COMMONWEALTH GAMES: Mixed bag for Northern Ireland athletes
Northern Ireland boxing trio Kurt Walker, Aidan Walsh and Michaela Walsh are guaranteed bronze medals at least after emerging victorious from their quarter-final Gold Coast bouts.
Lisburn boxer Walker saw off Australian favourite Jack Bowen in the last 16 to secure a place against Moroke Mokhotho of Lesotho, winning on a 4-1 split in the bantamweight division.
Walker will now face Canadian boxer Eric Basran in the semi-finals.
Michaela Walsh won her women’s featherweight bout via stoppage in the third round against Keamogetse Kenosi of Botswana, while Aidan Walsh claimed a unanimous victory over New Zealander Leroy Hindley.
Super-heavyweight Stephen McMonagle was beaten by New Zealander Patrick Mailata. The Carryduff man lost out on a unanimous decision in his quarter-final.
Belfast’s Damien Sullivan also went out as he lost a split decision 4-1 against Australian Jason Whateley in his men’s heavyweight quarter-final.
Along with the Walsh siblings and Walker, Kristina O’Hara is also assured of a bronze medal at least. Four more quarter-final hopefuls are in action today.
In athletics, Portaferry’s Ciara Mageean’s brave bid for a medal in the 1500 metres final came up short in a home straight scramble as the Northern Ireland international came home in 13th place.
Less than four seconds separated the 26-year-old from the podium as South Africa’s Caster Semenya cruised to gold in a Games record of 4:00.71 ahead of Kenya’s Beatrice Chepkoech and Wales’ Melissa Courtney.
But after sitting fifth at the bell, Mageean – with a time of 4:07.41 - was satisfied with her efforts.
“I went for it,” she said. “I’ve had a few races where I’ve trailed at the back and walked away extremely disappointed in my performance. My aim is to go out every time I wear a Northern Irish vest and give it my all on the track. I laid it all out there.”
Now Mageean will regroup for the semi-finals of the 800 metres tomorrow.
Jack Agnew finished tenth in the T54 1500m final in 3:19.03 with gold won by Canada’s Alexandre Dupont. But the para world junior champion, 18, believes his Gold Coast trip will be a huge stepping stone.
Leon Reid eased into today’s men’s 200 metres semi-finals with a highly-comfortable second place in his heat in 20.73 seconds.
“I knew I could get second and so it was just a case of saving the legs for the semis,” the former European junior medallist said.
“My training’s been going well so I just have to wait for the big one for come out. And obviously I’m looking for the final now. And then it’s whoever gets the best legs in the finals wins.”
Amy Foster bounced back from her efforts in the 100m to make the women’s 200m semis with fourth place in her heat in 23.94 secs.
There was disappointment, however, for Castledawson’s Adam McMullen in the long jump qualifying with the 27-year-old only able to deliver a best of 7.66m to end up 14th with the longest effort at the last judged as a foul.
In netball, Northern Ireland defeated Barbados 49-39 for their first win in the group stages after three defeats and will now face Fiji today.
On the final day of pool action, the men’s 4x100m medley relay team of Conor Ferguson, Jamie Graham, Jordan Sloan and David Thompson claimed second in their heat in 3:42.99 and later finished sixth in the final.
In the 200m individual medley, James Brown was sixth in his heat and finished 16th overall.
Cyclist Marcus Christie finished seventh and Xeno Young was 25th in the Men’s Individual Time Trial.
Ballymoney’s Gary Kelly is into the men’s bowls singles quarters after defeating John Gabroute from Botswana 21-13 and Kenneth McGreal of the Isle of Man 21-7. He will now face Canadian Ryan Bester in the last group game.
The women’s triples of Erin Smith, Donna McCloy and Sarah McAuley made it into the last eight after beating Niue 28-7.
In the Women’s Pairs, Catherine Beattie and Sandra Baillie lost their opening game to South Africa 18-12. However, they then beat India 15-14.
In shooting, David Calvert - bidding for a fifth Commonwealth medal - is seventh after 1000 yards in the Full Bore Rifle Pairs.
Ashley Robinson and Paul McCreery sealed two wins apiece in their opening group games in the men’s table tennis singles.
Owen Cathcart took two wins in his singles encounters to go through to the last 32 stage.
In badminton, Rachael Darragh is into the last 32 of the women’s singles after a victory over Stella Ngadjui of Cameroon. Darragh and Sinead Chambers beat Jersey 2-0 in the women’s doubles round of 32.