Tokyo 2020 digest: Mixed bag for Ireland with history made in the pool

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

Ireland’s Mona McSharry after finishing fourth and qualifying for the final of the women’s 100m breaststroke at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games. Photo: Inpho

Ireland’s Mona McSharry after finishing fourth and qualifying for the final of the women’s 100m breaststroke at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games. Photo: Inpho

 

It was a mixed night and early morning for the Irish in Tokyo today with a historic swim in the pool but disappointment elsewhere. In the early hours, for just the second time in history and the first time since Michelle de Bruin in 1996, an Irish swimmer made it to an Olympic final. By clocking a time of 1:06.59 in the women’s 100m breaststroke, Mona McSharry booked her place in the final which will take place at 3.17am tomorrow. However, that didn’t set the tone of the night for Team Ireland as the women’s hockey team lost 4-0 to Netherlands while South Africa made it to a rugby sevens debut to forget by beating Ireland 33-14. Elsewhere, there were defeats in boxing for Brendan Irvine to Carlo Paalam in the men’s flyweight division and for Michaela Walsh to Irma Testa while Liam Jegou missed out on a place in the men’s slalom C1 final. You can catch up on all of the overnight action with our Irish round-up from Ian O’Riordan and Johnny Watterson who are both stationed in Tokyo.

Writing this morning, Ian O’Riordan asks if this pandemic Games will emerge with a clean doping sheet. Covid-19 testing has dominated the conversation a lot more than drug testing “perhaps because everyone knows the number of tests carried out over the last year or so have dropped off considerably, in some countries remaining worryingly low,” he writes. Elsewhere, Johnny Watterson contrasts the delight of the Ireland women’s hockey team in making their Olympic debut on Saturday against the utter despair of Jack Woolley after he was eliminated in the first round of taekwondo despite coming in with real medal hopes. In her TV View column this morning, Mary Hannigan writes about the Olympic feat of staying up to watch a lot of these events in the middle of the night. Don’t forget you can keep up to date with all of the action from Tokyo on our dedicated Olympics site.

Elsewhere, it was a successful weekend for the Lions in South Africa as they saw off the Springboks in the opening Test on Saturday but this morning Owen Doyle writes that Rassie Erasmus is pushing the spirit of the laws to their absolute limitsafter a game of poor rugby and ill-tempered build-up. For the Lions, Dan Biggar’s fitness remains the main issue ahead of the second Test after he failed a HIA on Saturday.

In GAA, Cork and Waterford laid out their credentials on Saturday by advancing in the All-Ireland senior hurling championship with wins over Clare and Galway respectively. This morning Nicky English writes in his column that Cork looked particularly impressive. “I think Cork going forward have greater potential. They have serious pace in the middle third. If they can get through the quarter-final and reach Croke Park, the wide-open spaces will suit them,” he writes. In the football yesterday it was another Munster title for Kerry as they beat Cork in Killarney with Keith Duggan reporting that Peter Keane was doing his best to keep the giddiness levels in check after the Kingdom got revenge over their near rivals for last year’s final. In Croke Park it was Mayo who came out on top against Galway in the Connacht final and this morning Malachy Clerkin writes that Aidan O’Shea will keep on trucking, no matter what the begrudgers say.

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