Tokyo 2020 digest: McSharry raises the bar for Irish swimming

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

In the early hours of this morning Mona McSharry became just the second Irish swimmer ever to compete in an Olympic final. With that the 20-year-old from Sligo has created a paradigm shift in Irish swimming, writes Johnny Watterson, and she now has her sights set firmly on going even further in Paris in 2024. As it was McSharry clocked a time of 1:06.94 in a highly competitive final, saying afterwards that even getting to this stage was more than she hoped for in her first Olympics. Elsewhere there was success in the boxing ring overnight for Ireland as Aidan Walsh saw off Cameroon's Albert Mengue Ayissi to reach the men's welterweight quarter-finals while there was heartbreak for the Irish rugby sevens team as a late Kenyan try denied them a spot in the quarter-finals. To catch up on all of the overnight action you can read our Irish round-up from Johnny Watterson and Ian O'Riordan in Tokyo.

Also this morning, Ian O'Riordan writes about the moment an Olympic dream is crushed and the raw emotion we've seen from Irish athletes over the last few days. From Emmet Brennan to Jack Woolley to Michaela Walsh to Liam Jegou, there's been plenty of high emotion after Olympic hopes were ended. In the tennis this morning there was a shock in the women's singles as Naomi Osaka was knocked out by Marketa Vondrousova, ending one of Japan's main medal hopes. Don't forget you can keep up to date with all of the Olympics action on our dedicated Tokyo 2020 site.

Moving on and Warren Gatland will this morning announce his Lions team for the second Test against South Africa on Saturday with plenty of big decisions to be made. However, dominating much of the build-up to Saturday's match has been the antics of Rassie Erasmus. In his column this morning, Gerry Thornley writes that "his rather rabid, and tacky, use of social media is worse, for it shows even less respect for the match officials, the opposition and the game." From Cape Town Bill Corcoran writes that defeat for the Springboks has coincided with an upturn in the fortunes of a country battling a lethal Covid-19 wave as well as civil unrest.

On to GAA and Kevin McStay writes this morning that Mayo are firmly in the All-Ireland mix but their defining test awaits provided Dublin aren't shocked by Kildare this weekend. In their victory over Galway at the weekend, Mayo players were involved in an incident in the tunnel at half-time and the GAA is now awaiting the referee's report to see how they will act on it.


Finally, in soccer, Manchester United have agreed a €40m fee for Real Madrid's Raphael Varane while, in racing, Brian O'Connor writes that Mazagran could stall Saltonstall's historic treble bid in the feature race at day two of the Galway festival.