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Team Ireland has won gold at the Olympics for the first time in nine years with Skibbereen’s Fintan McCarty and Paul O’Donovan win in the Lightweight Men’s Double Sculls event on Thursday morning.
The duo ended the drought with a consistent row to put themselves in the centre of the podium following a strong second half of the race.
Undisputed lightweight boxing champion Katie Taylor was the last Irish gold medal winner, beating Russia’s Sofya Ochigava to become the first-ever female Olympic champion at her weight class.
Since Taylor’s victory, Team Ireland had won eight medals – three silver and five bronze – but had failed to win gold until Thursday morning.
Let’s take a look at the medalists who made the country proud between the Summer Olympics golds.
John Joe Nevin – London 2012 Silver, Boxing
John Joe Nevin won silver in the Men’s Bantamweight event in London after a 14-11 loss to now-professional Team GB fighter Luke Campbell.
The Mullingar-born two-time Olympian reached the final after beating the reigning bantamweight world champion at the time, Lázaro Álvarez of Cuba in impressive fashion.
Nevin has turned professional since earning silver at the Olympic Games and currently holds a record of 14-0.
However, he has not fought since 2019.
Paddy Barnes – London 2012 Bronze, Boxing
Belfast boxer Paddy Barnes earned his second consecutive Bronze medal at the Olympics after reaching the semi-finals of the Men’s Light Flyweight event in London 2012.
Old foe Zou Shiming defeated the Team Ireland boxer at the semi-final stage for the second time in a row after a countback saw the Irishman lose by a point (45-44).
Shiming went on to win gold once again while Barnes settled for bronze after two strong wins in the previous stages.
Barnes competed in Rio 2016 but was beaten in the Round of 16 and has had a professional career since, retiring in November after three losses in his last four fights.
Michael Conlon – London 2012 Bronze, Men’s Flyweight
Michael Conlon is the third and final boxer on this list and the fourth Irish boxer to come home with a medal in 2012.
Conlon was beaten by the eventual champion, Robeisy Ramirez of Cuba, after a close win against Frenchman Nordine Oubaali guaranteed the then 24-year-old a medal.
The bantamweight was controversially knocked out at the quarter-final stage at Rio 2016 but has since gone on to greater things, currently holding a 15-0 record in professional boxing.
The fighter is scheduled to fight T.J. Doheny at Falls Park, Belfast on Friday, August 6th.
Cian O’Connor – London 2012 Bronze, Equestrian
Cian O’Connor took home the bronze medal in London 2012 for the Individual Showjumping event.
The equestrian won the medal with his horse Blue Loyd 12 and the pair reached a silver medal jump-off after they were tied with Dutch showjumper Gerco Schroeder and his horse London.
The Irish duo racked up a four-second penalty while their opposition went flawless and O’Connor settled for bronze.
Rob Heffernan – London 2012 Bronze, Athletics
Rob Heffernan won bronze for his performance in the Men’s 50km Walk in 2012.
The Corkonian had crossed the line in fourth but was retrospectively awarded the bronze medal for the event.
The initial race winner, Russian Sergey Kirdyapkin, was disqualified almost four years after the race took place due to doping violations.
In the time since 2012, Heffernan had become a world champion with victory in Moscow in 2013.
The now 43-year-old competed in a fifth Olympic Games at Rio 2016 and finished three spots off the bronze medal in sixth.
Gary and Paul O’Donovan – Rio 2016 Silver, Rowing
One of Ireland’s latest gold medal winners, Paul O’Donovan, makes an appearance on this list alongside his brother Gary.
The pair took home silver in the same event that Paul and Fintan McCarthy won on Thursday morning in Tokyo.
The O’Donovan brothers won one World Championships after their Olympic silver in 2018.
Paul won a World Championship for the fourth year in a row alongside new partner Fintan McCarthy in 2019, having won two single sculls World Championships previously.
McCarthy and O’Donovan are now reigning Olympic champions, with Gary having been their reserve rower.
Annalise Murphy – Rio 2016 Silver, Sailing
Annalise Murphy won silver in the Women’s Laser Radial at the Rio Olympics in 2016.
The sailor won Ireland’s first Olympic medal in the sport since 1980 with her performance in the medal race.
The Dún Laoghaire club member came fourth in London 2012 and got the medal she had wanted for so long after four more years of hard work.
The 31-year-old is currently taking part in the same event at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.
Aifric Keogh, Eimear Lambe, Fiona Murtagh and Emily Hegarty – Tokyo 2020 Bronze, Rowing
Aifric Keogh, Eimear Lambe, Fiona Murtagh and Emily Hegarty won the first medal for Team Ireland on Wednesday, July 28th with a bronze medal performance in the Women’s Coxless Fours final.
The quartet kicked off Ireland’s medal haul with their third-placed finish, rowing over the finish line after gold medal winners Australia and the Netherlands.
The four women had only been together as a crew for six months when they got their spot on the podium.
Their win doubled the number of Irish women that have won Olympic medals for the team – the number is now at 8.