Welcome Home Annalise and The Olympic Team
On Thursday 25th August, Olympic silver medalist Annalise Murphy and the most successful Irish Olympic Sailing Team was welcomed East Pier in Dun Laoghaire by thousands of supporters and was officially welcomed home by Dun Laoghaire Rathdown Cathaoirleach Cormac Devlin.
Representing the National Yacht Club, Annalise won the Silver medal in the Women’s single-handed Laser Radial while her team-mates in the three other disciplines all achieved personal best performances.
Annalise Murphy won Ireland’s first Olympic Sailing medal for 36 years at Rio 2016 and the result marks her reward for eleven years of dedication and intensive campaigning.
“I am incredibly happy with my medal. It has been a long road to achieve this, especially since London 2012 but it has been hugely worthwhile,” said Annalise Murphy. “My hope is that this medal represents an opportunity for Irish sailing to attract new people to our sport which is ideal for this island nation.”
The Silver medal won by Annalise marks not only her efforts for London 2012 when fourth overall was both a disappointment for her as well as being the best Irish result in decades, but also the reconstruction of her campaign for Rio 2016 that saw her become an all-round performer in what is now regarded as one of the most challenging Olympic regatta venues ever. From the opening race of her series, she held a top-three result through the ten-race qualification series.
Finn Lynch (20) from Carlow and also a National YC sailor was the youngest ever Olympic helm to represent Ireland as well as being the youngest in his 46-strong class. He achieved several notable performances during his ten-race series at Rio including several top 20 results. In an event where the average age of the top ten finishers is 30, he has proven his ability with an Olympic experience under his belt and is certain to be a prospect for Tokyo 2020.
Andrea Brewster and Saskia Tidey from the Royal Irish YC started their campaign together exactly three years ago and sailed the 49erFX class for the new Women’s Skiff event at Rio 2016. After overcoming a three-month injury hiatus to their campaign, they qualified Ireland for the event earlier this year and their form improved steadily in the build-up to the Olympics. Over their 12 race series, they achieved five top ten results and ended their debut Olympic Games in 12th place overall.
Ryan Seaton and Matt McGovern, from Carrickfergus Sailing Club, Ballyholme YC & Royal Ulster YC were the last of the six Irish sailors into action on Guanabara Bay on Thursday afternoon in the Men’s Skiff event Medal Race final. The London 2012 veterans improved on their performance from four years ago by qualifying for the final to place tenth overall. Their results included two race wins in which they beat the four times world champions and eventual Gold medal winners. This ensured they were within reach of the podium going in to the last day of fleet racing.
“This result proves that our strategy in high performance is working and is providing the success that all involved in sailing and sport crave,” commented David Lovegrove, President of the Irish Sailing Association. “I want to acknowledge the tremendous professionalism of our coaching staff who have demonstrated such passion and commitment to our sailors. In particular I want to commend James O’Callaghan’s leadership and guidance of high performance sailing, ably supported by Rory Fitzpatrick.”
“Annalise’s medal confirms the intent of our programme that both delivers the highest standard of performance but also makes a return to our domestic sport,” said James O’Callaghan, ISA Performance Director.
Photograph: David Branigan/Oceansport: Marina da Gloria, Rio de Janeiro, 12th August 2016: Ireland’s Annalise Murphy in Race 7 in the Women’s Single-handed event in big swells off Copacabana at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.