Ireland Athletes won 4 Gold Medals at the European U20 Championships in Tailinn, Estonia

Ireland Athletes won 4 Gold Medals at the European U20 Championships in Tailinn, Estonia

Rhasidat Adeleke, Cian McPhillips, and Nicholas Griggs created Irish athletics history by winning three gold medals on day 3 of the European U20 Championships in Tallinn.

Update July 21:  Irish U20 team return home with record medal haul

Ireland's 33 strong athletics team returned home to Dublin Airport late last night from the European U20 Championships in Tallinn, Estonia.

The squad touched down with gold medalists Rhasidat Adeleke (100m & 200m), Cian McPhillips (1500m), and Nicholas Griggs (3000m) among the happy faces coming through Terminal 1.

The medalists were greeted by a small number of family members outside the terminal who cheered the new European champions as they exited Terminal 1 with their medals proudly around their necks.

Athletes were quick to thank everyone who has helped get them to this point, with a special word to the support teams that made the trip to Tallinn and were very much part of the success over the 4 days.

It continued a stunning 24 hours for the Irish in Estonia, who only 24 hours previous were celebrating the Adeleke 100m gold on day 2.  The haul of now 4 gold medals saw Ireland sitting on top of the overall medal table heading into the final day of the championships. It already represents Ireland’s most successful ever championships.

It all started on Friday, 16th July

Golden day for Irish in Tallinn

It was a day to remember for the Irish at the European Athletics U20 Championship in Tallinn, with Rhasidat Adeleke securing a gold medal in the 100m final in the most impressive of style.

The Tallaght AC athlete exploded from the starting blocks and powered over the finish line clear of the field in a blistering 11.35.

This gold medal performance continues the record-breaking season for Adeleke which has included breaking Phil Healy’s Irish 200m earlier in the year with a 22.96 at the Big 12 Championships in Manhattan (15.05.2021). It also adds to the European U18 200m gold Adeleke won in 2018.

It represents another milestone for Irish sprinting, with Adeleke following in the footsteps of an 18-year-old Gina Akpe-Moses who claimed gold in this event back in 2017 at the U20 Championships in Grosseto, Italy.

Adeleke who doesn’t turn 19 until the end of August was then back in action in the heats of the 200m where she comfortably secured her place in tomorrow’s semi-finals in a time of 23.20. Adeleke was .43 of a second faster than anyone else who advanced and will be back on track tomorrow at 1.40pm Irish time.

On Saturday, 17th
Adeleke secures sprint double at European U20 Championships

Rhasidat Adeleke has created history for Ireland in claiming the 200m gold medal at the European U20 Championships in Tallinn this afternoon.

The Tallaght AC sprint star eased through this morning’s semi-final in 23.27 before going on to claim victory in the 200m final in an Irish record-breaking time of 22.90.

Adeleke was quick out of the blocks from the gun, but it was the now customary powerful surge around the home bend which saw her move clear of the field to take 0.6 off her own Irish record.

The 200m title completes the sprint double for Adeleke who claimed the 100m title yesterday in just as impressive style, making Adeleke the first athlete since Jodie Williams a decade ago to win a 100/200m double at the European U20 Championships.

200m Final Result:

1 IRL ADELEKE Rhasidat 22.90 EU20L NR

2 NED BISSCHOPS Minke 23.55

3 GBR EDUAN Success 23.62 PB


McPhillips wins gold at European U20 Championships

Cian McPhillips (Longford AC) has won the 1500m gold medal at the European U20 Championships in Tallinn. The Longford AC athlete provided the Irish in attendance with another moment to saviour as he powered down the home straight in a close fought battle with Rick Van Riel of the Netherlands.

McPhillips looked all class as he claimed his track position from the gun, before battling it out over the final 200m to cross the line in 3.46.55. The win secured Ireland’s 3rd gold medal in the last 24 hours at these championships.

The performance from the Joe Lyons trained athlete was the first U20 gold medal by an Irish male athlete since Mark Carroll in 1991.

1500m Final Result

1 IRL MCPHILLIPS Cian 3:46.55                  

2 NED VAN RIEL Rick 3:46.69

3 GBR MCLUCKIE Henry 3:47.15

Griggs secures Ireland’s 4th gold at European U20 Championships

16-year old Nicholas Griggs (Mid-Ulster AC) has won Ireland’s 4th gold medal at the European U20 Championships in Tallinn. Griggs went in the Men’s 3,000 final alongside Fionn Harrington (Bandon AC). Both athletes to the fore over the first few laps in a very tactical race which saw an eventual pack of 5 athletes break away with 2 laps to go.

Griggs took control of proceedings over the last 200m and looked very much in control as he crossed the line in 8.17.18 to claim the historic 4th gold medal.

Fionn Harrington (Bandon AC) finished 16th in Europe in a time of 8:29.71.

Ireland had won three Under-20 medals ever coming into these championships, and have since added 4 golds to that total over the last three days. Ireland currently sit top of the 2021 European U20 Championships medal table.

3000m Final Result

1 IRL GRIGGS Nicholas 8:17.18                  

2 GER MOHUMED Yassin 8:18.36

3 GBR MELLOY Alex 8:18.49

After Day 3, the medal table read like this


Other Irish Athletes performed well over the U20 European Championships, with PBs and Records

From Friday 16th:
Lauren McCourt (Bandon AC) also took to the blocks for the 200m heats and produced a superb run of 24.23 which was just outside her PB. Unfortunately, McCourt just missed out on advancing by two places.

Tokyo bound Robert McDonnell (Galway City Harriers) was in 200m heat action too and cruised through Saturday’s semi-finals with a professional victory in 21.16.

The Men’s 5000m final was a tactical race with much of the pack remaining bunched for the first 2,000m. Abdel Laadjel (Donore Harriers) and Dean Casey (Ennis Track Club) settled into midfield, while Callum Morgan (St. Malachy's AC) raced patiently to the rear. The race was blown apart by an injection of pace with 3 laps to go which saw Casey remain with the leading 6 athletes before falling back slightly as they hit the bell. Casey stuck on bravely to claim back 6th place coming into the home straight to finish in 14.40.74, while Laadjel followed soon after for 11th in 14.50.07. Morgan kept grinding it out for the last laps to cross for 21st place in Europe in 15.15.52.

Nicola Tuthill (Bandon AC) was first of the Irish in action on day 2 of these championships. Tuthill threw a 54.78m best in the Hammer for 14th place in Group A qualifying which wasn’t enough to advance. 17-year-old Tuthill landed the 54.78 on her initial attempt and then went all out to try and claim the 60m which would have made the final, only to foul on her two remaining attempts. Tuthill has been gradually increasing her PB to a new best of 61.55m this season and will be looking forward to bringing this week’s experience to future competitions in the Irish vest.

Eoin Quinn (Mullingar Harriers AC) ran a 1:54.24 800m for 5th place in his heat, but unfortunately didn’t progress. Quinn was unlucky to be in the slower of the 3 heats and will look back on his huge season which saw his PB go from 1:57.81 to 1:50.40 over the past few months.

Ava O'Connor (Tullamore Harriers AC) went in the heats of the 1500m but unfortunately did not progress, crossing the line in 4:55.84. O’Connor, who has won four All Ireland U20 titles in 800m and 1500m will be another sure to be back in the Irish vest for years to come.

Alan Miley (St L O'Toole AC) ran a great race in the Men’s 400mH heats and was unlucky to clip the last hurdle which stopped all momentum coming to the line. Miley finished in 53.86 for 5th place, just outside qualification.

Maeve O’Neill (Doheny AC) bowed out of her championship journey at the semi-final stage of the 800m. O’Neill finished in 7th place in 2:10:61 which was not enough to advance, but she will take great heart from securing a personal best time at an international championship (2.01.91pb).


Saturday 17th
Fionn Harrington (Bandon AC) in the 3000m battled on to finish 16th in Europe in a time of 8:29.71, providing the Bandon athlete with some great championship experience over the last 3 days.

Robert McDonnell (Galway City Harriers) was in action in the Men’s 200m final earlier in the evening. The Galway athlete secured his place in the final with a 21.29 semi-final performance before going on to claim 5th (21.18) in Europe to complete a brilliant weekend of competition for the Galway athlete. McDonnell now heads for Tokyo as part of the Olympic Mixed 4 x 400m relay team.

Mullingar Harriers due of Matthew Glennon and Oisin Lane also had final fever in the 10k Walk. There was a brilliant 6th place finish for Lane (Mullingar Harriers) who crossed the line in a big personal best of 43:33.53. Matthew Gleenon (Mullingar Harriers) finished 22nd in Europe in a time of 45:53.44 in what was another blisteringly hot day for the endurance athletes.

Casey Mulvey (Innyvale AC) went in Group A qualifying of the Shot Put from early doors. Mulvey would finish with a best throw of 13.30m and was unlucky to foul on her final two attempts. Her 25th place was unfortunately not enough to progress to the next round. The David Sweeney trained athlete will be heading to De Paul University in Chicago in August and will have a great opportunity to progress further over the coming years.

Diarmuid O'Connor (Bandon AC) was right in contention after day 1 of the Men’s Decathlon. O’Connor on Saturday was within 49 points of a podium spot on the back of 4 PBs across his 5 events, which included him smashing his High Jump PB with a 2.00M clearance. The Bandon athlete moved from 10th to 5th over the course of the day for a cumulative score of 4006.

National records fall on day 4 of European U20 Championships

National records fell on the 4th and final day of the European U20 Championships in Tallinn today, with Diarmuid O'Connor (Decathlon) and the Irish Women’s 4 x 400m relay team rounding off Ireland’s most successful ever championships in fitting style.

The Irish Women’s 4 x 400m Relay team of Lauren McCourt (Bandon AC), Caoimhe Cronin (Le Cheile) Maeve O'Neill (Doheny AC), and Rhasidat Adeleke (Tallaght AC) secured a 5th place finish in an U20 NR time of 3.37.39.

McCourt and Cronin safely transitioned the baton to O’Neill for the third leg which saw the Doheny athlete move from 8th place to 7th before making the final handover to Adeleke who had a substantial gap to make up to the leading five athletes.

True to form Adeleke clocked a 52.54-second final leg (fastest of anyone in the field) to help the Irish women to fifth and the new U20 NR.

Relay team success is very much about the squad and a special mention must go Kate O'Connell (Lucan Harriers) and Blanaid Fogarty (Enniscorthy AC) who played their part and were there to roar their teammates home.

Diarmuid O'Connor (Bandon AC) put together a breath-taking series of performances in the Men’s Decathlon over the last two days to secure a 4th place finish in a new national U20 record score of 7604 points.

O’Connor picked up where he left off on day 1, securing lifetime bests in the 110m Hurdles (14.36), Discus (39.73), Pole Vault (4.30), and a huge 9-meter PB in the Javelin (49.02). It moved the Frank Stam trained athlete within touching distance of the podium places heading into the final event (1500m).

The 1500m is one of O’Connor’s stronger events and the Bandon athlete went out in from the gun and gave his all to cross the line in 4:31.63 to round out a stunning two days of competition. It resulted in O’Connor finishing in an agonising 4th place overall on the back of 8 PBs from his 10 events.

The final score of 7604 points set the new Irish U20 record in style, taking over from the record of Barry Walsh which had stood since 1987.

Aoife McGreevy (Lagan Valley AC) & Laura Mooney (Tullamore Harriers) were also in action this afternoon in the Women’s 5000m split final which would see the A and B final times amalgamated. The Irish duo went in final A which was by the quicker of the two.

Mooney finished in a brilliant 6th place overall having gone with the leading pack from the gun. The Tullamore Harriers athlete was still in touch with two laps to go but an injection of pace in searing heat saw a gap open to the podium places. Mooney crossed the line in a 16:41.87 to claim yet another top 10 placing for the Irish at these championships.

McGreevy raced patiently to the rear of the main pack and was unlucky to just miss out on a top 20 finish, crossing in 17:20.49 for 22nd place overall.

The Men’s 4 x 100m Relay team were out on track early this morning. The team of Cillian Griffin (Tralee AC), Israel Olatunde (UCD AC), Charles Okafor (Mullingar Harriers), and Adam Sykes (Orangegrove AC) finished in a time of 41.06 for 6th place in the heats. It was a smooth run by all and offered more championship experience for the young sprinters, but ultimately it was not enough to advance to the evening’s final.

These championships will be remembered for some time to come, and credit must go to all those who have helped to support the athletes in getting to this stage over the last number of years.

Team Ireland will return to Dublin with 4 gold medals, a national senior record, several national U20 records, as well as another six top-6 placings.

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