles as a Leinster player. 21-year old James Ryan was awarded the man-of-the-match award in what has been an outstanding breakthrough season for the youngster - a Grand Slam and European Champions Cup medal at 21 years of age, an incredible achievement.

 

 

 

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European Titles by Club:

 

 Club  No. of Titles  Winning Years
 :FRA Toulouse 4  1996, 2003, 2005, 2010
 :IRL Leinster 4  2009, 2011, 2012, 2018
 :FRA Toulon 3  2013, 2014, 2015
 :ENG Leicester Tigers 2  2001, 2002
 :IRL Munster 2  2006, 2008
 :ENG Saracens 2  2016, 2017
 :ENG London Wasps 2  2004, 2007
 :FRA Brive 1  1997
 :ENG Northampton Saints 1  2000
 :IRL Ulster 1  1999
 :ENG Bath 1  1998

 

 

 

Edited by OlympicIRL

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OlympicIRL    869
Posted (edited)

Brilliant Bennett captures another Stage win at the Giro

 

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Ireland's Sam Bennett produced a winning sprint to claim the 12th stage of the Giro d'Italia, his second stage win of this year's race.

In miserable weather conditions, Bennett looked in his element and took control with 400m to go, holding off van Poppel and Boifazio to claim the win.

 

Bennett becomes the first Irishman since the great Seán Kelly to claim multiple stage wins in one of cycling's Grand Tours. The result also sees him consolidate his second place position in the race for the points jersey.

 

 

Stage 12 - Finish

 

 

 

 

Edited by OlympicIRL

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OlympicIRL    869

Irish Sevens team win first leg of European Series

 

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The Irish men's rugby sevens team were in impressive form in the opening leg of the 2018 Rugby Europe Grand Prix Series, claiming victory in Moscow this afternoon.

In a pool containing Germany, Portugal and Poland, the Irish negotiated the round robin phase with ease, scoring 97 points and without the concession of any points in reply.

 

A quarter-final against Spain was next on the agenda with the Irish men booking their place in the semis in impressive fashion on a scoreline of 26-0.

France lay in wait in the semis in what proved to be a one-sided affair, the Irish eventually coming out on top 31-0.

 

The final saw Ireland face-off against their fellow Pool B opponents Germany and it was the Irish who came out victorious once again, claiming the title with a 28-7 win. Ireland conceded just one try throughout their six matches in the competition and put a total of 28 tries on their opponents.

 

The win sees Ireland claim the maximum 20 points on offer in the first of 4 legs of the 2018 European Grand Prix Series - an event which serves as qualification for the Hong Kong Sevens in 2019 (a qualification event for the World Series).

 

 

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OlympicIRL    869

History-maker Natalya wins silver at Modern Pentathlon World Cup

 

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Ireland's two-time Olympian, Natalya Coyle, made history yesterday by claiming Ireland's first ever medal at a Modern Pentathlon World Cup event.

 

Natalya who finished 6th at the Rio Olympic Games, fenced superbly well and solid performances in the swim and riding discipline gave her a 10 second advantage over Katie French going into the combined event. However it was the Briton who eventually came out on top with Natalya holding on for a magnificent silver medal.

 

Afterwards, Natalya expressed her delight at realising the first World Cup medal in her career and looks forward to the mixed event on Sunday where she competes alongside 2015 European Champion, Arthur Lanigan-O'Keeffe:

 

"It was a really good day, I swam 2sec better than in qualifying, so that was great and then I fenced really well.

That set me up and I was a bit nervous for the Riding because it didn't go very well in Los Angeles, but I only had some time penalties and that was great.

That put me 1st in the Laser-Run and I ended up 2nd, so I am delighted. I've never won a senior individual medal before. Now I get to have a rest tomorrow while Arthur [Lanigan-O'Keeffe] competes in the Men's Final and I can't wait for the Mixed Relay."

 

Congratulations Natalya, great to see the many years of hard work paying off :)

 

 

 

 

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OlympicIRL    869

Gold for Lanigan-O'Keeffe at Modern Pentathlon World Cup

 

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It was another historic day for Ireland at the Modern Pentathlon World Cup in Bulgaria yesterday - just one day after Natalya Coyle bagged Ireland's first-ever World Cup medal, Arthur Lanigan-O'Keeffe went one better and claimed a stunning gold medal in the men's event.

 

The 2015 European champion got off to a trememdous start, and like Natalya, won the fencing competition and was already at the head of the standing after the swimming and fencing. A solid performance in the riding discipline saw Arthur go into the combined event with an 11-second advantage over Lee of Korea. It was a lead Arthur did not relinquish and he finished a comfortable 14 seconds clear of the silver medalist.

 

Arthur, who finished in 8th place at the Rio Olympics had the following to stay after his win yesterday:

 

“I was feeling pretty beaten up after the semi-final and I was worried my legs wouldn’t hold up, but I’m delighted. It’s a bit of an outer-body experience.

“To make things even better my girlfriend medalled yesterday and this is the first time we have won individual medals at the World Cup so it’s a great result all round.  

“As you can see I’m pretty red in the face but thankfully my body held up today. We’ve come through some hard times and now the results are starting to show.

“I’ll dust off my legs, get into the plunge pool and get ready for tomorrow’s Mixed Relay because we mean business.”

 

 

Arthur and Natalya return to action tomorrow in the mixed event looking to add to their medal collection.

Congratulations Arthur, what a phenomenal World Cup for Ireland :) :champion:

 

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OlympicIRL    869
Posted (edited)

Bennett claims Stage win Hat-trick at the Giro

 

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Ireland's Sam Bennett won the final stage of this year's Giro d'Italia, his third stage win of the 2018 race.

Bennett left it late, out-sprinting Elia Viviani to claim the stage 21 honours.

 

The victory makes him the most successful Irish rider in Giro history in terms of number of stage victories.

 

Congrats Sam on a memorable 2018 Giro :)

 

 

 

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Edited by OlympicIRL

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