David Murphy created European sporting history in the Netherlands yesterday when he became the only player to ever win three successive road gold medals.
He wowed the sun-drenched thousands at Ottershagenweg near Oostmarsum with another sensational performance. With the last throw of the day he displaced his brother Aidan into silver.
It was a huge day for Ireland with two gold medals, three silver medals and a bronze. Maria Nagle won the European under-18 title. Claire O’Sullivan won the senior women’s silver. David Devlin won silver and Tom O’Donovan bronze in the boys under-18.
David Murphy battled with Ralf Look (Germany) for the first half of his score but Murphy raised his game with a sensational bowl to the end of the wood, which took him to 755m and put him in control.
After six he had recorded 1,082m. He narrowly missed sight past the bridge in seven, but he followed with a perfect bowl to the last straight and he was now at 1,365m with two throws to go. He closed with two big shots, the last stretching out to 1682.65m, beating Aidan’s mark by 47m.
Aidan Murphy had been in just the third group and his 1,635.4m withstood all challenges till then. He missed Vollenhoeweg lane in three. He rallied strongly and a huge sixth took him to 1,005m. He had sight at the last bend in eight. He was marginally tight with his next, but he closed with an absolute gem that put him in gold position.
Maria Nagle was outstanding in winning gold in the under-18 girl’s section. She recorded 1,336.4m and won by 106.9m. She was so far clear of second placed Lisa Jonkers (Netherlands) that she had achieved gold before playing her last shot. Jonkers started strongly and was a full shot clear after three but Nagle’s brilliant seventh shot brought her to 900m and put her in charge. She was facing the bridge after eight. Her ninth over the bridge would have secured her gold. She eased her 10th shot into the wind. She would have been fourth in the senior women’s class and is a bright prospect for the senior team in 2020.
Silke Tulk won the women’s senior gold medal for the Netherlands. She was pressed to the finish by a top class performance from Claire O’Sullivan who was only 14m back in second, with Lindsay Leussink less than four metres behind O’Sullivan. Tulk looked to be cruising after eight, but she lost ground in the last two.
O’Sullivan was at Vollenhoeweg lane in four. She might have been in gold but for a poor sixth, which she played too tight left. She steadied things with good seventh and eight throws to reach 950m. She showed huge courage and maturity to then produce two incredible bowls that covered 403m to bring her to 1352.7m Fabian Schiffmann won the Boys under-18 title for Germany FKV with a strong showing of 1,484.5m.
David Devlin showed remarkable resolve to secure silver as he took five to reach Vollenhoeweg lane. He was still well off the medals after six, but he then closed with four sensational bowls. Tom O’Donovan had a mountain to climb too after a slow start in a group that included Schiffmann.
In the team ranking Ireland finished first in the senior men. They won silver team medals for both the boys and girls under-18 teams, while the senior women won bronze.
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