Olympic Games: The Irish left to qualify for London

Updated: May 9, 2012

So Ireland has already got 43 athletes qualified for London 2012 but who else has realistic hopes of achieving the required standards before the final names have to be received by the OCI from the national governing bodies, for official consideration.

Here SportsNewsIreland looks at the possibles list. If you feel we have missed out someone then as always we are delighted to have your thoughts by email to : info@sportsnewsireland.com or twitter @sportnewsire


Realistic qualification prospects held by

Sycerika McMahon in 100m breaststroke. The best time of 1.08.79 is but a tantalising 0.3 of a second outside the official qualifying standard of 1.08.49
Fiona Doyle in both 50m freestyle and/or 100m breaststroke. Her best todate freestyle time of 26.04 as against the standard of 25.27 whilst at breaststroke 1.08.98 against the 1.08.49 needed.
Aisling Cooney has to improve her 1.01.76 and get within 1.00.82 whilst in same event Melanie Nocher has already achieved 1.01.92 as against 1.00.82

The crucial last opportunity is likely to come the European Championships in Debrechen, Hungary at the end of May

Comment: Grainne Murphy having already qualified thus can enter other events too under the swimming rules as indeed can Barry Murphy in the men’s competition.


All eyes will be on Gavin Noble in the final two qualifying events. If he retains his good form of late should have a great chance.
ITU World Championships San Diego May 10th-12th and ITU World Championships series Madrid May 26th-27th.

The qualifying period ends on 31st May
Comment: Aileen Morrison already qualified


The event that all of Ireland is looking to is the World Championships in China between May 9th and 20th when the spotlight will once more be on Katie Taylor.
Only three European boxers are ‘guaranteed’ a place in London 2012 (60kg) under the AIBA quota system though room for one more to be invited under the Tripartite Invitation system.
It remains most unfortunate that there are only three weight classes and only one Olympic qualifier for women, a situation which needs to be righted for Rio 2016

Also taking part are Ceire Smith (Cavan BC) and Sinead Kavanagh (Drimnagh) but realistically it is difficult to see either earning a top three place. Despite what so many people think of womens boxing the standards are very high and
improving all the time as TV viewers and those visiting the Excel Arena will find during the Olympics when most will be ‘shocked’ at the quality of the bouts especially from last eight onwards.


Ireland’s Sanita Puspure finished an excellent fifth at the weekend in the A race in single sculls in the World regatta in Belgrade and will hope to make a last minute bid for Olympic qualification at the forthcoming Olympic qualifier in Lucerne in two weeks time.
On the basis of her performance in Belgrade- especially bearing in mind this was the first major event she had taken part in as a single sculler, one feels that the Latvian-born, Sanita who became an Irish citizen more than a year ago, has ‘an outside chance” of making the plane to London 2012.

Canoeing: Eoin Rheinisch and Ciaran Heurteau are Ireland’s main hopes when the European Canoeing Slalom championships take place in Augsburg (9th to 13th May). Rheinisch finished fourth in Beijing 2008 though Heurteau has been the more impressive of late.
Both stand a chance of qualification though majority of the available quota places have already been filled.

Similarly in the Canoeing Sprint Olympic qualifiers where Jenny Egan seems to have the best chance of qualifying as far as Ireland is concerned in the women’s 500m K1 event. Again she has a ‘realistic’ chance of qualifying though there are only two slots left so far as those who have not yet qualified are concerned.The final qualifier takes place in Poznan, Poland (May 16th-17th). Shame,from Jenny’s perspective that there are no 1000m or 1500m in the women’s events in the Olympics

Though the official qualifying tournaments are over and Ireland has only one qualifier, Chloe Magee in women’s singles, the “complex” situation that exists in Badminton leaves reasonable grounds for optimism that Scott Evans will be on the second list of qualifiers when that is published in under two weeks from now, and a ‘sporting chance’ that Chloe and Sam Magee may just ‘sneak in’ for the Mixed Doubles though that is less likely than Evans chances.


Apart from those who have already qualified some Irish athletes, mainly those who have had their training interrupted by injuries still have an opportunity of reaching the A standard. Among them are Steven Colvert & Jason Smyth (100m), Brian Gregan & David Gillick (400m), Ciara Mageean (1500m) and Kelly Proper (Long Jump) but it will be a difficult task with perhaps Mageean being the most likely .

Still an outside chance that Caroline Ryan may qualify for the Road cycling event (womens).

Missed out anyone?
Don’t forget that some slots have been awarded to Team Ireland and it is for those sports’ selectors and the OCI to nominate their chosen athletes. These include cycling and the equestrian events so here we have concentrated on individuals who may yet qualify. We wish them all luck in their quest for an Olympic place.

If we have missed out anyone, then don’t hesitate to remind us… email, as always to: info@SportsNewsIreland.com

Here is that official list as at 9 May 2012.


Stephanie O’Reilly 3,000m Steeplechase
Fionnuala Britton 3,000m Steeplechase
Rob Heffernan 20km & 50km Race Walk
Olive Loughnane 20km Race Walking
Derval O’Rourke 100m Hurdles
Paul Hession 200m
Ciaran O’Lionaird 1500m
Deirdre Ryan High Jump
Alistair Cragg 5,000m
Brendan Boyce 50k walk
Mark Kenneally Marathon
Linda Byrne Marathon*
Ava Hutchinson Marathon*
Maria McCambridge Marathon*
Catriona Jennings Marathon*
Tori Pena Women’s Pole Vault
Joanne Cuddihy 400m
Only three * can qualify


Chloe Magee Women’s Singles


Paddy Barnes 49kg
Michael Conlan 52kg
John Joe Nevin 56Kg
Adam Nolan 69Kg
Darren O’Neill 75Kg


1. To be selected Road Race, Time Trial
2. To be selected Road Race
3. To be selected Road Race
4. To be selected Track Cycling


1. 3 Day Eventer
2. 3 Day Eventer
3. 3 Day Eventer
1. Showjumper
2. Showjumper

Kieran Behan


Lisa Kearney 48Kg

Annalise Murphy Laser Radial
Peter O’Leary Star Class
David Burrows Star Class
Ryan Seaton 49er
Matt McGovern 49er
James Espey Laser

Derek Burnett Olympic Trap

Barry Murphy 100m Breast stroke
Grainne Murphy 800m Freestyle

With several qualifying ‘events’ yet to come, hopes remain high that we will have between 50 and 53 athletes in London 2012.

But should Ireland be sending a larger squad than that to the Games of the 30th Olympiad? Should not we be sending some of the stars of tomorrow for the experience? Eg: include those who have also reached the athletics B standard as has sometimes happened before?
Many many athletes from all over the world taking part in London 2012 will NOT have reached the same levels as some of the Irish who will narrowly miss out on the A standards in Athletics. What do YOU think? Are the Olympic Council of Ireland right in insisting that only those who have achieved A standards can represent Ireland.

Insofar as Athletics is concerned, the official IAAF qualifying standards are here though in fairness one should point out that the OCI and Athletics Ireland have always been adamant that only A standards were acceptable. That is their right but in YOUR pinion were they right to so do especially with the Games in London where the costs of sending an additional 10 or 20 would not have been excessive? CLICK HERE

Send your comments to info@sportsnewsireland.com or twitter @sportnewsire

Remember the words of the Olympic Creed: “The most important thing in the Olympic games is not to win but to take part, just as the most important thing in life is not the triumph, but the struggle. The essential thing is not to have conquered, but to have fought well.”

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