Flora Duffy won Bermuda's first-ever Olympic gold medal in the women's triathlon as Limerick's Carolyn Hayes battled to a commendable 23rd place finish.
Speaking to RTÉ Sport afterwards, Hayes said: "I've mixed emotions. I made a hard job of it today. One split decision in the swim cost me but I’m thrilled.
"If you told me two years ago I’d be on the start line of the Olympics I wouldn’t have believed you."
Hayes struggled in the water and found herself with an uphill task heading into the second discipline, the 40-kilometre cycle - "Every lap my back wheel was going from under me," she said of the slippery and wet conditions.
However, the 33-year-old pushed her way up through the field, and continued to pick off fellow competitors to move into the top 25.
Hayes' problem in the swim came after beginning on the left side of the start pontoon, she said, and after taking a straight line, needed to go with the left or right group, and opted for the right, which she said "ended up being the wrong decision".
The water was rougher on the right and it was a slower group with a couple of "argy bargies" and bunching up.
"I'm used to punches, I played water polo before, but out there, it's a totally different ball game."
The Limerick woman added: "To be able to say I'm an Olympian and to have completed the race is a dream come true.
"I’m extremely proud, I only ever wanted to be a doctor, so this is a big bonus and hopefully my parents back home are proud of the performance.
"I’m going to be leaving here with a very positive experience. I’m hoping I can only progress further with the sport."
Duffy delivered a dominating run leg to convincingly win on a stormy Tokyo course having been part of a group of seven who broke clear at the start of the 40km bike leg.
The 33-year-old then stamped her authority on the race with a fantastic performance over the 10km run to finish in one hour, 53.36 minutes.
Hayes ended the race six minutes and 34 seconds behind the gold medallist.
Briton Georgia Taylor-Brown overcame a flat tyre near the end of the bike leg to chase back and take silver, 74 seconds behind, following the silver taken by compatriot Alex Yee in the men's race on Monday.
Katie Zaferes won bronze for the United States.