Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 23 July 2014

Irish teen playing it cool over final slip

SNOW near and yet snow far... Ireland's teenage snowboarding prodigy, Seamus O'Connor, came agonisingly close to booking himself a place in the Winter Olympics halfpipe final.

US-born O'Connor (16) came ninth in his semi-final with an excellent 70.25 in his second run, but it wasn't enough to secure a place in the finals in Sochi.

Had he qualified, he would have been the second-youngest competitor in the final after Japanese 15-year-old Ayumu Hirano.

The Utah native had booked his semi-final place by finishing 13th in his heat. O'Connor, who can compete for Ireland through his grandparents, was fourth after the first run, in spite of suffering a slip, with a score of 54.00.

He looked on course for a higher score, but failed to land his final trick properly, which marked him down, and he was gradually overhauled. "It was my hope that, if I had landed that run, I could have made it [to the final]," O'Connor said.

"Originally, my goal was to make it to the semi-finals and I got in there.

"Once I was here, I was kind of wanting more, wanting to land my run, which I was hoping would put me through to the final.

"Just that I made it here is great, but it would have been nice to pass through again."

Seamus is the star of Ireland's five-person team who are all based abroad.

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