Upbeat O’Connor remains confident of final berth

Seamus O'Connor: The Irish snowboarder finished 13th in the second heat.

Ireland’s Seamus O’Connor remains confident a place in the final of the slopestyle snowboarding event can be secured tomorrow morning.

The 16-year old Californian, with paternal grandparents from Dublin and Drogheda, will bid to secure one of the four remaining final berths in tomorrow’s penultimate round.

Eight of 29 riders advanced from yesterday morning’s qualification with the Irish snowboarder trailing in 13th in the second heat.

O’Connor failed to pull off his attempted triple cork in both runs, scoring 40.00 for his second effort. The lowest score to make it through from his heat was 91.25. Chef de Mission Stephen Martin said O’Connor was nonetheless optimistic of nailing a final spot.

“Seamus was very upbeat after his two runs. He is still very hopeful that he can make the final. He knows it will be a tough ask, but he has always said he wasn’t coming out here to enjoy the scenery. He will be going all out,” insisted Martin.

“There probably was an element of nerves in his first run. His timing wasn’t perfect so he had to put his hand down in the snow to slow himself down. In the second run then he came so close to nailing that triple cork. We thought he had it, but just at the end he fell.

“What came from this morning is that everyone recognises this young man is an exceptionally talented snowboarder. When he was finished his second run he was instantly mobbed by around 100 people, it was crazy.

“He had some physio on his hip afterwards and he is feeling no ill-effects of the falls. He has watched back the video of his two runs with his coach Sam Wilkinson and they were identifying areas where he can improve for Saturday.”

Ireland’s skeletoner Sean Greenwood had two unofficial practice runs at the Sanki Sliding Centre on Wednesday and said the track was much improved from when he visited in November. The Vancouver born athlete steps into action this day week. “The ice is world-class. The bottom half of the track is where sliders will gain or lose places”

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