She's done it! Annalise Murphy claims silver in women's laser radial sailing

It was a memorable day for the 26-year-old Dubliner.

Image: Morgan Treacy/INPHO

ANNALISE MURPHY HAS put her London heartbreak to rest by claiming a silver medal in the women’s laser radial sailing in Rio this evening.

Murphy finished fourth in Weymouth four years ago after a disappointing medal race but there was no such heartache this time around as the Dubliner claimed a fifth place finish, which was good enough to see her move from bronze medal position to silver.

The 26-year-old put in an excellent performance to secure Ireland’s second medal of the Rio Olympics following the silver medal achieved in the lightweight men’s double sculls by rowers Paul and Gary O’Donovan last week.

Murphy, whose mother Cathy McAleavey represented Ireland in sailing in Seoul 1988, was in gold medal position at one point today but fell back to silver towards the end of the race, claiming Ireland’s first sailing medal since 1980.

The Rathfarnham native was guaranteed at least a bronze medal if she finished in the top five today and she showed great composure to seize the moment after a day of frustration yesterday which saw the sailing delayed due to light winds. And when the wind finally arrived it was too strong and deemed dangerous and the sailing was postponed until today.

The gold medal went to Marit Bouwmeester of the Netherlands (61 points), who came into the medal race in pole position, and the brozne to Anne-Marie Rindom of Denmark (71 points), who Murphy (67 points) leapfrogged at the final hurdle.

Alison Young of Great Britain claimed the win in the medal race with Bouwmeester in seventh, Rindom in eighth and Evi Van Acker, the woman who denied Murphy a bronze medal in London and who was in fourth heading into today’s decider, finishing in sixth position.

It was a much needed boost for Team Ireland following a difficult couple of days, coming just two hours after Michael Conlan’s controversial exit from the boxing.

Murphy had travelled to Rio on a number of occasions in recent years to get used to the changeable conditions on the Brazilian coastline. And the reconnaissance work paid off in spades today, despite the fact she came into the event on the back of some inconsistent form.

Speaking to RTÉ afterwards, an emotional Murphy was over the moon.

“This time four years ago I finished fourth and it was the hardest day of my life. I said I was going to come back and try to get a medal. So to actually go and do it is incredible. I’m so happy.

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“I don’t know whether I’m laughing or crying. But I was just so happy I was able to do it. In the last race I was able to put everything together really well.

“I didn’t think I was going to be in this position. Even a few months ago I was sailing really badly. So to be able to come and do it when it mattered was just incredible.”

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Alan Waldron

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