With the exception of the 1936 Berlin Games in which the country did not participate, Ireland has sent a team to every Summer Olympics since 1924. Over these 22 occasions, a total of 51 medals have been won with the most successful of the Games being London 2012 which saw one gold, one silver and four bronzes heading back over the Irish Sea.
Obviously, ambitions are high that the country will do better than this in Tokyo in 2021. To help this become a reality, Ireland has even sought inspiration from New Zealand, a country with a similar population but which has won almost as many medals in the last 20 years – 51 – as we have in the past 96.
While we may be some way off becoming a sporting powerhouse like New Zealand, there are some very good prospects across a number of disciplines, including these three.
Thomas Barr – Athletics
The Waterford 400m runner is arguably Ireland’s only true world-class athlete at the moment and at 28 this could be his final Olympics. So he’ll be hoping to improve on his fourth-place finish at Rio in 2016. With athletics being one of the most popular of the Olympic events at sports betting sites such as Mr Green Betting, you can be sure that many will be taking advantage of this simple and convenient way to back him. With a range of different wagers available, including spread betting and flexi-betting as well as a wide number of markets available, the site will also be anticipating a great deal of betting action across all 33 Olympic sports.
Mona McSharry – Swimming
Ever since the very appropriately-named Jon Rudd was appointed as High Performance Director of Ireland’s swimming team, there has been distinct upturn in its fortunes. One of the brightest of the rising stars is the 20-year-old Mona McSharry. In 2017 she became the junior world champion in the 400m breast-stroke at the finals in Indianapolis. Since then she’s tasted victory of another kind having been a winner, along with brother Mouric and parents Aiden and Viola, in the seventh series of the RTE reality show Ireland’s Fittest Family.
Bertram Allen – Equestrian
Equestrian is one sport in which Ireland can certainly consider itself to have under-achieved on the Olympic stage. But just as Jon Rudd has transformed the fortunes of the swimming team, the appointment of Roderigo Pessoa as chef d’équipe for the show jumpers is already having the same effect. A key member of the team will be Bertram Allen – the youngest-ever winner of a prestigious Longines Grand Prix back when he was just 23. Three years later he surely stands a chance of being in the medals both as an individual and as a team member in Tokyo 2021.
There are many others to look out for across other sports with one of the brightest prospects being the young gymnast Rhys McClenaghan who many see as a future world beater. So here’s looking forward to the games, and hearing Amhrán na bhFiann being played at more medal ceremonies than ever before.