Ireland secured a first European athletics gold medal since 1998 after their 4x400-meter mixed relay team produced a magnificent performance in Rome on Friday night. 

The Irish quartet of Chris O'Donnell, Rhasidat Adeleke, Thomas Barr, and Sharlene Mawdsley finished in 3:09.92, 0.77 seconds ahead of Italy in second place. 

The highly fancied Dutch quartet, led by Femke Bol, finished in third place, 0.81 seconds behind the Irish team. 

Sligo native O'Donnell gave Ireland a solid start with a time of 46.09, leaving the Irish in fourth place when handing over to the superb Adeleke, who produced a time of 49.53 to leave Ireland in first at the second handover. 

Barr, a 400-meter hurdler, produced a stunning leg of 44.90 to keep Ireland in contention going into the final leg. 

Mawdsley, who started her leg in second place, produced an outstanding 49.40 to hit the front within the final 100 meters and claim gold for Ireland. 

The performance set a new national record, shaving 1.61 seconds off the previous record set by the same trio at the World Athletics Relays in the Bahamas last month. 

Speaking after the race, O'Donnell said the European gold medal was "everything we've dreamed of". 

"When I started going into the blocks, I really felt I was doing it for the whole country," O'Donnell told RTÉ Sport. "I wasn't nervous, I was really excited because I've seen these guys next to me and the support we have in the stadium. It's unbelievable, we just can't get over it." 

Barr savored victory, stating that European gold medals "don't come around too often", while Adeleke said the victory "means so much". 

Mawdsley said the Irish fans in the stadium played an important part in spurring the team to victory. 

"Honestly it's everything to me, probably everything to the team. The whole stadium was just amazing and the Irish fans turn up every time and it's just super," Mawdsley told RTÉ Sport. 



What a team performance!!!😍


Full result: #IrishAthletics

— Athletics Ireland (@irishathletics) June 7, 2024

President of Ireland Michael D. Higgins congratulated the relay team for their performance on Friday night. 

"Congratulations to the @irishathletics 4x400m mixed relay team for their fantastic achievement in winning the gold medal at the European Athletics Championships," Higgins said in a post on X, formerly Twitter. 

Sports Minister Catherine Martin also paid tribute to the Irish team, stating that they are "once again turning heads on the international stage". 

Barr, Adeleke, O'Donnell, and Mawdsley have joined Sonia O'Sullivan as the only Irish athletes to win gold in the 90-year history of the European Athletics Championships.