Northern Ireland have broken their record for the most medals won at a Commonwealth Games as they are now guaranteed to win at least 16 medals in Birmingham.
Team NI equalled their record tally, which was originally set at the 1986 Games in Edinburgh, on Thursday but quickly broke it just a day later the Men’s Fours are now assured of at least silver after reaching their Final.
Led by skip Martin McHugh, the team fought back from an early deficit to ease to an 18-9 win over Wales and book their place in tomorrow’s decider, where they will face India.
It is a superb achievement for the team, who have smashed records across the board in Birmingham as they won their first medal in the pool when Barry McClements won bronze, and went on to win two more through Bethany Firth (gold) and Daniel Wiffen (silver).
Kate O’Connor secured an incredible silver in the heptathlon, Chloe MacCombe did likewise in the triathlon and Rhys McClenaghan joined them by finishing second on the pommel horse. On the judo mat there was success for Nathon Burns and Yasmin Javadian, who both claimed bronzes.
As tends to be the case at the Commonwealths, boxing has been Northern Ireland’s strongest event as no fewer than seven of our fighters are in Semi-Finals and therefore guaranteed medals.
Amy Broadhurst, Dylan Eagleson, Jude Gallagher, Carly McNaul, Eireann Cathlin Nugent and the Walsh siblings, Aidan and Michaela, are all in Semi-Final action on Saturday.
And the Men’s Fours will bring home at least silver after accounting for Wales in their Semi-Final on Friday evening, with McHugh, lead Sam Barkley, second Adam McKeown and third Ian McClure performing admirably.
They were 7-4 down after six ends as their opponents got off to a hot start, and the Welsh kept it up by staying 9-7 ahead after nine ends, but that preceded Northern Ireland’s brilliant comeback.
They were ahead two ends later with a three-point 11th end and added another in the 13th to stretch away to set up the winner-takes-all clash with India, who defeated England in their Semi-Final, at noon on Saturday.