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Mawdsley leads Ireland into 4x400m relay final

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Sharlene Mawdsley recovered from her run in Monday night’s 400m final to brilliantly lead Ireland into the final of the women’s 4x400m relay at the European Athletics Championships in Rome.

Mawdsley already has a gold to her name having been part of the triumphant mixed 4x400m relay team last Friday night.

She dusted herself down again on Tuesday as Ireland’s excellent championships continued.

The experienced Sophie Becker led the team out, handing to Phil Healy with Ireland in third place.

Healy consolidated that position, with Lauren Cadden – making her major championship debut – hanging tough to stay in the top four. That allowed the imperious Mawdsley to chase down the top three before gliding to the front inside the last 50 metres, winning the race ahead of France, Belgium, Spain and Italy.

The final takes place on Wednesday night at 8.06pm Irish time.

Earlier, there was disappointment for the men’s 4x400m team of Jack Raftery, Chris O’Donnell, Sean Doggett and Callum Baird who missed out on a place in the final after a spirited showing.

O’Donnell – who was also part of the gold-winning mixed relay team last Friday – drove Ireland into contention with a very strong run on the second leg. He passed the baton to 17-year-old Doggett, who was making his senior international debut. He also became the youngest ever Irish athlete to participate in a senior European Championships.

Requiring a top-three finish to seal automatic qualification, and a top-five finish to have any hope of progression as one of the non-automatic qualifiers, Baird squeezed into fifth with a duck on the line.

It kept their chances alive, but a very fast second heat bumped Ireland out of contention – though Poland’s later disqualification for a lane infringement meant Ireland finished 10th overall.

Ireland’s exploits in Rome have captured the imagination of the public, with a peak audience of 568,000 watching Rhasidat Adeleke win silver in last night’s thrilling 400m final on RTÉ 2, and an average audience of 324,000.

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