Tokyo 2020 digest: Ireland on the medals table after historic bronze

The Morning Sports Briefing: Keep ahead of the game with ‘The Irish Times’ sports team

Ireland’s Aifric Keogh and Eimear Lambe watch as Fiona Murtagh presents Emily Hegarty with her bronze medal. Photo: Morgan Treacy/Inpho

Ireland has a first medal of the Tokyo Olympic Games and it's a historic one at that. By edging out the British team in the final of the women's four rowing, Aifric Keogh, Eimear Lambe, Fiona Murtagh and Emily Hegarty became the first ever female rowers to win an Olympic medal for Ireland. After getting off to a poor start the Irish four lagged behind but, in tricky conditions, managed to pull themselves back into it and pass China and Britain to take home the bronze medal. And that may only be the start. Overnight Paul O'Donovan and Fintan McCarthy also booked their spot in tomorrow's lightweight men's double sculls final, an event in which they harbour major hopes of a medal, potentially even gold. Elsewhere both sides of the coin were seen by Irish athletes as Kurt Walker caused a major upset in men's featherweight boxing to beat top seed Mirazizber Mirzakhalilov and secure his place in the quarter-finals, meaning he is one fight away from a medal. However, there was disappointment in the judo for Megan Fletcher who was narrowly beaten in her round of 32 match while the women's hockey team lost 4-2 to Germany and the rugby sevens side bowed out with a 22-0 loss to Kenya. To catch up on all of the overnight action you can read our Irish wrap from Johnny Watterson and Ian O'Riordan in Tokyo.

In the early hours of tomorrow morning Shane Lowry and Rory McIlroy will get their Olympic campaigns underway, both with legitimate chances of winning a medal. After arriving in Tokyo a few days ago, Shane Lowry spoke yesterday about how much he is enjoying the experience and how he wishes they could stay in the Olympic Village. Yesterday Ian O'Riordan took a trip to the Budokan. For the Olympic Games it is the arena where the judo is taking place but it's also where, as he writes, Bob Dylan recorded one of his very best live albums. Later on this morning Mona McSharry swims again in her women's 200m heats after making history just a couple of days ago when she became just the second Irish swimmer ever to reach an Olympic final. This morning Johnny Watterson writes that the Slio native is already turning her focus to Olympic glory in Paris in 2024. But in the pool this morning there was already some Irish success … sort of. By winning silver in the women's 200m freestyle event on Wednesday morning, Siobhan Haughey became Hong Kong's first ever Olympic swimming medallist. If you think that's an Irish-sounding name you'd be right - her father is Irish and she is the grand-niece of a well-known man by the name of Charles…

Moving on the GAA and Darragh Ó Sé writes in his column this morning that he was particularly impressed by Kerry in their Munster final win over Cork at the weekend and he sees them now becoming a real force. "This is the funny thing about being a supporter. You know what to look for in your team, be it good or bad. You notice little things that people from outside the county probably wouldn't - and the same goes vice-versa for when you're looking at their team," he writes. Seán Moran is also writing about Kerry in his column this morning, saying that the open feeling of this year's championship, coupled with signs of Dublin's dominance weakening, could signal a transformation.

In rugby Jack Conan says the pressure is very much on the Lions this week as they face South Africa in the second Test, knowing a win would seal a series win while, in racing, Willie Mullins is looking to bridge a 10-year gap in the Galway Plate today.