Turner finishes seventh while footballers fall to 5-1 defeat at hands of GB


Ireland’s Nicole Turner was back in the pool this evening on Day 6 of the 2016 Paralympic Games and secured a seventh place finish in the SM6 200m Individual Medley final. 

The talented Laois swimmer originally finished in 8th place in a time of 3.18.18, but was later moved up to 7th position following the disqualification of Yelyzaveta Mereskho. Competing in her third final since the start of the Games, the 14-year-old swam was up against tough competition in the form of Great Britain’s Ellie Simmonds who set a new World Record in the event and took gold in a time of 2.59.81.

Turner had progressed from the morning heats in 8th place in a time of 3:17.09 seconds and took a more tactical approach to tonight’s final. She turned fifth after the Butterfly leg but her competitors were in fantastic form tonight and she remained in a chasing position for the last 100 metres.

“There were a few bits that I changed from this morning after watching the video analysis, I feel like I did my best, I’m really happy with it so there’s no disappointment,” she said afterwards.

Turner returns to the pool tomorrow for the S6 400m Freestyle and will be joined by Ailbhe Kelly who swims in the S8 100m Backstroke.

Meanwhile, there was disappointment for Barry Ferguson and his charges this evening as the Irish 7-a-side CP Football team fell to 5-1 defeat at the hands of Great Britain in their final group game at the Paralympic Games.

It was a tough first half for Ireland, who were on the back foot almost immediately when Great Britain got off to an explosive start with Jack Rutter hitting the net with just seconds on the clock. Things went from bad to worse less than seven minutes later as, despite a good save of a GB penalty by Irish ‘keeper Brian McGillivary, the rebound was buried to the back of the net by Michael Barker to put them 2-0 ahead. Momentum stayed with GB, and an own goal from Ireland’s Luke Evans brought the score to 3-0 with James Blackwell adding to the tally seconds later to make it 4-0 at the break.

The best chances for the boys in green came from an impressively on-form Tomiwa Badun who was unlucky not to hit the target on a number of occasions. Indeed, a strong second half display all round paid off when Conor Tuite rattled the net for Ireland with a superb strike, but celebrations did not last long, as GB’s Sean Highdale was on hand to respond immediately to leave the final result at 5-1.

Speaking after the match a disappointed Team Manager Barry Ferguson was disheartened having conceded three matches in what was widely considered the ‘group of death’; “It’s another disappointing result, they’re another quality side but again we showed more of our attacking play than we have been in other games, I’m a little bit pleased about that, but then again we gave away really sloppy goals and it will be something that we will be hoping to improve on next Wednesday [against USA].”

Striker Dillon Sheridan backed up Ferguson’s disappointment with the result; “We are trying our best to compete with them, but at the end of the day we weren’t good enough. Now, we want to finish the tournament on the high so we need a big big performance from everyone on Wednesday and hopefully we will get the result.”

Ireland now go on to play the USA on Wednesday.

Also in action this evening was Wicklow rider Helen Kearney, who competed in the opening round of the Grade 1a dressage competition under the searing heat of the Brazilian sun. Speaking after her performance in the Team Test today, the Dunlavin woman felt that she (and horse Rock and Roll 2) had performed better than their opening score of 68% in Rio indicated, which ultimately left her 20th in the 25-rider field.

“I was happy with how the test went.  A few little things could have been better but every dressage rider feels like that,” she said. “I felt it was a good solid performance so I’m a little bit disappointed with the mark and where I’m lying at the moment, I thought it would score better than that. But sport is sport, one day you’re up and the next you’re not.”

Kearney competes next in the Individual Championship on Thursday, which is a stand-alone competition in which she won silver in London 2012. Today’s score, combined with her result on Thursday, will decide if she also makes the top third of the field who will then contest the separate Freestyle Competition.

Elsewhere, Ireland’s three-person keelboat of Ian Costelloe, Austin Carroll and skipper John Twomey, competing in the Sonar class endured a tough afternoon at the Marinha de Gloria in Escola Naval, capricious winds making it very difficult.

The Irish boat made a good start in Race 1, sixth round the first two marks and then improved to fifth at third mark but slipped back five places on the charge for home. In Race 2, the Irish boat struggled from the outset, reaching the first mark in 12th position before slipping to 14th.

The trio are in action again in Race 3 and 4 on Tuesday afternoon local time. There are 10 races in the series before the medal race.

Day six for Team Ireland sees more action from the pool with Nicole Turner and Ailbhe Kelly, the Sonar sailing crew hit the water for Races 3 and 4, while Phillip Eaglesham will also make his Paralympic debut.

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