This evening's European Games in Minsk saw Michael Nevin and James McGivern sail through to the quarter finals in boxing, while the athletics team opened their bid in the Dynamic New Athletics (DNA) event.
Stephen Gaffney got Ireland’s campaign underway with an impressive performance in the Men’s 100m, crossing the line in 10.67 for second place, while Sophie Meredith concluded the long jump in 6th place with her best a jump 5.74.
Niamh Whelan ran a season’s best in the women’s 100m, finishing in 11.79 for fourth place while Grace Casey was also fourth in the javelin, her best throw 40.11.
Brendan Arrey, Sinead Denny, Catherine McManus and Andrew Mellon combined for the mixed 4x400m Relay where Ireland claimed another fourth place in 3:24.37 while Gerard O’Donnell clocked 14.15 and fourth once again.
Nelvin Appiah collected 7 points for Ireland in the Men’s High Jump. He finished in joint third with Czech Republic’s Martin Heindl. Sarah Lavin pushed Ireland in to third place ahead of the final event with a second-place finish in the women’s 110m Hurdles. Lavin was just outside her best of 13.26 clocking 13.46.
The match concluded with a new finale race ‘The Hunt’, a Mixed Medley Relay of 800m, 600m, 400m and 200m with the winner progressing straight to the DNA Semi-Final. Ireland’s quartet of Conall Kirk, Amy O’Donoghue, Paul White and Victoria Harris finished in fifth place in 4:46.43 with Czech Republic earning the semi-final spot.
James McGivern and Michael Nevin were on song for the Irish boxing at the second European Games in Minsk team this evening, with both boxers pulling off two superb performances to march into the next round of their respective competitions.
James McGivern cruised his way into the next stage of the men’s light welter, scoring a unanimous decision in his opening bout against Michal Takacs (SVK). The Ulster fighter put in a slick performance in the ring, getting off to a strong start early on with some hard body hits and stylish footwork.
McGivern kept the momentum in the second round, timing his hits well and not giving Takacs time to recover before the next blow landed and with the damage done early, a tired Takacs had to settle for second best, as McGivern secured the unanimous decision.
“It’s great to get the first one out of the way,” McGivern said afterwards.
“I caught him early with a body shot, I knew that was going to work, the coaches told me it was going to work and it did. I think I had better punching today, I hurt him in the second round. Now, I’m just going to keep on going, take it fight by fight, round by round, and hopefully get to the final.”
Michael Nevin was also in flying form in his second fight at the European Games, beating Rio 2016 bronze medallist Kamran Shakhsuvarly of Azerbaijan by a unanimous decision. A solid start from Nevin saw him land some key early blows and, despite some rallying from Shakhsuvarly, Nevin mounted the pressure even further towards the closing stages of the round. A strong second round from the Portlaoise-based boxer saw him begin to really test Shaksuvarly, gaining control in the early stages and delivering some key hits and his momentum carried through into the final round to see him home to a second victory over an extremely tough opponent.
Speaking afterwards, a delighted Nevin said: “I’m feeling really good, I can’t wait for the next fight now. I’m very happy with the performance and I’m feeling strong. We had a good plan beforehand, and it went well. I’ve a few days’ break now, so I’ll be feeling good and fresh after that.”
The European Games run from June 21-30, with 63 athletes competing across nine sports.