A few bits of Irish Olympic history:
- Ireland has participated in 19 Summer Olympics (first time in Paris 1924) and London 2012 will be the country's 20th appearance at the Games.
- Ireland missed out on the 1936 Berlin Olympics when the O.C.I. chose to boycott the Games in response to a ban on the N.A.C.A.I. (National Athletic and Cycling Association of Ireland). Their ban was centred on the wrangling between the British and Irish delegations over the issue of Irish unity. When the I.A.A.F. ruled that the Irish team should confine themselves to political boundaries and green-lighted the ammalgamation of the English, Scottish, and Northern Ireland AAA's, the N.A.C.A.I. refused to accept this and protested the decision, leading to a ban. The O.C.I. then voted to exclude themselves from the Berlin Games on the back of this debacle.
- As of the Beijing Olympics in 2008, Ireland has been represented by 677 athletes (566 men/111 women).
- Ireland's youngest Olympian to date was Aisling O'Leary, who was just 15 years and 55 days old when she competed in the swimming competition at the Munich Olympics in 1972.
- Ireland's oldest participant to date was Joe McMenamin who was 59 years and 319 days old when he competed at the sailing competition also at the Munich Games in 1972 (excluding art competitions which are not officially counted in the I.O.C. tally).
Good news for our Olympic showjumping hopefuls, Denis Lynch and Billy Twomey have secured 2 individual quota spots for Ireland following the results of the World Cup in Gothenburg this weekend.
Looking reasonably good for us to qualify eventers also, apparantly we have definitely got 2 with a possibility of 3 or 4 (enough to enter the team event at the Olympics).
In addition to our athletes, team Ireland has secured some places at the Olympics in the capacity of officiation and technical officers. This should boost team numbers at the Opening Ceremony and it will be great to see as many as possible marching behind the Irish flag when the event kicks off,
Here are some of those who have been appointed to adjudicate at the London 2012 Games:
- Carol Ui Fheargail (Badminton) - one of 24 umpires appointed to officiate in matches.
- Carol Metchette (Hockey) - one of 17 umpires appointed to officiate in matches in the women's competition.
- Colin Hutchinson (Hockey) - one of 17 umpires appointed to officiate in matches in the men's competition.
- Ray O'Connor (Hockey) - one of 3 men appointed to manage the men's umpires.
- Jack Roy (Sailing) - appointed to race management at the Weymouth regatta.
- Kate Horgan (Showjumping) - appointed as a steward for the showjumping competition in London.
- Hugh McAtamney (Triathlon) - one of 27 I.T.O.s (International Technical Officials) chosen to conduct affairs in London.
There may also be other Irish officials selected in other sports once matters are finalised, the more the better.
Ireland has secured another 5 Olympic places this week in the sport of equestrian. As of the final Olympic qualifying rankings, Ireland has secured 2 individual riders for the showjumping competition as well as a team of 3 riders in eventing. There is a strong possibility however that Ireland may in fact claim the maximum of 5 eventing combinations for the Olympics as Irish riders lie 1st and 3rd in the reserve rankings and some qualified countries will likely not be able to fill up all of their quota positions in the event.
In dressage, Anna Merveldt is second reserve for the Olympics so as it stands she will not be going to London. An unfortunate injury before Christmas may well have led to her decline on the Olympic qualifying rankings list and unluckily, she fell out of the qualifying spots at the last update of the rankings. It is unlikely that she will be on the Olympic team now.
Nevertheless, Ireland has 5 more Olympians and at least another 2 in with a great chance of representing the country in London. It has been a disappointing qualifying campaign for our equestrian teams but things could have been worse if we failed to secure those vital individual berths. An eventing team is also qualified now too which is a relief. Let's hope our teams can turn their fortunes around come the summer and put in some assured performances.
Great news for our riders.
An update to our list of Olympic qualifiers for London. We now have secured 35 quota places:
200m - Paul Hession
1,500m - Ciaran O'Lionaird
5,000m - Alistair Cragg
Marathon - Mark Kenneally
20km walk - Rob Heffernan
50km walk - Rob Heffernan; Brendan Boyce
100m hurdles - Derval O'Rourke
3,000m steeplechase - Fionnuala Britton;Stephanie Reilly
Marathon - Linda Byrne; Ava Hutchinson
20km walk - Olive Loughnane
High Jump - Deirdre Ryan
Pole Vault - Tori Pena
Boxing - 3
Michael Conlon (Flyweight - 52kg)
John Joe Nevin (Bantamweight - 56kg)
Darren O'Neill (Middleweight - 75kg)
Swimming - 2
Barry Murphy (100m breastroke)
Grainne Murphy (800m free)
Triathlon - 1
Aileen Morrison - Women's Triathlon
Sailing - 5 (3 boats)
Annalise Murphy - Laser Radial
Ryan Seaton/Matt McGovern - 49er
Peter O'Leary/David Burrows - Star
Gymnastics - 1
Kieran Behan (Mens individual)
Cycling - 4
Men's Road Race - 3 spots
Men's Time Trial - 1 spot
Equestrian - 5
Individual Showjumping rider
Individual Showjumping rider
Individual/Team eventing rider
Individual/Team eventing rider
Individual/Team eventing rider
UPDATE: Results from the Irish Olympic trials included. Ireland still have just 2 swimmers with the Olympic qualifying standards (Barry Murphy in the 100m Breastroke and Grainne Murphy in 800m Freestyle). However, another 3 men (Ryan Harrison, Karl Burdis and Andrew Bree) and 7 women (Fiona Doyle, Melanie Nocher, Sycerika McMahon, Nuala Murphy, Aisling Cooney, Shani Stallard and Bethany Carson) have the Olympic selection time. However, they will need to upgrade to those elusive Olympic qualifying times if they are to join the Murphys in London.
Another point to note is that Clare Dawson, who holds the Olympic selection times in the 200m/400m Freestyle has been forced to retire from the sport due to a long-term injury.
Hopefully there will be more times to update after the completion of the British Olympic trials, where some of our top swimmers will take part in the programme.
Here is a table with swimmers along with the Olympic qualifying standards and the swimmer's best times in the qualifying period.
Swimmers in bold have achieved the Olympic qualifying standard and are elligible to take part in the Olympics.
The Olympic Invitation time is a minimum time needed for a swimmer to be invited to take part in the Games.
Irish swimmers must achieve the Olympic qualifying standard, but those swimmers who have achieved the qualifying standard in an event can also enter other events in which they have only achieved the Olympic invitation time.
In essence, the Olympic qualifying time and the Olympic invitation time act in a similar way to the A and the B qualifying standards process used in athletics.
Ireland has another Olympian for London, pole vaulter Tori Pena achieved the A-standard of 4.50m at the Cerritos College Beach Classic in California last night. She is Ireland's 14th athlete through to the Olympics and we now have at least 35 on their way to compete in London in all sports.
Fabulous! Very well done to her
And thanks for the huge amount of work you put into the updates, really enjoy following their endeavours and accomplishments.
Yes indeed it is great news. The pole vault was the only event on the current Olympic programme in track and field in which Ireland has never been represented male or female. Tori has put this statistic to bed and hopefully it can spur some much needed interest in the field events in this country.
Thanks also for the thumbs up on the posts, I do my best.
The high jump and pole vault were the events (IMO) that got the crowd going most at The Oympics. With 'Elevation' and 'The Only Way is Up (Baby)' blaring on The Tannoy, it's just fantastic. OK, I admit it helps when Blanka Vlasic is there too
I don't always do my best, but with your 'uptodate.ie' and their 'A Standards', I will try to do better
Well you have Tori Pena and Deirdre Ryan to keep you interested now too!!
With the Olympic Hockey deciders just days away for our men's team here is a preview of the qualifying tournament to be held in Dublin (10th-18th March).
Ireland have been drawn in a group of 6 nations, each will play each other once in the round-robin group stage with the top 2 nations advancing to the winner takes all play-off. Only the winners will go on to compete at the Olympics in the summer.
- Korea (world ranked 6th)
- Malaysia (world ranked 13th)
- IRELAND (world ranked 16th)
- Russia (world ranked 20th)
- Chile (world ranked 26th)
- Ukraine (world ranked 29th)
Korea are a leading hockey nation and they have competed in each of the last 4 Olympic Games (going back to Atlanta 1996).
They won the Olympic silver medal in Sydney 2000 and in the last edition of the Games in Beijing they placed a creditable 6th.
They also finished 4th at the Hockey World Cup in both 2002 and 2006 and placed 6th in the 2010 World Cup.
Champions Trophy- this is the biggest annual hockey tournament in which only the world's 8 best nations compete in the top division. Korea finished last in this tournament but they were up against stiff opposition it has to be said. Here are Korea's results from this tournament.
Netherlands 2-0 Korea
Korea 1-6 New Zealand
Korea 3-3 Germany
Pakistan 6-2 Korea
Great Britain 4-3 Korea
7th/8th place play-off Pakistan 5-4 Korea (A.E.T.)
Ireland v Korea:
At the INSEP 5 Nations Tournament in Paris last summer, the Irish men surprised everyone by thrashing their opponents 5-1. So Ireland have the capacity to put it up to this mighty team but they will no doubt be Ireland's hardest opposition and when the heat of competition is on, Korea are usually pretty good.
Malaysia failed to qualify for the last 2 Olympics and placed 11th at both the 1996 and 2000 Games.
Their World Cup form has not been too great of late either as they failed to qualify for the last 2 tournaments but finished 8th at the 2002 World Cup, their most recent to date.
Champions Challenge I - this is an annual tournament for the second tier nations (below the Champions Trophy). Malaysia finished 5th of 8 competing nations. Here are their results from the tournament:
Canada 3-1 Malaysia
Malaysia 2-2 Japan
Malaysia 2-5 Argentina
Malaysia 2-1 Japan
5th/6th place play-off Malaysia 3-0 Poland
Malaysia recently played Wales in a double-header of matches to help them acclimatise to local climatic conditions (i.e. cold and damp!!) and whilst they won the first match 3-1, Wales stunned them in the second match to win 1-0. Wales are not a big-time hockey nation to say the least (world ranked 27th) so this result will be encouraging for the Irish.
Ireland v Malaysia:
The two teams met 4 times at U.C.D. in the summer of 2010 in a 4-match test series. Here are the results from those matches:
Ireland 3-3 Malaysia
Ireland 2-4 Malaysia
Ireland 2-3 Malaysia
Ireland 2-1 Malaysia
So with only a win and a draw from those 4 matches, it is clear that Malaysia had the upper hand on that occasion and they certainly have the pedigree to perform strongly in the Olympic qualifying tournament. But as I said earlier, that was 18 months ago and the Irish team has got a lot more experience and are generally a better team than they were then. Malaysia are very dangerous opposition however, but they can be very hit-and-miss in terms of their displays on the hockey pitch. Some days they are world-beaters, other days, well they lose 1-0 to Wales!
Russia have little history of note when it comes to men's international hockey.
Men's Champions Challenge II - this is an annual international tournament for third tier hockey teams. Russia finished 3rd of 8 teams in the 2011 tournament behind winners Ireland. Here are Russia's results from the most recent edition of the tournament in 2011:
France 5-4 Russia
Russia 4-2 Scotland
Russia 0-4 IRELAND
Czech Republic 1-9 Russia
Russia 2-9 IRELAND
Scotland 1-3 Russia
Ireland v Russia:
Judging from those two results from that tournament, Ireland should have too much for Russia. Their main threat however seems to lie in their attack and they have the ability to put a decent amount of goals on the scoresheet.
The two nations again met at the 2011 EuroHockey Nations Cup where both sides played in the top division. Ireland overcame the Russians 8-2 on that occasion, the result helping the boys in green to survive in the division and would eventually condemn the Russians to relegation to the lower division for the 2013 Eurohockey tournament. For reference, Russia's other results at that tournament were as follows:
Spain 5-0 Russia
Germany 7-0 Russia
Belgium 7-1 Russia
Russia 5-2 France
No significant history.
The Pan-American Games in Guadalajara, Mexico last autumn provides us with the best indicator of Chile's form. However, it must be said that the quality of this tournament is generally poor barring Argentina and Canada. Chile retained their bronze medal at this tournament:
Chile 9-1 Barbados
Chile 0-4 Canada
Trinidad & Tobago 1-3 Chile
Argentina 7-1 Chile
Cuba 3-4 Chile
Ireland v Chile:
Ireland beat Chile 4-1 in a World Cup qualifier last time round and if truth be told, Ireland should have very little to worry about when they come against their South American opponents.
No significant history.
Eurohockey Nations II (Second tier European competition).
Scotland 2-1 Ukraine
Belarus 2-5 Ukraine
Austria 3-2 Ukraine
Wales 0-1 Ukraine
Sweden 3-4 Ukraine
Ukraine finished 5th in this tournament, placing them 13th overall in Europe.
Ireland v Ukraine:
Again, Ireland should find little to trouble them when they come up against the Ukrainians.
Overall then, on the face of things, it looks like there will be a 3 way battle between Ireland and the two east-Asian sides Korea and Malaysia.
Korea will be favourites to claim the Olympic ticket but Ireland on their home patch should give it a real good shot. The boys in green know how to beat these teams and if they can keep their heads and take the game to the Koreans then they are capable of upsetting the odds. They would become the first Irish hockey team to make the Olympics in the process. Ireland have a decent schedule in the qualifiers with easier games coming at the start, hopefully settling them into the swing of things before the serious opposition presents itself. I think we have a cracking chance to do it this time, fingers crossed!
Here are some of Ireland's most recent results which might give a reference to the team's current form:
2011 Champions Challenge II: (third tier international tournament)
Ireland won this tournament, seeing off 7 other nations of a similar ranking to themselves. This ensured their place in the next edition of the Champions Challenge I tournament. Results from this competition:
IRELAND 3-2 Scotland
IRELAND 2-2 France
Russia 0-4 IRELAND
IRELAND 6-2 U.S.A.
Russia 2-9 IRELAND
FINAL: France 2-4 IRELAND
2011 Eurohockey Nations Cup:
Ireland finished in 5th place overall in this very competitive tournament. Here are the Irish results from that competition:
England 4-2 IRELAND
France 0-2 IRELAND
Netherlands 7-4 IRELAND
Russia 2-8 IRELAND
Spain 2-3 IRELAND
Some recent warm-up matches:
IRELAND 4-0 Czech Republic (U.C.D.)
IRELAND 9-0 Czech Republic (U.C.D.)
Valencia, Spain Training Camp:
IRELAND 0-2 Spain (Feb.13)
IRELAND 0-1 Belgium (Feb.12)
IRELAND 0-3 Belgium (Feb.9)
IRELAND 5-4 Belgium (Feb.8)
IRELAND 1-1 Spain (Feb.6)
Bisham Abbey, Britain Training Camp:
IRELAND 2-2 Great Britain (Jan.27)
IRELAND 1-1 Great Britain (Jan.26)
Alicante, Spain Training Camp:
IRELAND 1-3 Netherlands (Jan.24)
IRELAND 1-2 Netherlands (Jan.22)
IRELAND 1-4 Netherlands (Jan.20)
Here is the full fixture list for that all-important Olympic qualifying tournament which will be held at the National Hockey Centre, U.C.D. in the coming days (10th-18th March):
Why do the qualifiers all take place in just one country? Seems like an unfair advantage for the country that gets to host it.
With home advantage this must be the best chance we may ever have of qualifying.