Irish Times Sport Ireland Sportswoman Award for July
The Irish Times Sport Ireland Sportswoman of the Month Award for July 2021 is awarded to Aifric Keogh, Eimear Lambe, Fiona Murtagh and Emily Hegarty, bronze medallists in the women’s four rowing at Tokyo 2020.
At the halfway point in their Olympic final, the likelihood of Aifric Keogh, Eimear Lambe, Fiona Murtagh and Emily Hegarty becoming Ireland’s first medallists in Tokyo seemed slim, slimmer still when they dropped another place to fifth soon after with only Poland trailing them.
As Eimear Lambe, from Cabra in Dublin, put it after, “We had a bit of a rocky start, so we definitely didn’t make it easy for ourselves - but we just didn’t give up.”
They certainly didn’t, their performance in the second half of the race a stirring one, the quartet first overtaking China before edging past Britain in the final 200 metres to take bronze – the first medal place for Ireland at these Olympics.
The strongly fancied Australians took gold in an Olympic best time of 6:15.37, a mere 0.34 seconds ahead of the Netherlands and just over five seconds ahead of Ireland who pipped Britain - in bronze position for most of the race - by a second.
“It’s a bit surreal, to be honest,” said Lambe of the achievement. “It’s something for the future, and hopefully this will be the first of many, and hopefully it gives the young girls coming up now a bit of hope that this is completely possible. If we can do it, anyone can.”
Their inspirational performance certainly did give hope to all cheering on Team Ireland.
Congratulations to Aifric, Eimear, Fiona and Emily, worthy winners of The Irish Times Sport Ireland Sportswoman of the Month award for July 2021.