More precious metal for Ireland

Wed, Sep 5, 2012, 01:00

Paralympic Games:Ireland’s cyclists set a blistering pace around Brands Hatch this afternoon as the medal haul continued at the London Games, a gold and two bronze added to the booty already collected over the last week. Mark Rohan, the former Westmeath footballer, provided the star turn while the tandems of James Brown and Damien Shaw and Catherine Walsh and Fran Meehan also came up trumps.

Rohan, a specialist road racer, had to take a back seat when the rest of the Irish team were in action in the velodrome last week but when afforded his chance today, left his rivals gasping for air as he took gold in the H1 time trial in a time of 35 minutes, 41.54 seconds.

That was some 11 seconds faster than Israel’s Koby Lion (35:53.30) while Austria’s Wolfgang Schattauer took bronze (38:02.35). “I don’t know how to describe it, it’s just an amazing feeling,” Rohan said after the event. “I’m exhausted.”

Brown and Shaw had kicked things off earlier in the afternoon, zipping around the track to claim bronze in the men’s individual B time trial. The Irish pair negotiated the tricky circuit in a time of 31 minutes, 13 seconds flat, with the Spanish pair of Christian Venge and David Llaurado Caldero (30:48.25) while Italy's Ivano Pizzi and Lucca Pizzi took silver.

Brown, a 47-year-old from Portaferry, and his 27-year-old pilot from Mullingar narrowly missed out on a medal in the velodrome last week but came out fighting to lead the hunt for precious metal on another memorable day for the Irish team.

Walsh and Meehan were in action shortly afterwards and proved every bit as impressive as they had been in the velodrome as they rode their way into third place in a time of 35:29.56. Katie George Dunleavy and Sandra Fitzgerald, riding in the same event, came home a very creditable fifth (35:48.06).

Despite being world bronze medallists in this event, the pair were not treating it as a priority event, and were not confident that the course would suit them. “We have a really strong team, and I think that’s what has moved us on,” Meehan explained. “We support each other, share our advice, and it means we all improve.”

Earlier, Ireland’s Cathal Miller was well down the pecking order in the C5 time trial as Yeger Dementyev of Ukraine won gold. Dementyev won gold in 32mins 12secs, with China’s Liu Xinyang second in 32:21 and Michael Gallagher of Australia third in 33:12. Miller was 11th in 35:14, but was delighted with his performance on the day.

He said: “I’m really happy with that. That’s my best ride of the year from a TT perspective.”

Enda Smyth finished 14th in the C3 time-trial in 27:30. David Nicholas of Australia won gold in 23:22. Smyth's recent injuries started to take their toll on the unforgiving circuit, with relentless rises, descents and sharp turns.

"I can't blame the bike, after doing personal bests during the week on the track, but the relentless bumps and turns on the road really took their toll on me today," he said afterwards.

Johnny Cronin won his seeding match in the Boccia BC3, beating his Singaporean competitor Nurul Mohammad 6-4, and will now receive a bye into tomorrow's quarter-finals. Bobbie Connolly and Tom Leahy will both look for similar success as they begin their individual campaigns later today at the Excel arena.

Back at the Olympic Stadium, Heather Jameson finished seventh in the first round of the T37 200m while Ailish Dunne and Nadine Lattimore were unable to make any impression in the final of the F11/F12 shot put final.

"I am not happy with my distance but I am coming away from this with a bigger appetite to compete than ever before," Dunne said. "It was very difficult out there as I wasn't able to hear a thing. Normally I like to keep aware of what my opposition does but in the noise that was very difficult."

Following yesterdays delay in Weymouth the Ireland trio of John Twomey, Ian Costello and Anthony Hegarty have a busy day on the water with three races to be completed. The Irish crew finished in 13th position in race 8 following this up with 10th place finish in race 9.

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