Ken Doherty: It’s great to see our athletes shine

by Gazette Reporter
0 comment

‘I was so proud of our mixed relay team and then Rhasidat winning silver with a PB

I love early summer as it brings a change in the sporting as well as the weather seasons.  With all the snooker over for a while, it was great to be back in Dublin for exhibition games with the likes of Steve Davis and Dennis Taylor last week when we played at the Stephen’s Green club and the St George’s Yacht Club.

As we speak, Steve, myself, John Virgo and my pal Pat Caulfield are down in Spain on a golf break and as I write this, we are just back in from the course after a real ding dong battle between the Irish and the English pair.

Ken Doherty with Steve David, my pal Pat Caulfield and John Virgo.

We looked to be paying over the money but managed to win the last few holes to tie the game so honours were even as we headed to the clubhouse for a spot of lunch.

All the talk here this week is of two things – how well the Irish athletes are doing at the European Championships in Rome and wondering how England will do the the soccer equivalent in Germany beginning with the Scots playing the hosts this Friday night.

I was so proud of the Ireland mixed relay team the way they won the first gold for the country since Sonia O’Sullivan did it back in 1998. Growing up in Ireland athletics was always something I looked forward to watching on the telly thanks to the likes of Eamon Coghlan, Sonia, John Treacy, Marcus O’Sullivan, Frank O’Mara and more recently Dervla O’Rourke. We always had someone we could cheer for in the big events. Except that hasn’t been the case so much the past few decades so it is great that we can now look forward to the likes of Rhasidat Adeleke dominating her sport over the coming ten years or so.

I mean she is only 21 and like ourselves said she was a little disappointed with “only” winning silver on Monday night in the 400m final. Maybe we expected gold because of the way she ran in her leg in the mixed finals but on Monday she slugged it out with an athlete from Poland’s Natalia Kaczmarek who is at the peak of her form. The big thing for me about the Tallaght runner is she ran her fastest time ever at just over 49 seconds, so already she is putting down a marker for herself and the rest of her opponents for Paris in the Olympics in a few short weeks time. Good luck to her and to all the athletes in green, they have the ability to both lift and unite us as a nation and I love that about sport.

Over the next few weeks, a different type of soccer will fill our screens as international football is much more considered than the 90 miles an hour Premier league we have as a staple diet for most of the year.

I think England can go all the way for Gareth Southgate as they have an exciting young team full of gifted players. The only caveat is their defence where he still has to settle on a five or a four format which is convincing.

If he gets that end of the pitch right, then they have the front six with the likes of Jude Bellingham, Phil Foden and Harry Kane to get goals and do the rest. I also hope Kobbie Mainoo, my Man United hero, gets to play his part in proceedings.

If England don’t win it, there are plenty of other likely lads to go and do the business… Portugal have an amazing array of big names, likewise France while you can never discount the likes of Germany as hosts and even Spain.  Something tells me though it is England’s turn… we won’t have to wait long to find out!

Featured Image: 7 June 2024; Ireland 4x400m relay team, from left, Chris O’Donnell, Rhasidat Adeleke, Sharlene Mawdsley and Thomas Barr celebrate after winning the Mixed 4x400m Relay final during day one of the 2024 European Athletics Championships at the Stadio Olimpico in Rome, Italy.

Photo by Sam Barnes/Sportsfile

Related Articles