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Galway and Louth go in search of some Olympic spirit

One of Michelle Smith de Bruin’s long-standing records fell, while Galway and Louth face challenging weekends in the GAA Championship

When Ellen Walshe set a new Irish record in the 400m individual medley at Dublin’s Aquatic Centre last week, she had broken one of the longest-standing national marks in the sport. So long-standing, Walshe was still five years away from being born when Michelle Smith de Bruin set the record on her way to Olympic gold in Atlanta, one of three medals of that colour that she won at the 1996 Games. Two more of her Irish records remain from that year, “Smith de Bruin’s impact,” writes Johnny Watterson, “continuing to cast a long shadow over Irish swimming”.

There’s no easy way to move on from the Olympic Games to talking about 2024′s Galway hurlers, but Joe Canning has a notion that they’ll need to introduce a bit of a ‘Citius, Altius, Fortius’ spirit in to their Championship efforts if they are to progress this year. He’s not hopeful, though. They look “lost”, he writes, their performance in their defeat to Wexford “alarming”.

Ger Brennan was a member of the last Dublin team to lose a provincial game – in the dim and distant past of 2010. Now as Louth manager he’s hoping his charges can spring the mother of all upsets when they meet his fellow county men in Sunday’s Leinster final. Wicklow’s championship dream is over, though, Paul Keane talking to their captain Patrick O’Keane ahead of their Tailteann Cup campaign.

In rugby, John O’Sullivan hears from Leinster’s Ryan Baird who is hoping to help the side get their URC title bid back on track, while Linley MacKenzie talks to Connacht’s Conor Oliver about taking on Munster, his former club, in the competition on Saturday.


In soccer, Sid Lowe reflects on Real Madrid reaching their sixth Champions League final in 12 years, while Gavin Cummiskey brings news from the home front, including a 10-game ban for Dundalk goalkeeper George Shelvey and an update on the long-running dispute surrounding the Dublin schoolboys’ and girls’ league.

After the Irish relay teams’ success last weekend, Sonia O’Sullivan looks at the difficult decisions Rhasidat Adeleke now has to make in “trying to balance individual aspirations with any team obligations” when choosing her schedule for the European Championships and Olympics.

In cycling, Shane Stokes reports on the possibility of Eddie Dunbar riding in his first Tour de France this year, while in racing Brian O’Connor has news of controversy at Down Royal on Monday when trainer Denis Hogan was left furious by a steward’s decision. It was, writes Brian, “a reminder of how the more things change the more they stay the same when it comes to interpreting racing’s interference rules”.

TV Watch: TNT Sports 1 bring the first of three T20 meetings between Ireland and Pakistan in Clontarf (from 2.45). Later, you can watch all the action from the Doha Diamond League on Virgin Media Two and BBC 2 (5pm-7pm), and RTÉ 2 have the Premier Division meeting of Shamrock Rovers and St Patrick’s Athletic (7.45).