Ireland’s highest finish yet at the 2019 European Games in Minsk has come in shooting.
A day after finishing well down the field in their respective shotgun trap competitions, Aoife Gormally and Derek Burnett paired together well in the Mixed Trap Team, almost making the top four shoot-offs, coming home in sixth position.
Their total tally of 133 points was only two off the mark of Silvania Stanco and Valerio Grazini, that earned the Italian pair a spot in the bronze-medal play-off.
In fact, the Irish duo were level with Stanco and Grazini heading into the final round of shots, with Gormally and Burnett yielding consistent results of 45, 45 and 44 across their three rounds.
Antonio Bailon and Fatima Galvez of Spain took gold, ahead of another Italian pairing of Giovanni Pellielo and Jessica Rossi.
Stanco and Grazini lost their bronze-medal outing to Russia’s Alexey Alipov and Daria Semenova.
Gormally said: “It’s a great achievement, I feel very positive after this.
"We had a bad individual event, but I finished strong yesterday evening. I was hopeful today. We did very well - I’m proud of us.
“I felt I was hitting targets well, so I built my confidence from there.
"It’s all about focusing and not letting the small things get to you.”
Burnett was in philosophical mood after Ireland's close shot at the medals: “It was a case of so close and yet so far, so a little bit of a disappointment but I’m seeing the positive in it, as finishing sixth was great.
"The individuals competition didn’t go so good for either of us, so the expectations weren’t too high.
"But you’re always thinking in shooting that you are in with a chance - you go out feeling positive and hopefully get the result that you’re hoping for.”
Chloe and Sam Magee came from behind to score an impressive win in their first match in the round-robin mixed doubles badminton.
They overturned Evgenii Dremin and Evgenia Dimova of Russia in their Group D opener 16-21 21-19 21-15.
But Joshua Magee and Paul Reynolds lost 21-11 21-13 to British number two seeds Christopher Langridge and Marcus Ellis.
Rachel Darragh lost the first match of her women’s singles debut against Hungary’s world number 153 Agnes Korosi 21-16 22-20 as the action continued into the night in Minsk.
It means Darragh must win at least one of her remaining matches in order to get out of Group E.
The 21-year-old from Tyrone takes on Germany’s twice European junior bronze-medallist Yvonne Li in her second outing tomorrow, before rounding off her group campaign against Finland’s Airi Mikkelä on Wednesday.
U17 European Championship winner Nhat Nguyen was the first Irish player in action this morning, enjoying a men’s singles win over Bulgarian Daniel Nikolov on a 21-11 21-13 scoreline at the Falcon Club.
He said: “I’m really happy that we stuck to the plan, me and my coach – I’m really pleased with my performance.”
Nguyen next faces defending European Games champion Pablo Abian of Spain tomorrow (Tuesday), with a final round group match against Luka Wraber of Austria on Wednesday.
After finishing fifth out of six in their first-round match yesterday, Ireland have been paired with Bulgaria, Cyprus, Denmark, Hungary and Portugal in their quarter-final in the new DNA team athletics competition tomorrow at the Dinamo Stadium.
Only the top two from this second-chance outing will progress through to Wednesday's semi-finals, where the Czech Republic and Belarus are waiting, having taken the top two slots in Ireland's fixture yesterday.
The points from the first eight events will be converted into time advantages for the final event, the 2000m ixed medley relay called "The Hunt", where Ireland must finish in the top two places to progress.