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Murphy vows to make splash

BARRY MURPHY has his sights on a medal in the 50m breaststroke final at the European Championships in Budapest tonight.

On a day when 17-year-old star Grainne Murphy produced another outstanding performance -- finishing fastest qualifier in the 1,500m freestyle in a new Irish record of 16:10.65, 18 seconds faster than her old time -- sprint ace Barry was sixth fastest going into the 50m breast decider with only two tenths of a second separating the eight finalists.

Now Murphy (24) believes he is ready to become only the third Irishman in history to claim a major championship medal.

Murphy, who clocked 27.60 in last night's semi-final, said: "I'm not making any medal predictions, but I know that I'm right up there. When there is so little between all the guys, you know the race is going to be wide open.

"I have the big-race mentality. So when it comes to the final I know I'll give it my best and if I touch for a medal that will be awesome.

"I've believed for some time that I am capable of winning a major medal and I've now put myself in a great position to do that."

Murphy believes Ireland could be celebrating two medals, with namesake Grainne -- no relation -- going in this evening's 1,500m free final.

This follows on from her terrific performance in the 800m free final on Thursday night, when she missed a medal by just four hundredths of a second.

"Grainne has been immense at these championships. She has sent a real buzz throughout the team," said Barry Murphy.

"I remember watching Michelle Smith in 1996 as a 10-year-old and thinking, 'wow, that's unreal,' but to be here and see Grainne in the flesh doing what she is doing at 17 is mind-blowing.

"If we could both get medals it would be just unbelievable -- and I know it's possible."

New star Grainne is adamant that she feels fresh ahead of her third final of the championships. "Coming out of the 800m was quite tough but I had some physio, a lot of rest, food and I feel great. I'm very pleased with that race and I'm excited about the final."

Meanwhile, Clare Dawson produced a very disappointing performance in the 200m freestyle heats, finishing 21st in 2:01.96, two seconds off her national record.

Also in the 200m free, backstroke specialist Melanie Nocher finished 22nd with a personal best of 2:01.97.

M 50m freestyle final: Barry Murphy

W 200m butterfly: Grainne Murphy

W 50m freestyle: Clare Dawson

W 1500m freestyle final: Grainne Murphy

W 400m freestyle: Grainne Murphy

European Championships,

Live, Eurosport, 8.30, 4.0