Pádraic within a hair’s width of winning medal

PAR­A­LYMPICS TIGHT­EST OF FIN­ISHES IN BOC­CIA QUAR­TER-FI­NAL

Bray People - - Bray People - Mary FOG­A­RTY

A SHEET OF PA­PER had to be used to mea­sure the dif­fer­ence be­tween Bray Boc­cia star Padraic Mo­ran and his quar­ter­fi­nal op­po­nent be­fore fans learned that the Bray man had been knocked out of the sin­gles com­pe­ti­tion in the 2008 Par­a­lympic games last Mon­day.

Victory there, and a sub­se­quent spot in the semi-fi­nals, would have brought him at least a bronze medal.

Padraic, how­ever, has ef­fec­tively moved from 25th in the world to 5th in the world and still has a chance of winning a medal in the team event, which starts to­day (Wed­nes­day)

In the in­di­vid­ual com­pe­ti­tion, Padraic was in great form as he ad­vanced as pool win­ner to the quar­ter-fi­nal against Yi Wang of China, in front of his home crowd. That quar­ter-fi­nal match was a grip­ping af­fair. The pair couldn’t be sep­a­rated af­ter the four sched­uled ‘ends’ (sim­i­lar to sets) and the con­test went to a tie break. In essence, in Boc­cia the player to get most of their balls clos­est to the jack wins.

With one ball each left in the tiebreak and Mo­ran clos­est, the Chi­nese player threw a per­fect last ball to inch Mo­ran’s out of pole po­si­tion, to an ex­plo­sive cheer by the home crowd. Mo­ran held his nerve how­ever and with no al­ter­na­tive went for it with his last ball, land­ing a mere frac­tion of a cen­time­tre fur­ther away from the jack than Wang’s, to exit the com­pe­ti­tion in the cru­elest fash­ion pos­si­ble.

‘Ob­vi­ously I’m dis­ap­pointed,’ said Padraic. ‘But to get to the quar­ter fi­nals in my first Par­a­lympics is a mas­sive achieve­ment. I tried ev­ery­thing, it was only a frac­tion in the tie break. I’ll be back, and in Lon­don in 2012. It’s time to move on and fo­cus on the team event as that’s the most im­por­tant thing now.’

Mean­while, the 7-a-side foot­ball team, with Bray’s Gary Mes­set, played out a thrilling en­counter on Mon­day but un­for­tu­nately lost out 4-2 to world num­ber two Iran in their open­ing pool game. They face world cham­pi­ons Ukraine in their next game.

Pádraic Mo­ran in action dur­ing the Par­a­lympics in Bei­jing.

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