Paralympics Day 11: Patrick O'Leary narrowly misses out on canoeing medal

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Paralympics Day 11: Patrick O'leary Narrowly Misses Out On Canoeing Medal
Patrick O’Leary came fifth in the canoe sprint. Photo: Tommy Dickson/Inpho
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In a busy morning on the penultimate day of competition for Team Ireland at the Paralympic Games there was action at the shooting range, the Olympic Stadium and on the water.

Canoeing

Ireland’s Patrick O’Leary finished fifth after a blanket finish in the final of the new VL3 Va’a canoe event.

Australia’s Chris McGrath took gold comfortably in 50:537. But less than one second separated the next four men across the line and Britain’s Stuart Wood took bronze with 52.760, less than two 10ths of a second faster than O’Leary’s 52.910.

The 48-year-old NUIG chemistry lecturer, who is reigning European champion in the new discipline, qualified for his second Paralympic canoeing final by nicking third in his semi-final in a time of 51:939.

Patrick O’Leary during the canoe sprint. Photo: Tommy Dickson/Inpho

“It feels fabulous to have finished fifth,” he said after the race. “The important thing for me is to get out of me what I have in me and I really don’t think I had another 10th of a second in me.”

Athletics

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Mary Fitzgerald finished in sixth place in the F40 shot put competition in the pouring rain at the Olympic stadium. She started with a throw of 7.25m and gradually improved until the fourth round where, what looked like a good throw approaching the 8m mark was ruled out.

Fitzgerald recovered by her final throw to record her best of the day with 7.79m. The winner of the competition was Renata Sliwinska from Poland who dominated throughout.

Speaking afterwards Fitzgerald said: “There were tricky conditions out there, the rain definitely effects the shot put but I’m not going to use it as the excuse. I would have liked to have thrown closer to my PB of 8.12 but 7.79 isn’t miles off.”

Shooting

Philip Eaglesham competed in the last of his three events, the R9 mixed 50m rifle prone. Despite a strong opening of 103.6 in his first round he was left to rue two rounds in a row where he shot 102. He never fully regained his form and finished in 15th place with a score of 618.3 which meant he missed out on progressing to the last eight in his favoured event.

Eaglesham thanked his family and supporters at home: “They’ll always support me no matter what and are always proud no matter what so I’m just grateful of everything they’ve done in the last five years and had to put up with and everything we’ve spent.”

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