Republic of Ireland news

Michael O'Reilly suspension: Boxer wants ‘B' sample tested

Ireland's Steven Donnelly, right, fights during his win against Algeria's Zohir Kedache at the Rio Olympics. Picture by Frank Franklin II, Associated Press

IRISH boxer Michael O'Reilly's future remains in the balance as he launched an appeal against his suspension following a failed drugs test.

The Portlaoise fighter was not allowed to participate in Friday's opening ceremony after it was revealed he had tested positive for a banned substance before he flew out to Rio.

O'Reilly's legal team launched an appeal at midday on Sunday. It is understood he tested positive for a banned recreational drug.

According to reports, the fighter asked for his B sample tested in an attempt to have the provisional ban lifted. Tests on the B sample will not be completed for several days.

O'Reilly, regarded as one of Ireland's medal hopes, is due to box on Friday after he was handed a bye. However it remains unclear whether he will compete.

Meanwhile, Ballymena fighter Steven Donnelly was the first Irish boxer to fight at the Rio games yesterday.

The welterweight had a comfortable first-round victory against Zohir Kedache from Algeria, winning by a unanimous decision.

Speaking after the fight, Donnelly said he was delighted with his performance.

"Great to get the first one out of the way, get three good rounds under the belt and come away with the win," he told RTÉ.

"Over the moon with the performance and the sharpness will come in the next fight. Only the start of the journey and it's the best feeling ever."

The 27-year-old will next face Mongolian fighter Tüvshinbat Byambya on Thursday.

Lightweight David Oliver Joyce (29) is also through to the next round after he beat Andrique Allisop from the Seychelles.

He beat Allisop by a unanimous decision. 

Joyce later said he was "delighted" by the win, but did not want to be drawn over the O'Reilly controversy.

"This is where I am meant to be. In the ring is where I am meant to be," he told RTÉ.

"We don't want to think about what happened during the week, Steven Donnelly got me going earlier."

Meanwhile, swimmer Shane Ryan broke the Irish record as he claimed a place in the 100m backstroke semi-final on Sunday.

The Pennsylvania State University-based swimmer recorded a personal best time of 53.85 seconds.

Ryan was born outside Philadelphia in the US but has family roots in Portarlington, Co Laois.

Ellis O’Reilly made history by becoming the first Irish female gymnast to compete in an Olympic games yesterday.

The 18-year-old gymnast, who trains out of the Europa Gymnastics club in London, acquitted herself well but fell awkwardly on her head as she dismounted the balance beam.

O'Reilly, who was born in London and represents the Republic through her Armagh-born grandfather, was 10th in her group of 12 but failed to qualify for any finals.

High winds at the Olympic regatta meant that the second day of rowing was postponed yesterday.

Irish rowers Sinead Lynch and Claire Lambe, and Cork brothers Gary and Paul O'Donovan are now expected to make their Olympic debuts today.

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