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Ireland National Thread | An Bóthar go Tóiceo 2020

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Leinster claim record-equalling 4th European title





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.


















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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Brilliant Bennett captures another Stage win at the Giro








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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Irish Sevens team win first leg of European Series








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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History-maker Natalya wins silver at Modern Pentathlon World Cup






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







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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Bennett claims Stage win Hat-trick at the Giro








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 :)





Edited by OlympicIRL
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  • 1 year later...

I see this hasn't been updated in a while so allow me to share the current state of play


As of 4 October 2019...


21 quotas earned in 6 different sports


Sports with quotas earned in alphabetical order:




  • Ciara Mageean (1,500m)
  • Alex Wright (20k walk)
  • Brendan Boyce (50k walk)


Others that would get place by virtue of their ranking would be Thomas Barr, Mark English and Phil Healy. Of the highly rated juniors high jumper Sommer Lecky and heptathlete Kate O'Connor have the best chance of making the early step up.


Canoeing - Slalom


  • boat (men's C1)


Ireland are unlikely to qualify any more boats in canoeing with our best sprint canoeist being Jenny Egan who specialises in longer (non-Olympic) distances





  • Eventing (team with 3 individuals)
  • Dressage(team with 3 individuals)


The eventing team won silver at last world champs and individual medalists in last Worlds and Europeans mean they are serious Olympic medal contenders. The first Irish dressage team was a nice surprise. The show jumping team can win medals, but they need the final qualifying spot this weekend to make it after 7th place finishes in the world and euro champs.



Modern Pentathlon


  • Natalya Coyle


Natalya will be hoping for her third top 10 placing in the Olympics in Tokyo. Arthur Lannigan O'Keefe could medal if everything goes right but he struggled with injuries. He needs to have a great start to 2020 to shoot up the rankings.




  • w1x
  • w2-
  • m2x
  • lm2x


Whoever is with Paul O'Donovan in the lightweight double sculls will be a medal favourite in Tokyo. Paul has won the last two world championships, one with his Rio medal winning brother Gary and the other with newcomer Fintan McCarthy. Sanita Puspure is double world champion and only injury or horrendoes luck will stop her from medaling in Tokyo. The mens double won silver this year and are improving all the time. Ireland will try and qualify a womens 4 next year 




  • Laser Radial


Aisling Kelleher won the quota but Rio medalist Annalise Murphy has dropped her 49er FX plans to try and get in the Radial boat for Tokyo. The 49er crew have a good chance of qualifying in December and we might sneak in a Laser quota too next year with most European countries already in.




  • Darragh Greene (100m, 200m breast)
  • Shane Ryan (100m back)


Irish swimming is one of the only sports that have stricted rules than the IOC for qualifying so neither of thes may actually go. Greene achieved his time at the worlds so has to get close to it at the irish nationals in 2020 to validate it. Everyone else, including Ryan, has to earn the OQT at the irish nationals. Brendan Hyland and Mona Mcsharry look the two most likely to add to the team in individual events but iris swimmimg is aiming to bring a 4x100m medley relay team and is currently OK in the ranks



Likely/possible quotas in these sports



Nhat Nguyen is currently in a rankings spot. The mixed doubles of Sam and Chloe Magee are also in a spot, but their quota is far less secured.



Traditionally our strongest Olympic sport. Ireland will eb hoping to have at least 8 of the 13 quotas available next year. Our womens team is particularly strong and they'll hope to win 2/3 medals next year.



We're very likely to qualify 3 for the mens road race 9with one of them also in the ITT). On the track we should qualify at least 2 women (madison rankings) and maybe one man (omnium).



Oliver Dingley and Clare Cryan have hopes for next year through the world cup series. Dingley should be OK


Field Hockey

Both mens and womens team face Canada ine 3/4 weeks time in the play offs. The World Cup runner up women are at home and hopefully qualify for their first ever olympics!



Ireland will qualify 4 for golf next year with McIlroy and Lowry being medal contenders on their day in the mens.



On this weekend, with luck Emma Slevin and Andrew Steele may qualify for all around (need luck though!). Rhys McClenaghan is a medal contender if he qualifies in pommel!



We currently have 3 judoka in ranking positions; Ben Fletcher, Megan Fletcher and Nathan Burns



Jack Wooley is top 8 ranked in the minimum weight and should be OK to amek his first games with average luck.



Russell White and Carolyn Hayes are our best hope of qualifying for Tokyo and both are just inside the quota spots at the moment.  Hayes was 6th at the European Championships in May and is a relative newcomer to the sport. She'll easily shoot up the rankings list with performances like that. The ranking period ends in May 2020.


It's unlikely we'll have qualifiers in  other sports but  maybe the rugby sevens team can surprise us or someone new comes along next year!






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Ireland Crowned 2019 FEI Nations Cup Champions -

Showjumping Team Qualify For 2020 Olympics





It was a glorious day for Ireland in Barcelona on Sunday as the Irish showjumping were crowned the 2019 FEI Nations Cup Champions and with it booking their place at the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games.


Under the guidance of Chef d'Equipe, Rodrigo Pessoa, the Irish quartet of Peter Moloney (Chianti's Champion), Paul O'Shea (Skara Glen's Machu Picchu), Darragh Kenny (Balou Du Reventon) and Cian O'Connor (PSG Final) delivered 4 strong rounds, finishing on just a single time fault for their team total at the end of the competition.


Ireland not only captured the title of 2019 FEI Nations Cup Champions and the €1.25 million prize money for victory, but they grabbed the prize they wanted most.... those final tickets for the 2020 Olympic Games and with it ending 16 years of heart-break and near misses.


It's the first time since Athens 2004 that Ireland have qualified a showjumping team for the Olympics and the race will now be on to make the team for Tokyo 2020.

It also means that Ireland will field the full compliment of riders across all 3 equestrian disciplines at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics with Ireland already qualifying teams in both eventing and dressage.


Amazing result for Rodrigo and the guys, congratulations and good luck in Tokyo!!







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Rhys McClenaghan Bags Bronze on Pommel -

Becomes First Irish Gymnast To Win World Medal





Rhys McClenagham became Ireland's first-ever gymnastics medalist at a world championships as he claimed bronze in a high-quality men's pommel final in Stuttgart.


Having seen his rival, Olympic champion, Max Whitlock nail his routine, the pressure was on the European champion to respond in kind. The Irish gymnast, who already made history by becoming Ireland's first world finalist, pulled out a top-drawer routine to score 9.000 on execution and a total score of 14.400.

This provisionally placed Rhys in the silver medal position, just 0.100 behind Whitlock's total, but Chinese Taipei's Chih Kai Lee overtook the Irishman with his 14.433 routine.


Rhys posted the highest execution score of the final and will know now that if he can up his difficulty between now and Tokyo, the sky is the limit for this young gymnast.







Speaking after the final Rhys summed up his feelings on a magnificent and historic bronze medal:


"It feels pretty amazing. That was a tough final, it was the best pommel final that I've ever seen and it was a privilege to be in.

It's phenomenal to be standing with a medal around my neck at the World Championships, and to be going to the Olympic games is something special."












Luke celebrating with his coach Luke Carson






Congratulations Rhys, world bronze medalist!!  :clap:




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