There is also always time for cocktails....
Here Come The Girls - The Women of Team Ireland for London 2012.
Euro 2012 might be over, but the main attraction for this ‘Summer of Sport’ is still to come. Once Friday July 27th rolls around our televisions will be permanently tuned in to the events of London 2012. We’re feeling good about Team Ireland’s chances, and we can’t wait to cheer on our country’s finest athletes – especially the amazing ladies who made the grade! Here’s a handy guide to the women who will be representing us at the Olympics.
Katie Taylor – Boxing (Lightweight)
One of our absolute best hopes for Olympic Gold, we are huge fans of this Wicklow woman. The twenty-five year old World Champion and her coach Pete (also her father!) are a force to be reckoned with.
Derval O’Rourke – 100m Hurdle
Cork native Derval is one of Ireland’s most recognisable athletes. Aged thirty, she is the Irish national record holder in 60m and 100m hurdles. She’s already competed in both the 2004 and 2008 Olympics.
Catriona Jennings - Marathon
Donegal woman Jennings ran her lifetime best in her qualifier in Rotterdam back in April, another impressive display from the thirty-one year old after her women’s mini marathon win last year.
Linda Byrne – Marathon
Another Dubliner, Byrne was the first of the Irish female marathon runners to make the qualifying standard for London. She is the reigning national cross-country champion and has previously won the women’s mini marathon.
Ava Hutchinson – Marathon
Twenty-nine year old Hutchinson was born in born in Dublin, but raised in Hampshire (where her dad worked on Who Wants To Be A Millionaire!). Ava had the fastest qualifying time of the four Irish gals who made the grade for this event.
Fionnuala Britton – 3000m/5000m/10,000m Steeplechase
Wicklow woman Britton has represented Ireland in the steeplechase at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, the 2009 World Championships in Athletics, and twice at the European Athletic Championships. The twenty-seven year old is the reigning European Cross Country champion.
Stephanie Reilly – 3000m Steeplechase
Another Wicklow native, thirty-four year old Reilly attended Providence College, Rhode Island, USA on an athletics scholarship. Some trivia; the steeplechase was an event only for men until the Beijing Olympics introduced the women’s race in 1998.
Joanne Cuddihy – 400 Metres
Twenty-nine year old Kilkenny native Cuddihy is a qualified doctor. Athletic ability obviously runs in the family, as her sister also runs the 400m. Joanne made the 2008 Olympic team but never made it past the heats after injury issues.
Olive Laoughnane – 20km Race Walk
Thirty-six year old Loughrea native Loughnane is well used to representing her county at big occasions, having already been part of Team Ireland for the 2000, 2004 and 2008 Olympics.
Deirdre Ryan – High Jump
Dublin woman Deirdre Ryan was named Athlete of the Year at last year’s National Athletics Awards. The thirty year old was one of the first Irish athletes to secure her place in London after three years of full-time training in Germany.
Tori Pena – Pole Vault
Californian-born, Tori Pena qualifies for team Ireland thanks to her Derry native grandmother. She’s legit in her love of Ireland, as she once competed in the World Irish Dancing Championships! The twenty-four old set an Irish indoor pole vault record last year, and bested it herself in April of this year.
Sycerika Mc Mahon – Swimming (100m Breaststroke)
Another very exciting prospect for the future, seventeen year old Antrim girl Mc Mahon was the recipient of the 2011 Texaco Young Sports Star of the Year award. A gold medal winner at European Junior Championships in 2011 for the second time, she’s also a triple Youth Commonwealth Gold medalist.
Gráinne Murphy – Swimming (800m Freestyle)
Wexford teen Murphy trains at the High Performance Centre at the University of Limerick under Belgian coach Ronald Claes. She was named The Irish Times Sports Woman of the year in 2010, and was a silver medalist at the European Championships the same year.
Melanie Nocher – Swimming (200m Backstroke)
Twenty-four year old Nocher, from County Down, states on her own website that missing out on the 2008 games left her shocked and disappointed. She’s since used that as motivation, and it’s clear her approach has paid off.
Annalise Murphy - Sailing
It’s going to be fun following this Dubliner’s Olympic experience; the twenty-two year old has been blogging her sporting adventures so far, giving fans a real insider look at the games. Annalise says she was acting as crew for her mum by the age of six, so it’s in the blood.
Hannah Craig – Canoeing
Another qualifier for Antrim to be proud of. Twenty-seven year old Craig finished 25th at the European Canoe Slalom Championships in Augsberg in early May. As the highest position by a boat not already qualified for the Games, she made one of two final spots, alongside Switzerland.
Sanita Puspure - Rowing
Fourth placed at the Olympic qualifier in Lucerne last May, Latvian native Puspure has now made her home in Cork, and is a welcome addition to the team as she’s the only qualifier in this discipline.
Lisa Kearney – Judo
Belfast lady Kearney is Ireland’s first female competitor in Judo at the Olympics. The twenty-three year old studied at Herriot Watt University and trains regularly in Edinburgh. She’s previously been Irish champion at both junior and senior level.
Chloe Magee – Badminton
Donegal woman Magee will compete in her second Olympics this year. The twenty-three year old didn’t make the grade in the mixed doubles, where she competed with her brother, but solo she’s ranked 44th in the world.
Aileen Morrison – Triathlon
Thirty year old Derry native Morrison is a very good prospect for Team Ireland, currently ranked 13th in the world. She claimed a silver medal at the Madrid World Series in May, the best performance ever by an Irish triathlete.
Natayla Coyle – Modern Pentathlon
Meath woman Coyle has only been competing on an international level for three years, but has wasted no time in making a serious impression. The twenty-one year old is the first Irish athlete to qualify for this event since the 1980 games.