Young Irish athletes left disappointed to finish just outside medal places at Euros
It was a case of so near yet so far for a trio of Northern athletes who were competing for Ireland at the weekend in the European U20 Championships in Boras, Sweden.
Aaron Sexton (200 metres) and Davicia Patterson (400 metres) both finished just out of the medals in fourth position - every athlete's nightmare.
However, this, combined with Sommer Lecky's fifth position in the high jump, illustrated that all three athletes gave their all in high quality events and fell just short of their medal dreams in trying to follow the superb example of silver medallist Kate O'Connor in the heptathlon.
Ulster Rugby Academy member Sexton will be bitterly disappointed at being run of the medals and losing on the line for bronze to Italy's Mattia Donola with both being given the same time of 21.18 secs.
18-year-old Aaron, who was in his last athletics race, will be particularly frustrated that the silver medal performance of Elias Goer of Germany in 21.16 secs was in fact slower than the Bangor man's leading semi-final time of 21.13 secs.
The race was won by Onyema Adigida of the Netherlands in 21.08 seconds.
Aaron, who was the event favourite, said: "I left everything out there. I'm a bit gutted. I built a lead early on but faded in the straight. This result wasn't that I wanted."
Beechmount's Patterson had the consolation of knowing that she would have needed to beat her personal best time of 52.57 secs to medal in the 400 metres. She was fastest qualifier for the final where she adopted her usual aggressive tactics early on. However, her strength ebbed in the home straight and she crossed the line in fourth in 52.72 secs which is still her second fastest ever time.
Polina Millard of an Authorised Neutral country took gold in a European U23 record of 51.72 secs, followed by GB's Amber Anning in 52.18 secs.
Finn Valley World Junior high jump silver medallist Lecky was joint fifth in a solid 1.84 metres behind winner Yaroslava Mahuchikh of the Ukraine who cleared 1.92 metres. Sommer just failed with three decent efforts at 1.87 metres.
Meanwhile in the Olympic Stadium, European bronze medallist Ciara Mageean finished 11th in the 1,500 metres in 4.03.7 secs, which is her fourth fastest performance. The race was won by Laura Muir in 3.58.25.
Ciara said: "I am happy with that. My season is all geared to the World Champs in Doha. I would have liked a faster time and higher position, but that's just my competitive nature."