Kearney silver bags bronze as well


Paralympics:Wicklow's Helen Kearney (23) added another Paralympic medal to Ireland's haul today when she took silver in the individual dressage Grade 1A championship in London, securing a team bronze for Ireland in the process.

Kearney, who had previously won a Bronze at the 2011 European Para Equestrian Championships, registered a score of 76.700 per cent on the grey Mister Cool.

She has been competing in para equestrian dressage for the last eight years.

"I'd like to congratulate Helen Kearney for her fantastic achievement at Greenwich Park today, which was well deserved," said Horse Sport Ireland chairman Joe Walsh said. "It's another great day for Irish equestrian sport."

A personal best was also achieved in the Grade 1a championship by Dubliner Geraldine Savage with Blues Tip Top Too, when the duo finished seventh with a score of 68.800.

Kilkenny-born James Dwyer this morning claimed sixth place in the Grade IV individual dressage championships on 68.516, while Eilish Byrne with her chestnut gelding Youri returned a score of 73.429 per cent to place fifth in the individual Grade II competition on Saturday.

Earlier today, the tandem pairing of Catherine Walsh and pilot Fran Meehanclaimed silver in the women’s individual B pursuit final, finishing second to New Zealand at the Velodrome.

They were up against it from the start after the Kiwis – Phillipa Gray and pilot Laura Thompson – set a new world record in the qualifiers.

Always behind in the final, they could not produce their customary strong finish but added silver to the four golds won on the track and in the pool over Friday and Saturday.

The Irish duo went out faster than they had this morning, when the broke the Paralympic record, and at the 1km mark were a mere 0.2 second down. However, the swift New Zealand pair raised their game and by 2km the lead was out to 1.9 seconds before an eventual winning margin of three seconds was established.

"The team had a couple of fourths," said Walsh afterwards, "so it was hard during the week. We were able to finish off what we said we were going to do.”

The new pairing of Katie-George Dunlevy and Sandra Fitzgeraldknocked five seconds off their best to finish in a creditable fifth, just outside medal contention in a time of 3.42.445.

Speaking afterwards Dunlevy and Fitzgerald were happy with their personal best “delighted for the other tandem too”.

The LTA mixed coxed fours - Kevin Du Toit, Shane Ryan, Sarah Caffrey, Anne-Marie McDaid and cox Helen Arbuthnot- finished fourth in the B final, in a time of 3.36.72, behind Canada, France and Brazil

Following yesterday’s Irish success in the pool, Heather Jameson was Ireland’s only competitor today in the T37 100m event where she set a new personal best time of 15.08.

While not enough to progress to the final, the youngest member of the team continued the Irish athletics success story with her performance.

“I am delighted to have set a PB this morning,” she said. “The atmosphere was absolutely incredible. I am going to give it everything in my final event now. “

Also in action were Colin Lynch, Cathal Miller and Enda Smythin the Mixed C1 to 5 Team Sprint. As first starters, the trio broke the Paralympic record in a time of 56.401, which they held for several rounds, before coming home in eighth.

The top four bikes go to the final later on this evening.

The Irish Boccia team (BC1-2) - Padraic Moran, Gabriel Shelly, Roberta Connolly and Tom Leahy- lost out to the world number ones South Korea in their first match on a score-line of 14-3.

Ireland will look to bounce back against Brazil later today.

“We knew it was going to be a really tough match, I’ll be happy if we can get a result against Brazil later today,” said Leahy.

Moran added: “We got off to a slow start and you can’t afford that against the best in the world. We showed in the last three ends that we can play but by then the match was out of reach, we need to get a result now against Brazil or we are going home.”

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