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Oh so close! Ireland's relay team set national record but miss out on final by 0.06 seconds

A brilliant performance by the Irish quartet leaves grounds for optimism going forward.

IRELAND AGONISINGLY MISSED out on a place in the women’s 4×100 metres relay final — pipped on the line for third by Italy — but a strong performance again underlines the potential within Irish sprinting.

Gina Akpe-Moses anchors the home leg Gina Akpe-Moses was pipped on the line. Source: Morgan Treacy/INPHO

The quartet of Joan Healy, Phil Healy, Ciara Neville and Gina Akpe-Moses came within 0.06 seconds of booking their place in the final, but had to settle for a new national record and a fourth-placed finish in their heat.

Akpe-Moses took the baton for the final leg in third position but stumbled slightly down the home straight, with Italy overtaking Ireland on the line to claim the final automatic qualifying place.

“It did put me off, but next time it’ll be perfect,” the 19-year-old said.

It was a bittersweet finish to a brilliant season for Akpe-Moses and her team-mates, as they crossed in 43.80 to set a national record at Berlin’s Olympiastadion.

The Healy sisters put Ireland in a strong position as Joan produced a powerful opening leg run, eating up the ground on her rivals, before Phil — running the longest leg — continued the momentum.

Neville, part of the Irish team which won World U20 Championships silver in Finland last month, showed all her strength on the third leg, with Akpe-Moses coming within inches of booking Ireland’s place in tonight’s final.

“It was such a shame we missed out, but there is a lot to take out from this championships,” Joan Healy said. “We ran really well together and I’m really proud of these girls.”

Limerick native Neville added: “The aim is to get to an Olympic final, and it’s well within our reach.”

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Ryan Bailey

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