Irish Olympic swimmer Brendan Hyland has likened Mona McSharry to Cristiano Ronaldo ahead of the 100m Women’s Breaststroke Final in the early hours of Tuesday morning.
Hyland was speaking after his performance in the 200m Men’s Butterfly, where he came third on his Olympic debut.
But despite his performance, the 26-year-old left a special mention for McSharry who became the first Irish swimmer in 25 years to reach an Olympic final on Monday morning.
“Mona is a superstar,” he told RTE Sport. “I was telling my mates that you hear the stories about Cristiano Ronaldo and his work-ethic and his professionalism, that’s what she’s like.
I’m 26 and I have been around a long time and she’s phenomenal.
She deserves whatever she gets.
She’s been the best at every age [group] and I’ve watched her the whole way up.
She’ll love it tomorrow and she’ll smash it. She's deadly.
🗣 ‘The support I’ve got from back home has been unbelievable. I literally thought about it the whole way in that swim today.’
Brendan Hyland always wears his heart on his sleeve, and today saw his dream come true at Tokyo 2020.pic.twitter.com/hPV0jo7WGS
— Swim Ireland (@swimireland) July 26, 2021
And Hyland is not the only one to heap praise on McSharry ahead of her Olympic final.
RTE’s swimming analyst Earl McCarthy also showered praise on Ireland’s latest swimming star and commended the work that has brought her to these heights.
“To take a young girl from the age of 10 winning at Mosney to an Olympic final in the space of ten years is a phenomenal achievement,” he said.
— RTÉ Sport (@RTEsport) July 26, 2021
“Ballyshannon is now the most successful pool in Ireland. Her coach Grace has taken her from the age of 10 to an Olympic final, I think that’s a phenomenal story and is one that should be investigated.
“What did she do to make this child so fast and how did you get this formula? Questions need to be asked because. If it can be done in Ballyshannon why can’t it be done at other pools?
“Don’t forget the coaches, the parents and the community that brought her to where she is today.”