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Irish Mirrors restore hopes of world title

8th August 1997
In a week of highs and lows for Irish youth sailing, there was much encouragement in the lead being regained at the Mirror World Championships in Canada whereas at home the National Optimist team's last chance for a top world result ended in disappointment in Belfast Lough yesterday. Irish hopes of victory in the Mirror event at Kingston, Ontario, were emphatically restored in race six , which was won by Ed Moloney and Andrew Woodward, of Royal Cork YC , and they were followed home by eight other Irish crews in the top 10 finishers. And after three days of racing, there was a new overall leader with Ross Killian and Darren McCann, of the National YC, a single point ahead of European champions David and Joshua Gebhard, from Britain.
Racing was postponed for up to five hours before a light breeze developed, but in very difficult shifting conditions the British crews dominated race five. However, third and fourth places were taken by Irish boats with Jerbil Owens and Rebecca Killian finishing ahead of Ross Killian and Darren McCann, while Colm O'Flaherty and Paul Barr , of Sligo YC, had their best result so far, finishing fifth. A solid breeze developed late in the afternoon for race six, the turning point in the 10-race regatta, and just when it seemed the British squad were taking a firm grip on the championship, Irish crews struck back with a vengeance, taking all but one of the top 10 places and more importantly, pushing the Gebhards, who already had two firsts in the bag, into 12th place. Meanwhile in Carrickfergus, in what was ironically described as one of the the best prepared Optimist squads, team leader Olive Downey spoke of the five-boat team's disillusionment at the mediocre performance in the 42nation Belfast Lough event won by yesterday by the Italian Luca Bursic. Four of the Irish boys were reduced to positions in the bottom half of the 194-boat fleet after the final three races. In the National Mermaid Championships at Wexford harbour, a fifth race black flag penalty yesterday afternoon for overall leader Zulieka (Derek Joyce) means her single discard has effectively been used with one race left to sail today. Mirror World Championships (at Kingston, Ontario) - Race Five: 1, I and F Capener (Brit); 2, C Balding and N Harper (Brit); 3, J Owens and R Killian (Irl). Race Six: 1, E Moloney and A Woodward (Irl); 2, R Hamilton and P Reilly (Irl); 3, M Treacy and N Craig (Irl). Overall: 1, R Killian and D McCann (Irl) 22 pts; 2, D and J Gebhard (Brit) 23; 3, Balding and Harper 24; 4, B Foley and S Mitton (Irl); 5, E McDonald and I McSweeney (Irl) 38; 6, Moloney and Woodward 39. Other top Irish places: 7, Owens and Killian 42 pts; 12, Hamilton and Reilly 78; 13, M Hellstern and J Dolan 80; 14, M O'Loughlin and G Henderson 82; 15, S Hyde and C Doorley 86; 16, Treacy and Craig 89.
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