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Barr forced to take flight but Ireland's relay team just miss out on final spot

Young team upbeat about their performance in Berlin despite the disappointment of a fifth place finish.

Thomas Barr is forced to jump a fellow athlete as he takes the baton from Leon Reid Barr jumps over a fellow athlete as he takes the baton from Leon Reid. Source: Morgan Treacy/INPHO

LESS THAN TWENTY-FOUR hours after grabbing a brilliant bronze at the European Athletics Championships, Thomas Barr was back on the track at Berlin’s Olympiastadion — and was forced to show off his hurdling skills in the 4×100 metres relay.

Running in the anchor leg, Barr’s changeover with 200 metre finalist Leon Reid was smooth but he was unexpectedly forced to take flight after a collision in the lane next to him left one of the athletes on the ground.

Although the Waterford native had to take a slight detour, he showed all his power and experience around the final lap despite his exploits of last night, as Ireland’s young team finished fifth in their heat.

A time of 3:06.55 wasn’t enough for the team of Chris O’Donnell (North Sligo), Brandon Arrey (Raheny Shamrock), Reid (Menapians) and Barr (Ferrybank) to secure a place in the final — but the performance left plenty of grounds for optimism.

“We’re a green team to pardon the pun and I think we did well out there as a young team. I’m 26 and the oldest member on the team so there’s plenty more to come,” Barr said afterwards.

O’Donnell added: “11th in Europe for a really young team, I think it’s not a bad result and we’ve plenty of championships left and credit to Leon and Tom, who are bound to be tired from last night, but came out and gave it their all. I thought it was a solid performance.”

Meanwhile, the women’s team of Sinead Denny (DSD), Sophie Becker (St Joseph’s), Davicia Patterson (Beechmount Harriers) and Claire Mooney (UCD) finished eighth in their heat in 3:35.96.

There were two championship debuts for Sophie Becker and Davicia Patterson, who both got valuable experience on the European stage.

“I’ve never run on an international relay team before at any level so that was a good experience,” said Patterson, who set a new national U20 400m record this season and competed in the World U20 championships earlier this summer.

Elsewhere, Kerry O’Flaherty (Newcastle) finished 17th in heat one of the women’s 3,000m steeplechase in 10:09.71, while Michelle Finn (Leevale) was 16th in heat two in 10:10.93.

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Ryan Bailey

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