Irish women lay down marker after record setting displays

Posted on: October 16th, 2015

Josie Knight had a busy evening on the boards at the European Championships, the Kerry woman riding as part of the women’s team pursuit squad before going into battle in the points race.


By Brian Canty

The Irish women’s senior track squad finished sixth in the team pursuit at the European Championships in Grenchen, Switzerland, after being beaten by Italy in the 5/6 finals.

The Irish foursome of Josie Knight, Caroline Ryan, Lydia Boylan and Mel Spath made it to tonight’s finals courtesy of finishing eighth in qualifying last night and fifth in this morning’s first round heat against the Germans.

Their time in the latter shattered the national record they set the night before by four seconds and after clocking 4.31.666 they gave themselves a high bar this evening.

Alas, the effort of two sessions in a row took its toll on them and they were beaten by the Italian quartet who stopped the clock at 4.30.021.

Ireland were some way off their best tonight and were four seconds slower in 4.34.431.

Still, it was an extremely encouraging performance by all concerned and one where they’ll have banked a huge amount of experience from.

Cycling Ireland changed the line-up in the final round, with Eimear Moran coming in for Caroline Ryan, meaning Moran – who is new to the sport from rowing – got some valuable experience.

As expected, Team GB romped to victory, overlapping the Russians who took silver while the Belarussians did likewise to the Poles for bronze.

Knight was in action again this evening in the points race and fared quite well for someone so inexperienced.

The Dingle woman made her debut in the event at a World Cup in London last year but hasn’t had the chance to ride against a field of this class very often in the interim.

She faced some of the biggest talents in the world in the shape of Kirsten Wild (Netherlands) and Eleanor Barker (Team GB) and she finished 15th in the 25-kilometre, 100-lap race.

There were 10 sprints throughout but Knight never managed to collect any points.

The only other Irish involvement was Martyn Irvine in the men’s scratch race, an event he has won a gold medal in at World Championships level.

The Newtownards man looked superb this evening and really gave it his all against a stellar field but he was heavily marked and eventually finished 11th.