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Dublin: 16 °C Tuesday 16 July, 2019


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WE’RE ON THE go for five-in-a-row. Michael Conlan bagged Ireland’s third medal last night and this evening, Paddy Barnes added another to the haul. Meanwhile, there was also success for both Katie Taylor and Cian O’Connor today.

As always, we’d love to hear from you, so send us your thoughts and comments on all the action.

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Deep breaths, everybody. Long, deep breaths.

This is not just any ordinary Wednesday. This is Olympics day 12 Wednesday which means a whole lot of of hype, excitement and nerves as we countdown the seconds to Katie Taylor’s lightweight semi-final. That’s before we even turn our attention to Paddy Barnes who has a chance to make history as a two-time medallist when he steps into the ring for his light-flyweight quarter-final tonight.

I’m Niall Kelly and I promise to try to breathe at regular intervals today. You should all do the same. I hear it’s healthy.

It’s not exactly a busy day for Team Ireland but it’s a big one. Here’s what you should be keeping an eye on today:

  • Men’s 5,000m: Alistair Cragg, heat two, 10.45am
  • Women’s 60kg boxing: Katie Taylor v Mavzuna Chorieva, semi-final, 2pm
  • Men’s 49kg boxing: Paddy Barnes v Devendro Singh Laishram, quarter-final, 8.45pm

And it looks like today has just gotten a little bit busier. Cian O’Connor and Blue Loyd were the first reserves for today’s showjumping final in Greenwich Park and according to the man himself, he’s in the mix following a withdrawal this morning.

The official start list here confirms that O’Connor is indeed in the final, though it looks like he will be second to jump when the competition starts at 12pm.

The men’s 5,000m heats are just about to get underway with 10,000m gold medallist Mo Farah looking to double up. He goes in heat one but it’s the morning’s second heat, featuring Ireland’s Alistair Cragg, that we’re really looking forward to.

All of you decathlon lovers will surely be interested to know how this year’s first event, the men’s 100m, went down. Gold medal favourite Ashton Eaton is off to a flier with a time of 10.35 with Team USA buddy Trey Hardee (10.42) and Damian Warner of Canada (10.48) the next fastest across the finish line.

The lads have four more events today with the long jump up next.

Mo Farah qualifies for the final of the men’s 5,000m in third place. The Team GB star clocked in at 13:26 flat, just behind heat winner Hayle Ibrahimov (13:25.23) and Isiah Kiplangat Koech (13:25.64).

Here comes Alistair Cragg. With only the top five plus fastest losers to qualify for Saturday’s final, he’ll be a big outsider to make the cut. His season’s best is one of the slowest in the field. But you just never know, do you?

Reader Mark Geary (presumably not this Mark Geary?) has sent us in this screengrab of Twitter’s trending topics in Australia. Who’s that there above 100m gold medallist Sally Pearson? Ah sure, ’tis only our own Paddy Barnes. Big in Ireland, bigger in Australia.

Thanks, Mark.

With seven laps to go, Alistair Cragg has dropped off the leading group by about 20 metres. He’s in 18th place by the looks of things with Galen Rupp of the USA leading.

Cragg knocks on the afterburners for a bit and powers up to join the leading group, even getting up as high as fourth place for a brief while. He’s dropped back to conserve a bit of energy now but that was a good positive move as we pass the half-way mark.

With two laps to go, Alistair Cragg is well out of contention for a qualifying spot. Kipsiro leads from Rupp.

Dejen Gebremeskel wins from his fellow Ethiopian Yenew Alamirew in a pretty fast time of 13:15.15. Alistair Cragg is out though, finishing down the field in 17th. His time of 13:47.01 is well outside his season’s best of 13:32.76.

That’s it as far as the 5,000m is concerned but we’ll have more Irish action to keep us occupied in about a half-an-hour when Cian O’Connor goes in the first round of the showjumping final shortly after midday.

It’s still a bit early to start getting excited about Katie’s fight, isn’t it?

Speaking of Katie, she’s making even more friends around the world. Here’s this morning’s fight write-up from Time Magazine:

Soft-spoken, rising to just 5 ft. 5 in. and possessing a somewhat slight frame, Taylor doesn’t exactly scream pugilist. But the moment she straps on her gloves and head guard she transforms into a fierce street fighter. With her clinical jabs and nimble footwork, she wears opponents down as she uses them as punching bags. Those in the know expected her to advance from Monday’s quarterfinal. But Taylor faced a sizable adversary in Britain’s Natasha Jonas, a former European champion who — like Mo Farah and Jessica Ennis and so many other British athletes before her — could benefit from the home crowd willing her on. Not even fighting on home turf, however, could help her overcome the Irish juggernaut.

Read the article in full here >

The women’s 800m heats have got off to a rather unusual start. America’s Alysia Johnson Montano absolutely flew out of the blocks to run a ridiculously fast opening lap of 55 seconds and then just narrowly clung on to win the heat in 2:00.47 ahead of Caster Semenya and Halima Hachlaf. Them’s the tactics that wear you down, Alysia.

There are six heats in total with three to qualify automatically from each plus fastest losers. We’ll keep an eye on them for you.

It probably won’t be long before our IOC chums stamp all over this clip so get it while you can. Cuba’s Lazaro Borges had a bit of an incident during this morning’s pole vault qualifying session. Oof.

Cian O’Connor is up now on Blue Loyd in the showjumping final.

Oh wow, Cian O’Connor. The Meath man shows no nerves as he puts in a clear round on Blue Loyd and his dream of an Olympic medal is very much alive. This afternoon just got very, very interesting.

Sometimes when your luck is, your luck is really in. This morning, O’Connor was counting on a miracle just to get into the showjumping final. Now he’s guaranteed his place in the top 20 which will see him through to this afternoon’s second round. How about that?

Now might be a good time for a recap on how the showjumping final actually works. Based on the previous three rounds of scores, the top 35 horses qualified for this afternoon’s Round A — the jump that Cian O’Connor has just completed. The scores from earlier in the week are reset to zero before today’s jumps and now the top 20 scores (plus ties) will go through to Round B later on. The medal placings are based on the combined scores from today’s two jumps which means that if O’Connor has another clear round later today, he will at minimum be in a jump-off for a gold medal.

Katie certainly won’t be short of support from her Team Ireland pals this afternoon. 90 minutes and counting…

As Ciarán points out in the comments below, the second round of showjumping starts at 2.55pm this afternoon. Should be something to keep us occupied in between Katie and Paddy’s fights.

A quick check in with the showjumping. After 15 riders, only two — O’Connor and France’s Olivier Guillon — have zero penalty points. Still more than half the field to come though.

Here’s a doozy for you to watch over lunch. (Although I presume nearly everybody is postponing lunch until 2pm, right?) RTÉ have dug into the archives and unearthed this gem — a 2002 interview with 15-year-old Katie Taylor.

They’re already beginning to gather on the streets of Bray. Just under an hour to go now.

A quick check on the showjumping again. 25 riders have now gone and there are four, including O’Connor, with clear rounds. Twelve more still to come.

Who’s up for some cheap political bandwagoning? Fianna Fáil’s Timmy Dooley, that’s who. Here’s a statement which has just landed in the last few minutes:

Dooley tells British media: Hands-off our Katie!

“Irish fans will be surprised to see Katie Taylor being adopted into Team GB in the Daily Telegraph today,” said Fianna Fáil’s Spokesperson on Sport Timmy Dooley.

“Irish fans have shown great support for Team Ireland at the Olympics so far including recording the highest decibel level set during the games at Katie Taylor’s lightweight quarter-final contest on Monday.

“The travelling fans and Irish people living in the UK have clearly shown the pride Ireland has in Katie Taylor and I’m sure they will again this afternoon. I’m sure this was just a one-off oversight on the part of the Telegraph as no-one can be in any doubt of Katie’s roots, you only have to look at the crowds and home support she has in Bray to see just how proud the country is of her achievements.

“I also want to congratulate Michael Conlon for his win in London last night, securing at least a bronze medal. All our athletes have put enormous effort into the Games this year and I know the country will be fixed on Katie Taylor’s semi-final clash this afternoon and Paddy Barnes’s bout this evening. I wish them all the best.”

Some more pics of Ireland’s ExCeL invasion are beginning to drop in from our friends in Inpho. Now I’m starting to get nervous.

See the pictures here >

You’ll forgive us if we’ve been, em, a little bit obsessed with the Irish angle on the Olympic news this morning. Here are some of the less important other headlines:

  • In the women’s 800m, Sarah Attar has become the first female athlete to represent Saudi Arabia in track and field.
  • 10,000m champion Mo Farah has qualified for the final of the 5,000m, which takes place on Saturday night.
  • The men’s handball quarter-final between Hungary and Iceland was a cracker, ending 34-33 after two periods of extra time. Watch the highlights of this one later if you get a chance.
  • America’s Ashton Eaton leads the men’s decathlon after two events, the 100m and the long jump. Fellow countryman Trey Hardee is second with Damian Warner in third.

Here’s how we’re looking inside the ExCeL. If you’re there and you’re reading this, make it loud.

This may be our favourite sign of the lot. Twenty minutes to go. If you’re going to get a sandwich or make a cup of tea, do it now. No need to be taking risks at a moment like this.

O’Connor tied for the lead after Round A: Ok, so all 37 riders have finished their opening round and Cian O’Connor is one of six tied for the lead on zero penalty points. If he can go clear on jumps and on time again, he’ll have every chance of a medal. If not, there are plenty to take advantage including four riders just behind the leading group who have just one penalty point.

Take a bow, Jim Sheridan (@Jim_Sheridan). After this morning’s gaffe by the Daily Telegraph, this is a work of art.

Delaney Watch: No tie, but also no indication if the FAI head honcho is wearing shoes.

This is your 10-minute warning. This is not a drill. Repeat: this is not a drill.

Alright, we’re minutes away from showtime. If you only take one message from this blog with you through the next 15 minutes, make it this one.

David Cameron and Amir Khan are in the audience. Earlier today, Khan said that Katie would beat all of the men in the lightweight division as well. Let’s hope he knows what he’s talking about.

Katie’s a “shoe-in”, according to Bernard Dunne. Bookmakers are a ridiculous 1/20 on a Taylor win and a miserly 3/10 on her to win every round. It’s getting silly but thankfully, it’ll all be over soon.

To the tune of Rihanna’s “Only Girl in the World”, Katie Taylor makes her way to the ring. For the next few minutes, that is exactly what she is. Come on Katie!

WE’RE OFF: Katie fighting out of the red corner again.

Round 1: London’s ExCeL Arena is absolutely hopping. Katie takes control right from the off to a soundtrack of “Olé Olé” and “Katie, Katie”. Not the highest scoring round but Taylor leads 3-1 at the first bell. Chorieva is no mug though and this is far from over.

Round 2: Despite Jimmy Magee’s best efforts to curse her with comments like “She’s on SatNav” and “She’s always on form”, Katie keeps picking off the scoring shots. It’s cagey, cagey stuff at the half-way mark but Taylor leads 7-3 at the end of that second round.

Round 3: It’s getting a little bit wild in there. Katie looks to stretch her advantage with some combos — “1, 2, 3, out” as her dad Peter and Jimmy Magee keep reminding us — and a cracking right cross. Chorieva bites back with her best shots of the fight so far but it’s all Katie again. Taylor leads 13-6.

The final bell goes. Without tempting fate, I think that might be enough. Scores coming now…


Never in doubt, as it’s easy to say in hindsight. Katie wins that final round 4-3 and she will fight for the dream — her dream and our dream — in the Olympic final tomorrow afternoon.

“There’s one more stop on the DART line,” says Jimmy as she leaves the ring to a stunning ovation. That there is, and if you thought you were nervous today, wait until tomorrow when the gold is on the line.

A quick word on Chorieva, who at times seemed more interested in showboating than actually fighting. I’m not really in a position to give advice to Olympic boxers but, eh, when you’re fighting Katie Taylor, don’t do that.

“She’s a cheeky little… boxer,” notes Michael Lyster on RTÉ. There was a bit of a pause before he finished that sentence though.

Forgive me for veering away from Katie Taylor-related news for a moment, but I think you’ll agree that this Usain Bolt front cover on Sports Illustrated China is rather impressive (h/t @richarddeitsch)

If you haven’t heard already, Katie Taylor will meet Sofya Ochigava of Russia at 4.45pm for the Gold Medal tomorrow in the Excel Arena.

Cancel all your plans, quit your job if you have to, just make sure you’re near a TV at that time.

Here’s the scene in Killarney Road, Bray, as Katie Taylor won her fight. Special thanks to Aaron McAllorum for sending it to us.

Even the Tipp hurlers will take time out of their busy schedule tomorrow, on account of the Katie Taylor fight.

Could be a bit of an upset in the Men’s basketball. Russia are beating Lithuania 54-50. Should they lose, it’ll be the first time the Lithuanians have failed to qualify for an Olympic semi-final since 1992 in Barcelona.

Whatever you think about Nigel Owens, he has just tweeted his support for Katie Taylor.

Gerco Schroder of Holland leads in the showjumping. Cian O’Connor is up now.

Incredible stuff! Cian O’Connor comes agonisingly to putting himself in the lead, with a time of 80.02 (i.e. he is two hundreths of a second off a clear round).

O’Connor is now joint leader, with only a few riders left up.

Steve Guerdat of Switzerland has put himself in the lead, so it looks like a silver at best for O’Connor.

One more rider left and Cian O’Connor, it seems, is guaranteed a jump off for bronze at the very least.


The highly touted British jumper Nick Skelton knocked a fence during his round, which means Cian O’Connor will compete in a jump off with Gerco Schroder of Holland for silver, and even if he loses, he gets bronze.

“Ironic,” is how RTE’s Michael Lyster describes O’Connor’s success.

That’s certainly one way of putting it – though not the word everyone would use, I suspect.

Here we go… We’re about to find out if O’Connor takes silver or bronze.

49.79 is the time that Gerco Schroder has set…

Unlucky for Cian O’Connor, as he hits the last fence. If he’d avoided doing so, he looked set to claim silver, but he’ll surely be more than content with a bronze.

Phew! What a day it’s been for Irish sport already. And we still have Paddy Barnes to come later.

We’re now joint 66th in the medal by the way, alongside the likes of Tajikistan and Puerto Rico – and that only takes into account medals that have been confirmed (ie O’Connor, but not Taylor, Nevin or Conlan).

A smiling Cian O’Connor is now on his way to collect a bronze medal on the podium.

O’Connor, alongside Gerco Schroder of Holland (left) and the Gold Medal winner, Steve Guerdat of Switzerland (centre).

In non-Cian O’Connor news, here’s a pic from earlier of Michael Conlan meeting Lennox Lewis.

Russia have caused quite an upset in Men’s Basketball, beating Lithuania 83-74.

Spain are currently in action against France, and they’re losing 35-29 in the second quarter.

Meanwhile, the USA face Australia at 10.15 tonight.

Speaking to, Katie Taylor had this to say:

“The support here has been unbelievable; it feels like I’m boxing at home in Dublin really. 10,000 Irish people, it’s incredible, this is what dreams are made of. And hopefully I can make everyone proud tomorrow.”

Click here for the full interview.

The Women’s Hockey Semi-Final is set for a dramatic finish. It’s 2-2 between the Netherlands and New Zealand, and it’s going into extra-time.

France and Hungary have reached the semi-finals in handball. Both their games were incredibly closely fought – France beat Spain 23-22 thanks to a last-minute goal, while the Hungarians triumphed 34-33 after extra-time against Iceland.

I should add that France will play either Croatia or Tunisia, and Hungary meet the winners of the Denmark-Sweden clash.

It’s look China are set to secure a clean sweep of the table tennis medals. Zhang Jike and Wang Hao currently lead South Korea’s Oh Sangeun and Ryu Seungmin by two sets to nil.

UPDATE: China have confirmed their total dominance in table tennis, beating South Korea in the Final.

Even further drama in the Women’s Hockey Semi-Final – it’s gone to a penalty shootout between the Netherlands and New Zeland. The score is currently 2-1 to the Dutch.

It’s all over and the Netherlands are through to the final, after beating New Zealand 3-1 in a penalty shootout.

Here’s South African 20-year-old swimmer and conqueror of Michael Phelps (in the 200m butterfly at least), Chad le Clos, meeting some of the Chelsea youngsters earlier (via @chelseafc).

Defending champions USA are out of the volleyball. They’ve been comprehensively beaten 3-0 by Italy.

Here’s how the medal table currently looks, with China holding a substantial lead at the top.

Spain were made to work for it, having trailed for a considerable portion of the match, but they’ve ultimately beaten France in the Men’s Basketball quarter-finals by a score of 66-59.

“Whoever was left in charge of the ringwalk music was obviously in tune with the national mood. Dressed in red, Taylor walked the walk of a champion as Rihanna’s “Only Girl in the World” blared over the arena PA. For those 15 minutes, for all of Ireland, the 26-year-old was just that. Nothing else mattered.”

You can read more of Niall Kelly’s piece on Katie Taylor’s triumph this afternoon here.

The Men’s 100m Hurdles Semi-Finals are just about to get underway.

USA’s Jason Richardson wins the 110m Hurdles with a time of 13.13

Britain’s Jason Richardson comes third with a time of 13.31 and faces an anxious wait to see if he’s qualified for the final.

The second semi-final in the 110m Hurdles is now about to begin.

Aries Merritt of the US wins the 110m Hurdles with an impressive time of 12.94

We’re almost ready now for the third 110m Hurdles Semi-Final, featuring Dayron Robles of Cuba, who is the current world record holder.

Robles has won unsurprisingly, but he’ll surely have to improve on his time of 13.12 to triumph in the final later on.

The Women’s 1500m semi-finals are up next…

Ekaterina Kostetskaya of Russia leads with one lap remaining.

The reigning European Champion Asli Çakir claims victory in the first 1500m semi with a time of 4:05.11.

Russia’s Ekaterina Kostetskaya is second, and Morgan Uceny of the US is third.

Laura Weightman of Great Britain gets a big cheer as she prepares for the second 1500m semi-final.

Abeba Arigawe of Ethipia has won the second 1500m semi-final with a time of 4.01.03.

It’s time for the first 200m Semi-Finals, featuring Yohan Blake among others. The Jamaican just gave a self-consciously scary pose to the camera.

Blake wins comfortably in 20.01, although he slowed down considerably at the finish, and Christophe Lemaitre was looking very unconvincing at first, but ultimately recovered to finish third with 20.03.

In addition, Wallace Spearmon of the US was second, with a time of 20.02.

Leonel Suarez of Cuba is currently leading in the decathlon high jump, having cleared 2.11m.

We’re just about ready for semi-final 2 of the 200m, which features the man of the moment – Usain Bolt.

No surprise as Usain Bolt makes it look easy with a time of 20.18 to win the second semi.

I should that Anaso Jobodwana of South Africa finished second in that race, with a time of 20.27. He consequently also qualifies for the final.

Here’s that unusual Yohan Blake pose I mentioned earlier (Matt Slocum/AP/Press Association Images).

In the third 1500m semi-final, Churandy Martina of the Netherlands wins with 20.17 and Warren Weir of Jamaica comes second.

Clearly, Jamaica in sprinting is the equivalent to Ireland in boxing.

As Day 12 of the London Olympics draws to a close, click here for a look at some of the defining images of the day.

Paddy Barnes is up very shortly.

Should he win, this will surely go down as one of the greatest days in Ireland’s sporting history, and undoubtedly, one of if its greatest weeks.

Team GB are currently 2-0 down against Argentina in women’s hockey

The RTE panel are discussing Barnes’ opponent, Devendro Singh Laishram of India, pointing out that he has beaten the world number 2, among other notable achievements.

Paddy Barnes emerges to the sounds of The Killers.

As Jimmy Magee points out, Barnes will become the first Irish boxer ever to win two medals, should he attain victory tonight.


Barnes has won this round 10-5, which means he leads 17-10 overall. Unless, something hugely dramatic happens, Barnes will have secured Ireland another medal.


Barnes actually lost the last round 8-6, but triumphs 23-18 overall.

He thus becomes the first-ever Irish boxer to win two medals, having secured bronze at the 2008 Olympics.

He now has the chance to improve upon that achievement, and he’ll emulate it at the very least.

A remarkably calm Paddy Barnes describes the Olympics as “just another tournament” and says he was “confident” throughout the fight.

Paddy Barnes now goes on to the semi-final to fight Shiming Zou of China on Friday at 1.30pm.

Cian O’Connor has been speaking to RTE.

He tells them that he may not be the “best rider in the world,” but he claims he is the “best organised”.

He adds:

“My sister Pippa texted me this morning and said she had a dream I’d won a medal, so the dream came true.”

He also says that the achievement partially makes up for what happened in Athens eight years ago.

While we were focusing on the boxing, Aries Merritt won gold for the US in the men’s 110m hurdles.

Jason Richardson took silver and Hansle Parchment was third.

Meanwhile, Allyson Felix took gold in the women’s 200m with a time of 21.88.

Her fellow American, Carmelita Jeter, took bronze and Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce of Jamaica came second.

Brittney Reese has won another gold medal for the US in the women’s long jump. Her jump of 7.12 won it, with Elena Sokolova of Russia (7.07) taking silver and another American, Janay Deloach, taking bronze (6.89).

Meanwhile, Team GB have been beaten by Argentina in women’s hockey, and Argentina are also on the verge of winning against Brazil in the men’s basketball.

Alright, that’s it from us on what has been a historic day for Irish sport.

Thanks, as always, for reading and commenting.

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TheScore Team