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Irish relay team tops times to ease into Rome final

Ireland women's 4x400m relay team were quickest in qualifying at the European Athletics Championships on Tuesday morning as they comfortably reached the final.

Sophie Becker, Phil Healy, Lauren Cadden and Sharlene Mawdsley, who won gold in the 4x400m mixed relay on Friday, clocked 3:24.81 to win the second semi-final.

Mawdsley started the anchor leg in fourth but she moved through impressively in the final 20 metres to secure victory ahead of France and Belgium.

The Tipperary athlete was set to be rested after finishing eighth in the 400m final on Monday night but she stepped in after Kelly McGrory picked up a niggle.

Rhasidat Adeleke sat out the race after claiming silver in the 400m final and following her gold alongside Mawdsley in the 4x400m mixed relay.

Ireland have a chance to clinch a third gold medal at the championships in Wednesday night's final after Ciara Mageean also triumphed in the women's 1500m.

The men's 4x400m relay team missed out on a place in the final after finishing 10th overall in qualifying.

Jack Raftery, Chris O’Donnell, Sean Doggett and Callum Baird ran a season's best 3:04.41 to finish fifth in the first semi-final.

Ballymena & Antrim sprinter Baird ran a fantastic final leg, pipping Switzerland's 400m individual finalist Lionel Spitz for fifth spot in a split time of 45.15.

The men’s 4x100m team of Bori Akinola, Mark Smyth, Colin Doyle and Israel Olatunde were seventh in their semi-final in 39.34, a season’s best but not enough to progress.