Three Titles Decided At 2024 Irish Figure Championships

Over the course of this weekend, three podiums were decided at the 2024 Irish National Figure Skating Championships in Dundee, Scotland.

For Carolane Soucisse and Shane Firus (Co. Wexford), the competition was a case of out with the old and in with the new. In the Senior Ice Dance Rhythm Dance, they skated their Rick James medley routine for the last time. They opened with a Level 3 Midline Step Sequence and followed with Level 4 Sequential Twizzles for Soucisse and Level 3 for Firus. Their Pattern Type Step Sequence was graded Level 2 and then went on to execute their Choreographic Rhythm Sequence. They closed out with a Level 4 Rotational Lift and garnered 69.74 points, a new Irish record.

A few hours later, Soucisse and Firus were back to debut their brand new “When Harry Met Sally” themed Free Dance. To the dulcet tones of Harry Connick Jr.’s “It Had To Be You”, they embarked on their routine with a Level 4 Stationary Lift-Rotational Lift combination. They next executed a Level 3 One Foot Turn Sequence and their Choreographic Character Step Sequence. They then picked up Level 4 for their Dance Spin and Level for their Serpentine Step Sequence. They concluded their programme in style with a Level 4 Synchronised Twizzle Sequence, a Level 4 Straight-line Lift and a Choreographic Dance Lift. They received a score of 100.33 to give themselves a total of 170.07 points and a second consecutive national title.

It has been a hectic time for the duo since their 20th place finish at the 2024 World Championships in Montreal, Canada just over two months ago.

“For us it was a very busy gap,” Firus explained. “We had about a week and a half break after Worlds and then we dived back into choreography for the new season.”

“We got married in Mexico at the beginning of May,” Soucisse continued. “Then when we got back we went full on into training our new free dance. We didn’t go back to our rhythm dance until about two weeks before Nationals.”

Both competitors in the Junior Women’s event were making their debuts in the category which took place on the first day of the event. Allie Peterson (Co. Galway) performed first in the Short Programme in her maiden Irish Nationals. She landed a triple Salchow to start that she had intended to be in combination. She then singled a planned double Axel, but recovered with a Level 4 Camel Spin. An unexpected fall out of nowhere only briefly interrupted her skate right before she began a Level 2 Step Sequence. She performed a double Lutz and wrapped up with a Level 4 Flying Sit Spin and a Level 4 Change Foot Combination Spin. She received a score of 33.54 points to put herself in first place overnight.

Saoirse O’Sullivan (Co. Tipperary) moved up to Juniors this year after claiming the Advanced Novice title at last year’s Nationals. She opened with a double flip-double toe loop combination and then fell on a double Axel that was underrotated. She was given Level 1 for her Camel Spin before she landed a double Lutz. She ended her routine with a Level 4 Flying Sit Spin, a Level 2 Step Sequence and a Level 3 Change Foot Combination Spin. A score of 30.74 meant she was in second going into the Free Skating.

Peterson’s free programme was disrupted by an equipment issue right at the outset that required some time to address. Once she got back to skating, she initially popped an Axel before reeling off a Level 4 Change Foot Combination Spin. She landed a double toe loop and stepped out of a triple Salchow. She also included a double Lutz-double toe loop combination jump, a Level 3 Flying Sit Spin, a Choreographic Step Sequence, a double flip and a Level Flying Change Foot Combination Spin. She scored 57.21 points for the free for a combined total of 90.75 points and her first Irish Junior crown.

“It was definitely an interesting experience skating at Irish Nationals for the first time,” Peterson said. “It went pretty well considering my previous injury and also not having as much training as I normally do. I’m really excited to see where I go from here.”

O’Sullivan started off with a double loop and then fell on a double Salchow-double toe loop combination. She bounced back with a double flip, a Level 1 Camel Spin and a double Lutz. She landed a double flip-single Axel-single Axel before a wobble on a double Salchow. She completed a second double loop and rounded out her free a Level 3 Flying Sit Spin, a Choreographic Step Sequence and a Level 3 Change Foot Combination Spin. She narrowly came second in the free with a score of 56.61 and won silver with a total of 87.35 points.

“It was very different to last year because I had a competition this year,” O’Sullivan said. “It obviously wasn’t one of my best skates, but I think the bad skates help me more than the good skates because I will learn a lot more from the skate I had.”

Caoilfhionn Kavanagh (Co. Louth) was competing in her first Irish Nationals in the Advanced Novice Girls event. In her short programme, she began with a double Salchow and a Level 3 Camel Spin. A Level 1 Step Sequence was followed by a single Axel. She fell on a double flip combination jump and finished off with a Level 3 Change Foot Combnation Spin.

Kavanagh returned for the free skating and set out her stall with a single Salchow and single flip-single Axel-single Axel jump sequence. She then attempted a double loop and did a Level 2 Flying Change Foot Sit spin. A single flip-single toe loop jump combination ensued before a double toe loop. She closed with a Level 1 Change Foot Combination Spin, a Choreographic Step Sequence and a single Salchow. Her free score of 30.52 gave her a total of 50.57 points and the gold medal.

“My first experience at Irish Nationals was very nice,” Kavanagh said. “I was very lucky to meet all the people I met. All the other skaters were lovely and overall even though everything didn’t go as planned, it was still a very nice thing to experience with the people around me.”


Irish Figure Skaters Ready To Take The Ice At Nationals

The cream of Irish figure skating talent assembles in Dundee, Scotland this weekend (8-9 June) for the Irish National Figure Skating Championships which take place over the course of two days at the Dundee Ice Arena. A total of seven skaters compete at the championships with four separate categories being held.

Dillon Judge (Co. Antrim) won his first Senior Men’s title last year. 2023/2024 was his first complete season in the senior ranks and he concluded his international events with a bronze medal at Triglav Trophy in Jesenice, Slovenia back in April. He is coached by Barbara Luoni at Ice Lab in Bergamo, Italy, an ISU Centre of Excellence.

Carolane Soucisse and Shane Firus (Co. Wexford) have had a busy and rewarding 2024. The 2023 Irish ice dance champions became the first ice dancers to represent Ireland at both the ISU European Figure Skating Championships in January and the ISU World Figure Skating Championships in March of this year. The recently married duo train in Toronto, Canada with Carol Lane, Jon Lane, Juris Razgulajevs and Marc Andre Servant.

Saoirse O’Sullivan (Co. Tipperary) was crowned Advanced Novice Girls champion at last year’s Nationals. This time round she competes in the Junior Women’s event. She is coached by Margaret O’Neill in Nottingham, England.

Allie Peterson (Co. Galway) makes her Irish Nationals debut this year in the Junior Women’s category. She trains under the tutelage of Tammy Gambill and her team in Colorado Springs, United States of America.

Sophia Tkacheva (Co. Wexford) is the reigning and two-time Junior Women’s champion and will compete again in the Junior Women’s event this weekend in Dundee. Her coaches are two-time European medallist Kevin van der Perren and eleven-time British champion Jenna McCorkell.

Caoilfhionn Kavanagh (Co. Louth) skates in the Advanced Novice Girls event in her first ever Nationals. She works with coach Fabrice Masachs in Riihimäki, Finland.

Regular updates from the Irish National Figure Skating Championships will be posted on the Ice Skating Association of Ireland’s social media accounts.

Starting Order/Results Page

Judge Bags Bronze At Triglav Tropy

Dillon Judge has finished third at this weekend’s Triglav Trophy in Jesenice, Slovenia.

Judge began his final international of the season with yesterday’s short programme. He opened with a triple salchow-double toe loop combination and then stepped out of a triple Lutz. He executed a Level 3 change foot camel spin and a Level 3 change foot combination spin before his final jump, a double Axel. He closed his routine with a Level 2 flying sit spin and a Level 3 step sequence. He earned 52.55 points, his best score in the segment all season, which put him in 3rd place overnight.

Earlier today, Judge performed in the free skating. He began his programme by nailing a triple toe loop. As in the short, he had issues again with the triple Lutz and then fell on a double Axel. He attained Level 4 for a flying sit spin and cleanly landed a triple Salchow. A Level 2 change foot camel spin garnered him a positive grade of execution. Things did not go his way on a subsequent triple Salchow-single Axel jump sequence and on a double Lutz-Euler-single Salchow. He received Level 2 for his step sequence before singling a planned double loop. He ended with a Level 4 change foot combination spin and a choreographic step sequence. He scored 82.51 points for the free which gave him a total 135.06 points and the bronze medal.

New ISAI Child Safety Officer Appointed

The Ice Skating Association of Ireland (ISAI) is pleased to announce the appointment of Deirdre Costello as ISAI Child Safety Officer.

The ISAI is committed to promoting and protecting the safety and wellbeing of all children and young people who participate in ISAI activities through fostering a culture where children and young people feel safe and welcome. Contact details for the ISAI Child Safety Officer and further information on the ISAI’s safeguarding policies and measures can be found at here.

Soucisse And Firus 20th At World Championships

Carolane Soucisse and Shane Firus have finished 20th in the ice dance event at ISU World Figure Skating Championships in Montreal, Canada.
Soucisse and Firus skated 21st of the 36 couples in the ice dance event with only the top 20 teams advancing to the free. Performing to a medley of Rick James songs for the 1980s themed rhythm dance, they opened with a Midline Step Sequence and followed that with a Level 4 Synchronised Twizzle Sequence. They next nailed a Pattern Type Step Sequence and a Choreographic Rhythm Sequence. They closed out strongly with a difficult Level 4 Rotational Lift. They earned 68.04 points, a new season best, for 19th place in the rhythm and qualified for the following day’s free dance.
In the free, the Irish national champions skated third out of all the competitors in the event. Performing to “Hier Encore” by Charles Aznavour and an instrumental version of “La Bohème”, they opened with a Choreographic Character Step Sequence to set the tone for the routine. They followed that with a lift combination comprising a Straight Line Lift and a Rotational Lift and a Diagonal Step Sequence and One Foot Turns Sequence. Their Synchronised Twizzle Sequence was graded a Level 4 by the technical panel, the highest possible, as was their Dance Spin. They closed with a Choreographic Slide, a Choreographic Spin and a Level 4 Stationary Lift earning 103.63 points, a new Season Best and 18th place for their free. Their combined total score of 171.67 points was also a new Season Best.
“The rhythm dance was pretty stressful because the field is really strong and large and we knew there was no room for mistakes,” Soucisse said. “Being able to present our free dance was truly a gift for us and we took it as such and made the most of it.”

“We wanted to be very patient and calm and enjoy the experience,” Firus said. “It was great to skate here in Montreal.”


Soucisse And Firus Break The Ice For Ireland At Worlds

A big week lies ahead for Irish ice skating as Carolane Soucisse and Shane Firus become the first ice dancers to represent Ireland at an ISU World Figure Skating Championships.

This year the event is being held in Montreal, Canada with the competition beginning on 20 March. Soucisse and Firus will appear in the rhythm dance on Friday, 22 March where they will be aiming to be among the top 20 teams to qualify to the following day’s free dance on Saturday, 20 March.

In January, Soucisse and Firus competed at the ISU European Figure Skating Championships in Kaunas, Lithuania where they finished in 13th place. Since their impressive performance at Europeans, they have gained new fans and are looking forward this week to competing in a city with very strong links to Ireland and a vibrant Irish community.

“We’re very excited to be competing again at another championship event,” Firus said. “We had a great time at Europeans and we are hoping to carry that through to this competition and lay down two solid performances and really represent Ireland well.”

“Since we’ve arrived we have felt the support already,” Soucisse said. “We weren’t expecting that much support. People have been coming up to us and sending us messages. Everybody likes Ireland and we are really proud to be here representing the country. It’s an honour.”

Worlds were first held in 1896. Ireland made its debut at the championships in 2009 when Clara Peters skated in the women’s event. Peters also participated in the 2010, 2011 and 2012 editions.

In order to earn entry to the championships, eligible skaters must attain a minimum technical element score in both of their programmes during the current or preceding season. The championships are held annually and this is the first time they take place in Montreal since 1932.

The ISU World Figure Skating Championships will be broadcast on the Skating ISU YouTube channel. Geographical restrictions may apply. The results of the championships can be followed on the event results page and on social media via the #WorldFigure and #FigureSkating hashtags.

O’Brien Sets Two National Record To Close Out Season At Worlds

Liam O’Brien rounded out his season this weekend at the ISU World Short Track Speed Skating Championships in Rotterdam, The Netherlands.

On the opening day of competition, O’Brien lined up in the qualification rounds in all three distances. He first tackled the 1500m quarterfinals where he was drawn in Heat 5. In a cagey race, he was in contention right up until the final lap, but had to settle for fourth in a time of 2:27.896. In Heat 2 of the 500m preliminaries, he managed to stay out of trouble coming home in third in 42.522 which was good enough to advance him to the 500m heats. Drawn in Heat 6 in the outside lane, he was never really in contention from the start and finished fifth in a time of 42.978. The final distance of Day One was the 1000m and O’Brien found himself racing in Heat 1 of the preliminaries. In a tight contest, he sneaked into third place in a new national record of 1:26.013 and advanced to the heats on time. He concluded a busy day of racing in Heat 3 starting off strongly before coming into contact with another skater which threw O’Brien off course. He valiantly tried to catch up to the rest of the field, but had to be content with 5th place in a time of 1:29.815.

Day Two saw O’Brien race in the repechage rounds of the 1500m and 500m. In Heat 4 of the 1500m repechage quarterfinals, the opening pace was quite slow and did not heat up until seven laps were left. O’Brien fought hard, but fell behind with two laps to go finishing fifth in 2:38.563. In the classification for the distance, he stood 43rd overall. He was back on the ice shortly afterwards for the 500m repechage quarterfinals. With just the winner of Heat 1 gaining automatic qualification and only two spots available for the fastest second place finishers on time across the eight heats, it was always going to be a tall order to advance. However, O’Brien put his best foot forward and was just inches away from securing second in his heat. He had to make do with third place with the consolation of a new Irish record of 42.145. His overall ranking for the distance was 35th.

O’Brien was dressed more than appropriately in green for the final day of racing on Saint Patrick’s Day. Shortly after the start of the Heat 5 of the 100om repechage quarterfinals, contact from another skater sent O’Brien off course. He trailed home in third place with a time of 2:08.690, but was advanced to the next round. In Heat 1 of the repechage semi-finals, he began positively taking the lead with seven laps to go. However, with three laps remaining he lost contact and came third in a time of 1:30.194. With a 25th placing, he earned his best classification for the championships.

“I’m glad I could show everything I have worked on this season,” O’Brien said. “While I may not have progressed through to the main event, I think it was my best showing and I will carry the experience through to next season and build on the result.”

O’Brien On Track For Rotterdam Worlds

Liam O’Brien (25) makes his fourth consecutive appearance at the ISU World Short Track Speed Skating Championships which this year are being held in Rotterdam, The Netherlands (15-17 March).

O’Brien will be flying the flag for Ireland this St. Patrick’s weekend as one of over 90 athletes from 36 countries vying for glory in the men’s category inside the Ahoy Rotterdam ice rink. The World Short Track Championships were first held back in 1976. Ireland has been represented at every edition held since 2017.

O’Brien starts racing on Friday, 15 March with the qualification rounds of the 500, 1000 and 1500 metre distances. Subsequent rounds, quarterfinals, semifinals and finals will take place on Saturday, 16 March and Sunday, 17 March.

“I’m excited to race here in Rotterdam this weekend, especially on Paddy’s Day,” O’Brien said. “The venue looks amazing and there will be a great atmosphere. I hope to improve on my results throughout the season and push towards the main event in both the 1000 and 1500 metres.

The ISU World Short Track Speed Skating Championships will be broadcast online on the Skating ISU YouTube channel. Geographical restrictions may apply. The results of the championships can be followed on the event results page and on social media via the #ShortTrackSkating hashtag.

Judge 4th; Tkacheva 27th at Sonja Henie Trophy

Dillon Judge and Sophia Tkacheva have finished fourth and 27th in their respective events at the Sonja Henie Trophy in Oslo, Norway this weekend.

In the Senior Men’s short programme, Judge got off to a solid start with a triple Salchow-double toe loop jump combination. Unfortunately, he fell on a triple Lutz and the change foot combination spin that followed received no value as it did not meet the requirements to be counted. A change foot combination spin was deemed to be Level 2. He had another fall on a double Axel before rounding out with a Level 2 flying sit spin and a Level 3 step sequence. He scored 37.29 points to put himself in fourth place overnight.

Judge returned the following day for the free skating. he began with a triple toe loop. He stood up this time on a triple Lutz even if it was over rotated. He then nailed a double Axel-double Axel sequence, a Level 4 flying sit spin and a triple Salchow. He then performed a Level 3 change foot camel spin and a choreographic step sequence. He followed with two jump combinations – a triple Salchow-double toe loop and a double Lutz-double toe loop. He concluded with a Level 2 step sequence, a double loop and a Level 3 change foot combination spin. He scored 90.32 points which placed him third in the free and gave him a total of 127.61 to remain in fourth place overall.

In the Junior Women’s short programme, Tkacheva got off to a shaky start with falls on a double Axel and a double flip, the latter of which was supposed to be in combination. She recovered with a Level 3 flying sit spin and a Level 2 layback spin. She landed a double Lutz and brought her routine to a close with a Level 3 step sequence and a Level 4 change foot combination spin. She earned 28.15 points to sit in 27th midway through the event.

Tkacheva began the free skating with an attempted double Axel which was downgraded. She next landed a double Salchow and singled a planned double Lutz. Her layback spin was graded Level 3 and she followed with a double loop. Another double loop immediately after resulted in a fall and the second part of a double flip-double toe loop combination was downgraded. She concluded her routine with a double flip, a choreographic step sequence, a Level 2 flying change foot sit spin and a Level 2change foot combination spin. She scored 46.90 points for her free and remained in 27th place overall with a total of 75.05 points.

Irish National Figure Skating Championships 2024

The Ice Skating Association of Ireland (ISAI) is pleased to announce that the Irish National Figure Skating Championships 2024 will take place between 8-10 June at the Dundee Ice Arena in Dundee, Scotland.

This will be the third time the Dundee Ice Arena has hosted the event. Entries are open to competitors in Advanced Novice singles and Junior and Senior singles and ice dance.

“We are thrilled to be returning to the Dundee Ice Arena and I would like to thank our hosts for their hospitality for a third year in a row,” ISAI President Seán Gillis said. “We keenly anticipate seeing the cream of Irish figure skating vying for those coveted national titles.”

The Championship Announcement and Entry Form can be found on the dedicated event page. The entry deadline is 5pm, 10 May 2024.