CATRIONA Cuddihy has insisted that the embarrassing row over Ireland's 4x400m relay team has nothing to do with Ulster teenager Joanna Mills, who saw her Olympic dreams dashed yesterday.
Cuddihy was reinstated to the relay team yesterday at Mills' expense following her appeal to the Olympic Council of Ireland, three days before the opening ceremony in London.
The Kilkenny athlete was in the original line-up but was then dropped after Mills launched an appeal for her non-selection but Cuddihy made a successful counter-appeal to the OCI and will fly out to London tomorrow to join the rest of the team.
"I know how Joanna is feeling, it is awful to lose out and I really wish we could all have gone," Cuddihy said after the decision was reached. "We shared a room together for a week last month at the European Championships.
"I sought out and spoke to her coach last weekend at the club championships. This was absolutely nothing to do with Joanna, it wasn't personal.
"It was about the decision of Athletics Ireland's appeal committee to overturn the original selection which I thought was seriously flawed."
Mills may yet appeal the OCI decision to the international Court of Arbitration for Sport which has set up an office in London for the Games to resolve any disputes. The 19-year-old was frustrated that the decision seemed to be based on prior commitments from the AAI rather than performance.
"A strong emphasis seems to have been placed on commitment to the relay team by the high performance director of AAI (Kevin Ankrom) when making his final considerations," the Ballymena & Antrim runner said.
"He seems to have not considered that I tried to contact and set up a meeting with him regarding the relay in December 2011. And that when he finally did contact me in May, I made a full commitment to the team by changing my plans for the rest of the season -- and particularly my preparations for the World Junior Championships -- by attending the European Championships and participating fully in the relay practices.
"I felt I had shown a consistency of performance last year and so far this year to warrant a place, without the need for arbitration," Mills added. "But performance seems to have been lost in this process."