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Judge 11th; Tkacheva 26th At NRW Trophy

National team members Sophia Tkacheva and Dillon Judge were back in action this weekend at the NRW Trophy in Dortmund, Germany in their respective categories.

Tkacheva began the event for Team Ireland in the Junior Women’s short programme. She opened her routine with an attempted double Axel and went on to land a double Lutz-double toe loop combination and a solo double loop. She ended her programme with a Level 4 change foot combination spin. A score of 30.05 points put her in 27th place overnight.

In the following day’s free skating, Tkacheva commenced with a double loop and again attempted a double Axel. She included five other jumping passes in her performance and garnered Level 3 for both a flying change foot sit spin and a layback spin. She scored 55.38 points which placed her 24th in the free and she moved up a spot to 26th overall with a total of 85.43.

Judge cleanly landed a triple Salchow-double toe loop combination at the start of the Junior Men’s short programme before attempting a triple loop. He also included a double Axel and two Level 3 spins in his routine. His score of 38.49 points put him in 11th place at the midway stage of the event.

The next day Judge concluded the competition with the free skating. He began with a triple Salchow attempt followed by a double Axel. Later on in the programme another successfully landed double Axel earned a positive grade of execution from the judging panel. He also received full value for a Level 3 flying camel spin. His free score of 66.28 points gave him a combined total of 104.77 points and he remained in 11th place.

“Overall I was pretty dissatisfied as the mistakes I made were not reflected in practices,” Judge said. “However, for the first time, I managed to achieve new spin levels on the flying camel.”

Sam McAllister was third after the Senior Men’s short programme, but had to withdraw from the event due to injury.

Irish Figure Skaters Hit Their Stride At Tayside Trophy

With the season well and truly under way, a trio of Irish figure skaters competed this weekend at the Tayside Trophy in Dundee, Scotland.

After his withdrawal midway through Lombardia Trophy last month, Sam McAllister was back to full health at this event. In the Senior Men’s short programme, he nailed a triple Lutz at the start of his routine and then attempted a triple toe loop-triple toe loop combination. He also landed a double Axel and all three of his spins were awarded Level 4. He scored 58.37 points and stood in fifth place overnight.

The free skating took place earlier today and McAllister included five triple jumps in his programme to “The Sound of Silence” by Disturbed. He once again earned Level 4 for all three of his spins and his step sequence was also given Level 4 by the technical panel. He posted a score of 104.05 points for the free which gave him a total of 162.42 and was sufficient to keep him in fifth place overall. This also meant that he earned some valuable ISU World Standings and Season’s World Ranking points for his efforts.

Dillon Judge opened his short programme in the Junior Men’s category by landing a triple Salchow-double toe loop combination. He also attempted a triple loop and a double Axel. He received a season’s best score of 36.10 which put him in sixth place.

In the free skating, Judge commenced with an attempt at a triple Salchow-double toe loop combination and went on to land two double Axels successfully. He achieved Level 3 for two of his spins and set another season best score in the free of 69.81 for a total of 105.91 points. He moved up to fifth in the final standings.

Sophia Tkacheva embarked on her short programme in the Junior Women’s event with an attempted double Axel. She later landed a double Lutz-double toe loop combination and a solo double loop. She also garned Level 4 for both a layback spin and a change foot combination spin. She attained a lifetime best score of 35.36 points which put her in seventh place after the short.

Tkacheva went for a triple Salchow to open her free skating routine and also tried for a double Axel shortly afterwards. She included a further five jumping passes in the programme to “Voila” by Barbara Pravi and closed out with a Level 4 layback spin the received a positive grade of execution from the judging panel. Her free score of 57.10 was a season’s best and she ended up with a career high total of 92.46 and eighth place.

Robyn Foster was scheduled to participate in the Junior Women’s event, but had to withdraw due to illness.

Speaking after the competition concluded, Karen O’Sullivan, President of the Ice Skating Association of Ireland and Team Leader at Tayside Trophy, said:

“Team Ireland should be proud of how they represented and performed this weekend. Those of us on the other side of the boards are truly proud of them. Both Junior skaters put in season bests in both short and free programmes. This has to be motivational for them that their dedication and hard work is showing growth and development.

“Sam had to dig deep after a nasty fall in the free programme to retain his fifth place position and we are really proud he had the mental strength to do this. He is beginning to show his maturity as a senior skater and the reward if his first World Ranking points has to be a silver lining.”

Irish Figure Skaters Round Out JGP Campaign In Poland

Ireland’s figure skaters concluded this season’s ISU Junior Grand Prix assignments when a team of four athletes competed at the Solidarity Cup this weekend in Gdansk, Poland.

First out of the gate was Sophia Tkacheva (17) in the women’s short programme on Day One of the competition. Skating to “Bust Your Knee Caps (Johnny Don’t Leave Me)” by Pomplamoose, she attempted a double Axel and landed a double Lutz-double toe loop combination and a double loop. She closed out with a Level 4 change foot combination spin that earned a positive grade of execution from the judging panel. She scored 30.13 points to sit in 41st place halfway through the event.

Tkacheva was back the following afternoon to participate in the free skating. In her routine to “Voila” by Barbara Pravi, she tried a triple Salchow to start and also attempted to include a double Axel later on in her performance. She once again executed a Level 4 change foot combination spin and received a free skating score of 43.21 to give her a total of 73.34 points and 46th place overall.

“Honestly, I think that the competition didn’t go well for me,” Tkacheva said. “I think i didn’t put my best foot forward especially in the free skate and I didn’t get to showcase what I’ve worked on over the summer. This is definitely something that I will focus on improving in the future. Nonetheless, this competition was a really big event that I’m really glad I had the opportunity to attend and talk a lot to incredible people like Javier Fernandez, Mark Hanretty and Ted Barton. The atmosphere was nothing like any other competition and I got to learn a lot about myself there too.

“For my next competition I will work on handling any nerves before my skate and my expressiveness during programmes. I will also focus on new spin combinations to get higher levels and better components.”

Dillon Judge (18) landed a triple Salchow-double toe loop combination to begin with in his short programme to “Englishman in New York” by Sting and Charl du Plessis. He also attempted a triple loop and a double Axel to follow. He garnered 33.28 points to occupy 26th place after the first portion of the competition.

Judge opened his free skating routine with attempts at triple Salchow and double Axel. He was awarded positive grades of execution for a Level 3 change foot combination spin as well as a double Axel-double toe loop combination later on in the programme. He scored season bests for his free (59.74) and total (93.02) which saw him finish in 26th place.

“My thoughts on the competition are that the free programme spins showed improvement since my last competition and there is room to improve and up the GOEs,” Judge said. “I will work on the jump GOEs to marginally gain on the TES and the spin consistency to gain better GOE and better levels for the next competition.”

After making history in August by becoming the first ice dance team from Ireland to compete internationally, Laura Hegarty (16) and Kevin Hegarty (19) were back on competitive ice to build on their performance at their first Junior Grand Prix assignment. In the rhythm dance, they skated to “Sombrero Blanco” by Mala Rumba from “The Mask of Zorro” film soundtrack and to “Assassin’s Tango” by John Powell from the “Mr. and Mrs. Smith” film soundrack and negotiated the five required elements. They achieved Level 3 for a rotational lift and earned a season best score of 22.39 points to place 24th in the segment.

The Hegarty siblings were first up in the free dance earlier today and commenced with synchronised twizzles which were their highest scoring element in their programme to “Harem” by Sarah Brightman. The routine also comprised a dance spin, one foot turns sequence, a straightline lift, choreographic steps and slides, a rotational lift and a diagonal step sequence. They post another season best of 34.33 to bring them a total of 56.72 which kept them in 24th place.

“The people were very nice and the event was well organised,” Laura Hegarty said.

“This competition has allowed us to review what elements need to be improved,” Kevin Hegarty said. “We will try to maintain our physical fitness so that we will be in suitable condition when returning to the ice.”

All of Team Ireland’s performances at the Junior Grand Prix in Gdansk can be viewed on the ISU Junior Grand Prix YouTube channel.

Dillon Judge – SP/FS

Sophia Tkacheva – SP/FS

Laura Hegarty/Kevin Hegarty – RD/FD

Irish Figure Skaters Poland Bound For ISU Junior Grand Prix

Dillon Judge (Men), Sophia Tkacheva (Women) and Laura Hegarty and Kevin Hegarty (Ice Dance) take to competitive ice this weekend (29 September – 1 October) as they line up for the Solidarity Cup in Gdansk, Poland, a part of this season’s ISU Junior Grand Prix of Figure Skating.Last month Judge participated in the Junior Grand Prix held in Courchevel, France where he finished in 19th place. He is aiming to build on his performance there.“Since my last competition, I have been working on improving my spin consistency as it was an area that required work,” Judge said. “My goal for this competition is to improve the average spin levels and Grades of Execution.”Tkacheva returns to the Junior Grand Prix circuit after making her debut last season. She finished 7th at last month’s Britannia Cup in Sheffield, United Kingdom. She is currently coached by two-time European medallist Kevin van der Perren and eleven-time British champion Jenna McCorkell.“From my last competition, I’ve been working on consistency of jumps in my program and trying out new spins,” Tkacheva said. “Since the regulations changed this season, I’ve tried various combinations through trial and error, and I was able to find the right spins for both my programmes in time for the JGP in Gdansk.

“My goals for this competition are to skate my programmes to my fullest abilities and to present what I’ve been working on. This will be my second time skating my new short programme in competition, so I’m really looking forward to that and my free as well.”The Hegarty siblings made history for Irish skating when they became the first ice dance team to represent Ireland in an international competition at the Junior Grand Prix in Courchevel, France last month. They have set their sights on skating even better this weekend in Poland.“Our main initiative was to improve our stamina and our elements,” Laura Hegarty said. “We hope to achieve cleaner elements.”“We have been working on polishing our elements, endurance and overall performance,” Kevin Hegarty said. “Our goal is to do as well as we can.”The ISU Junior Grand Prix of Figure Skating Series features skaters aged 13 to 19 (21 for male Ice Dance and Pair Skating partners) from all over the world. The 2022/2023 season marks the 25th edition of the ISU Junior Grand Prix of Figure Skating that was introduced in 1997. This season more than 300 skaters from over 50 different nations are expected to compete in the series. Ireland has been represented on the series since 2008.This week’s Solidarity Cup Junior Grand Prix in Gdansk, Poland will be broadcast live on the ISU’s dedicated YouTube channel. Direct links for each of the segments are as follows:Women’s Short Programme (29 September)Men’s Short Programme (29 September)Ice Dance Rhythm Dance (30 September)Women Free Skating (30 September)Men Free Skating (1 October)Ice Dance Free Dance (1 October)The conversation about the series can also be followed by using the #JGPFigure hashtag on social media.

McAllister Looks Ahead To Lombardia Trophy

Fresh off the back of his bronze medal winning performance at last month’s Britannia Cup, Sam McAllister is competing this weekend (16-18 September) at Lombardia Trophy, an ISU Challenger Series event, in Bergamo, Italy.

McAllister takes to the ice in the men’s short programme tomorrow afternoon (16 September)  at 13:30 (IST) and finishes up with the free skating on Sunday, 18 September which begins at 13:15 (IST).

“Since Britannia Cup, I have been working on cleaning up my programmes and also working on my triple Axel,” McAllister said. “My goals for Lombardia are to put down two good skates and to try some triple Axels in the practices.”

Lombardia Trophy will be streamed live at this link. The competition results can be viewed here.

McAllister Bronze; Tkacheva 7th at Britannia Figure Cup

Sam McAllister and Sophia Tkacheva got their season under way this weekend at the Britannia Figure Cup in Sheffield, United Kingdom.

McAllister opened his short programme with triple toe loop-triple toe loop jump combination and triple Lutz attempts. He later went on to land a double Axel and executed a Level 4 fly sit spin. He posted a score of 54.50 to place third after the first segment of the competition.

Earlier today McAllister was back for the free skating which he began with a double Axel-double Axel sequence. He followed that with a triple flip attempt and a triple Lutz-double toe loop combination and concluded his routine with a Level 4 change foot combination spin. A free score of 104.45 points gave him a combined total of 158.95 and kept him in third place.

Tkacheva participated in the Junior Women’s category short programme on the first day of competition. She commenced with attempts at double Axel and triple Salchow and also landed a double loop. She received a score of 27.38 which had her in seventh overnight.

The second day of competition saw Tkacheva tackle the free skating. She started her routine with an attempted triple Salchow and also went for a double Axel. She included a Level 4 change foot combination spin in her programme and received positive grades of execution for her choreographic sequence and layback spin. She earned 51.65 points in the free which amounted to a total score of 79.03 points and she finished in seventh place overall.

 

Team Ireland Figure Skaters Kick Off Season At Courchevel Junior Grand Prix

The first ISU Junior Grand Prix of Figure Skating in Courchevel, France this weekend provided a showcase for Ireland’s largest ever team to be fielded in this series.

Robyn Foster (18) was the first member of Team Ireland to take to ice at the Patinoire du Forum on the opening day of competition in the Junior Women’s short programme. The Irish Junior national champion attempted a double Axel to start and also included a double flip-double toe loop combination and a double loop in her routine to “A Time For Us” by Nino Rota. She scored 33.03 points to sit in 24th place overnight.

The following evening Foster was back for the free skating. Once more she attempted a double Axel to start and followed that up with a cleanly landed double Axel-double toe loop combination. A flying sit spin received a Level 4 from the technical panel and she earned a segment score of  58.75 points. Her combined total of 91.78 points saw her move up to finish in 23rd place.

“I’m happy that I didn’t give up and I persevered to land my double Axel, but I now know I definitely need to work on my spins and continue to make my triples strong enough to put in my programme,” Foster said. “The event itself was very well organised and I enjoyed being a part of it, especially getting to represent Ireland.”

Dillon Judge (18) was the veteran of the team as this was his second season on the Junior Grand Prix circuit. He performed in the Junior Men’s short programme on the first evening of competition and debuted his new routine to “Englishman In New York” by Sting. He nailed a triple Salchow-double toe loop combination to begin with and then attempted a triple loop, a new element for him this season. He also went for a double Axel and secured a new ISU personal best score of 35.10 to place 19th at the midway point of the competition.

Judge had a day’s break between the short and the free skating which took place earlier this morning. He attempted two triple Salchows (one on its own and one in combination) and two double Axels in his routine. Even though he had to fight for some of his elements, he worked as hard as he could right to the end. He posted a free skating score of 48.43 points which gave him a total of 83.53. He remained in 19th place.

There were lots of mistakes in the programmes which is to be expected at the start of the season, especially with a new programme,” Judge said. “However, during the short the jumps were good considering it was my first time attempting two triples in it increasing the technical difficulty.

“For the next Junior Grand Prix, I am going to work on my spin consistency within the programme as that was the main place I lost points.”

Laura Hegarty (16) and Kevin Hegarty (19) made history in Courchevel as they became the first ice dance team to represent Ireland at an international event. On the second day of competition, the siblings from Dublin skated in the rhythm dance to Sombrero Blanco (Flamenco) and Assassin’s Tango and included a diagonal step sequence, sequential twizzles and two sections of the Argentine Tango pattern in their routine. They scored 20.36 points which put them in 11th place at the end of the first segment of their category.

This afternoon Hegarty and Hegarty were back on the ice for the free dance. Skating to “Harem” by Sarah Brightman, they garnered Level 3 and Level 4 for their synchronised twizzles and also achieved Level 2 for a rotational lift later on in the programme. Their free dance score of 34.25 points improved on their personal best from the national championships in May and they kept 11th place with a total of 54.61.

“Although it was difficult to skate in such a high level competition, we performed to the best of our abilities,” Laura Hegarty said.

“Our main problem was endurance and stamina,” Kevin Hegarty said. “We plan to work on our cardio and overall strength for our Junior Grand Prix in Gdansk, Poland. We will try to improve our edges and general performance as well.”

All of Team Ireland’s performances at the Junior Grand Prix in Courchevel can be viewed on the ISU Junior Grand Prix YouTube channel.

Dillon Judge – SP/FS

Robyn Foster – SP/FS

Laura Hegarty/Kevin Hegarty – RD/FD

Ireland Fields Largest Team Ever At ISU Junior Grand Prix

Ireland will be represented in three different categories at an ISU Junior Grand Prix event for the first time ever with Dillon Judge (Men), Robyn Foster (Women) and Laura Hegarty and Kevin Hegarty (Ice Dance) competing this weekend (25-27 August) in Courchevel, France.

Judge is the veteran of the team having participated in two Junior Grand Prix events last season. In May 2022, he captured his second Junior national title. He is coached by Margaret O’Neill.

“Last season on the JGP I learned how to perform under pressure at such a big event as it was my first season competing at that level,” Judge said. “My goal is to improve my short programme technical difficulty, by improving on my spin levels. Another goal of mine is to improve my short programme’s Programme Component Scores with my new routine.”

Foster is making her Junior Grand Prix debut this season. She claimed her first Junior national title in May 2022. She is currently coached by Marina Serova in Coventry, England.

“I feel privileged to get to skate at such an event represent Ireland and am looking forward to seeing and meeting some great skaters,” Foster said. “I want to skate how I know I can, with a smile on my face.”

The Hegarty siblings from Dublin continue to make history for Irish skating. This weekend they will become the first ice dancers to represent Ireland at a Junior Grand Prix event. They are the reigning Junior national champions.

“We are honoured to be able to represent our country and introduce ice dance as a new genre of figure skating in Ireland,” Laura Hegarty said. “We are looking forward to meeting skaters from other countries.”

“This is the first time to perform our new programmes for the rhythm and free dances in competition,” Kevin Hegarty said. “We hope we use this opportunity to improve our performance skills.”

The ISU Junior Grand Prix of Figure Skating Series features skaters aged 13 to 19 (21 for male Ice Dance and Pair Skating partners) from all over the world. The 2022/2023 season marks the 25th edition of the ISU Junior Grand Prix of Figure Skating that was introduced in 1997. This season more than 300 skaters from over 50 different nations are expected to compete in the series.

This week’s Junior Grand Prix in Courchevel, France will be broadcast live on the ISU’s dedicated YouTube channel. Direct links for each of the segments are as follows:

Women’s Short Programme (25 August)

Men’s Short Programme (25 August)

Ice Dance Rhythm Dance (26 August)

Women Free Skating (26 August)

Men Free Skating (27 August)

Ice Dance Free Dance (27 August)

The conversation about the series can also be followed by using the #JGPFigure hashtag on social media.

Conor Stakelum: No Regrets As He Moves On From Competitive Skating

Last month, Conor Stakelum announced that he was retiring from competitive skating. The four-time European Championships Irish representative sat down for a chat to reflect on a career that has seen him serve as a pioneer for men’s figure skating in Ireland.

ISAI: As an athlete, timing when to retire is always tricky. What prompted you to make this decision?

Conor Stakelum: I was originally planning to continue for another season, but then I was thought about it and I didn’t really think I could achieve much more than what I had already done. I didn’t see that there was anything I could do that would make me feel more satisfied than how I already feel. There’s other things I would like to do with skating while I still can.

ISAI: How long did it take for you to make your mind up?
CS: I thought about it for about a week and then I spoke to my coaches, Simon (Briggs) and Debi (Briggs). We had a discussion about it and it was all very positive. They would have supported me either direction, if I decided to say or if I decided to stop. They trust me to know what’s best for myself and they’ll support me in that. I was a little bit sad. At the same time, it was my own decision. I think it’s actually a luxury as an athlete to retire on your own terms and have a positive feeling. I did everything I wanted to do.

ISAI: Let’s go back to where your journey in skating started. Did the young guy who began skating at a pop-up rink in Booterstown ever imagine having the career that you had?
CS: I had no concept of skating. I knew people on TV did skating and that was a bit different to what I was doing. I didn’t even think I would do a competition. I just enjoyed it. Everything carried on from there. I didn’t start and think ‘I want to go to the Olympics.’ To be fair, I never at any point in my career thought ‘I want to go to the Olympics’, because by the time I was aware of how you qualify for the Olympics, I thought I was probably not going to do that. The year that I went to the Junior Grand Prix in 2012 was the first time I had a concept of trying to get a score. I was trying to get the score for Junior Worlds. That was the first year where I felt like it would mean something big to me, not that it wasn’t a big thing before that to represent your country. That was the first time I had a thought that it would be an achievement if I could go to Junior Worlds. Obviously, I didn’t do that. Then I thought If I could go to Europeans, that would be big because I knew no (Irish) man had done it.

ISAI: You overcame a lot of obstacles throughout your career. You only started skating at the age of twelve. You had difficulties accessing training facilities. You had to balance life as an elite athlete while studying for a degree in microbiology.
CS: When I started Dundalk was open in Ireland and that was great. I probably wouldn’t have continued to skate if it was the situation that exists now. I wasn’t at a point where we would go to Belfast, because you’re not going to drive two and a half hours to do a single flip. Going to Dundalk was feasible. It was easy to go to the rink and it was a lovely facility. I had a really nice coach and lovely friends. It was just a pleasant environment, so obviously I did want to keep going. When that shut down in 2010, I could do a double Axel. I was acceptable as a skater and I wanted to keep skating. From there, it made sense to try and continue, but I didn’t really skate for about six months. I didn’t immediately go to Belfast. My start was not ideal. At the same time, I think the fact that I didn’t skate that much when I was young meant I’ve never had many issues with injury. I was able to go for quite a while. Even now, I don’t struggle with anything. Any injury I’ve ever had has been due to doing something stupid.

ISAI: What would you say was the highlight of your career?
CS: I would like to say it was going to Europeans in 2018 for the first time, but I actually didn’t enjoy that so much because I was so stressed. I would say my highlight was qualifying for Europeans by getting the (minimum technical) score at the preceding Nebelhorn Trophy in 2017. My favourite memory was getting the score in my free programme. If I got that score in my free programme now, I would cry for different reasons! At that point, it was that I got the score that I’d been struggling a lot to get. It was always possible. I had the short, not the free. The free should have been easy for me to get, but I would always pop two jumps or something like that and end up not getting the score or not do good spins or step out of things. There are other memories that are really good as well. Europeans this year. Europeans in Minsk (2019) was also a really nice memory. It was also beautiful seeing places that you just wouldn’t normally visit and to be able to combine that with the experience of representing your country is pretty cool. A lot of it was already unlikely that it would ever happen. Even the bits that were awful at the time, I don’t think of them as badly as I thought of them when they happened. They’re just funny. The things I thought were disasters, most of them I now find quite funny to tell as stories.

ISAI: What other moments stand out in your career?
CS: Competing on the Junior Grand Prix because I got to go to Lake Placid. I had never been to America before. Actually I’ve never been since! That was amazing. Also the Autumn Classic in Canada because (Yuzuru) Hanyu was in it and we were in the same group in the short programme. That was amazing. He was such a nice guy as well. I skated quite well so that makes it even a nicer memory. I got to meet Hanyu, and the place was so full with all the fans who were just fans of everybody as well. That was a brilliant event even though it was just a normal Challenger Series. I’ll always remember that one.

ISAI: You have said that you have done everything you wanted to do in competitive skating. Do you have any regrets?
CS: There are obviously things I would like to do if they were possible. I just was never going to go to the Olympics, but it was cool when my friends got to go. With the way Worlds work, I knew that I probably wasn’t going to get to go to Worlds. I’ve been close to the short programme score, but then the free, you need like 64 and the highest I’ve had was 55 clean. People might say I could add in this or add in that, but you have got to add them and do them perfectly. I didn’t really feel that was attainable for me. I wouldn’t say they were things I really wanted to do, because I never really fixated on them as a goal. Going to Europeans was my goal.

ISAI: What are your plans for the future?
CS: I am not completely finished with skating, so watch and see what I do next. I’m just finished with competing.

ISAI: What would be your one piece of advice for up and coming Irish skaters?
CS: My best piece of advice to any skater is to run your programmes. Focus on yourself and your own skating. Don’t try to compare yourself to everyone else and everyone you see on the TV. Try to make your own little improvements and enjoy the opportunities.

ISAI: Thank you Conor for representing Ireland so well. We are very proud of all you have achieved.
CS: Thank you! I never really would have done it without the support of the Association. I wouldn’t have known that it was possible. I watched Europeans on TV and I only saw people do triple Axels and quads. You just think everyone does quads and that’s what Europeans is for, but it’s not. It’s for all the countries in Europe if you are an acceptable standard or what the ISU deems an acceptable standard. If the Association hadn’t shown me how to get there, with all the support I’ve received over the years and all the competitions I was sent to, it wouldn’t have been possible. I want to thank Simon and Debi because they changed my skating completely. They put all the pieces together and, with all the support and advice over the past few years, they made things easier for not only me, but for the people I train with. It was a big thing as well to have such a great group of friends to train with who motivated each other and there was just a great environment, great atmosphere, great coaches. It was always enjoyable. Obviously I didn’t enjoy every day, but the whole experience was enjoyable because of everyone involved.

Trio of Speed Skaters for 2022/2023 Irish Team

Three speed skaters have been selected to represent Ireland in international competitions for the 2022/2023 season.

Ryan McAnuff has been listed to the National Team for the seventh consecutive season. During the past season while training and competing, he also graduated from medical school at the University of Limerick.

“I am very excited to once again be named to the Irish National Short Track Speed Skating Team,” Ryan McAnuff said. “This off-season has allowed me to reset mentally and physically, while still training very hard. I will proudly represent Ireland this season with a major goal being to continue to close the gap between myself and the top skaters in world. Another goal of mine is to work on my race tactics and try new track patterns and strategies during practice and racing.”

Like his brother Ryan, Sean McAnuff is on the National Team again for the seventh time in a row. He placed 35th at the 2022 World Short Track Speed Skating Championships in Montreal, Canada. Since December 2020, he has been training in Budapest, Hungary.

“I have really enjoyed an extended rest for my body since the World Championships this past April,” Sean McAnuff said. “I am looking forward to getting back to training and continuing to develop my technique, endurance and confidence in racing. I will strive to make a positive impact on the athletes and other I connect with in the sport world, encouraging them along their journey. I have really enjoyed this aspect of skating over the past few years, as I notice that is a huge motivational component for so many speed skaters!”

Liam O’Brien has been selected for the National Team for the fourth time. Earlier this year, he finished 37th at the 2022 World Short Track Speed Skating Championships in Gdansk, Poland and just missed out an 2022 Beijing Olympic quota spot in the 1500 metres. He currently trains in Seongnam, Republic of Korea.

“Last season unfortunately did not go as planned and I had to deal with many ups and downs with injuries and with COVID,” O’Brien said. “In the coming season I hope to be challenging the top skaters in all events and pushing into the main round at World Cup and Championship events.”

National Team Members (Short Track Speed Skating):

Senior Men – Ryan McAnuff (County Antrim/County Derry/County Fermanagh), Sean McAnuff (County Antrim/County Derry/County Fermanagh), Liam O’Brien (County Cavan/County Leitrim/County Mayo)

You can learn more about our national team members here.