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Mary Hannigan: A European Championships we will never forget

Ireland take home a record haul of medals; John O’Shea calls for clarity on manager’s role; GAA needs better stadiums

Ireland’s Rhasidat Adeleke, Sharlene Mawdsley, Lauren Cadden, Sophie Becker and Phil Healy celebrate with their silver medals and supporters. Photograph: Morgan Treacy/Inpho

A European Athletics Championships that we won’t forget in a hurry came to a close on Wednesday evening with the women’s 4x400m relay team winning silver, bringing to four the record haul of medals for Ireland in the event. Ian O’Riordan reports on another outstanding display by both Rhasidat Adeleke and Sharlene Mawdsley, this time very ably assisted by Sophie Becker and Phil Healy. For Adeleke, it was a third medal in six days, adding to her gold in the mixed 4x400m relay and her individual 400m silver. And she’s still only twenty-one. Her future looks rather bright.

The same can’t be said for our men’s football team, although as Gavin Cummiskey reminds us, “there are some positives happening below the level of the senior squad” with no shortage of talent coming up through the ranks. But it’s now seven months since Stephen Kenny left his role as senior manager and the FAI has still to find his permanent replacement. John O’Shea remains in limbo. Derek Scally reports from Germany where Euro 2024 kicks off tomorrow, but when you travel through the country “you would be hard-pressed to see signs that a major world sporting event is looming”. A struggling economy, a soaring housing crisis and rising political extremism are occupying people’s thoughts, but can Julian Nagelsmann’s team give them something to cheer over the next month?

John O’Sullivan, meanwhile, previews Saturday’s URC semi-finals, hearing from Leinster’s Cian Healy ahead of their meeting with the Bulls in Pretoria and Munster’s Gavin Coombes in advance of the defending champions’ game against Glasgow Warriors in Thomond Park.

In the wake of GAA President Jarlath Burns’ pessimistic update on the chances of Casement Park being ready for Euro 2028, Ciarán Murphy argues that what’s needed are better stadiums, not bigger ones. “The GAA’s approach to stadiums is still build ‘em big, and don’t worry about the frills,” he writes.


In golf, Philip Reid sets the scene ahead of the opening round of the US Open today, Scottie Scheffler, who “has been operating at a different level”, the man to beat. Shane Lowry’s chief task going in to the tournament has been to erase memories of that 85 in his final round at the Memorial tournament. “Anytime you shoot a score like that, it’s not good for your mind or your game,” he says.

And watching his children play sport competitively isn’t, Dave Hannigan concludes, good for his mind either. “I despise organised youth sport and just about all who sail in it. A couple of decades on the sidelines have done this to me. Too many demented coaches. Too many dysfunctional parents. Too much ugly. This is not what I thought it would be.”

TV Watch: The US Open gets under way at Pinehurst today (Sky Sports Golf, 12.30pm-1am), and there’s a fair chance that the cameras will focus quite a bit on the group that tees off at 6.14pm - it features Scottie Scheffler, Xander Schauffele and Rory McIlroy, the world’s top three.

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