O’Brien Cracks Top 30 At Short Track Worlds

Irish short track speed skater Liam O’Brien (22) has finished in 29th place overall on his debut at the World Short Track Speed Skating Championships in Dordrecht, The Netherlands (5-7 March).

O’Brien raced six times over the course of the three days of the championships inside the Optisport Sportboulevard Arena where comprehensive testing, hygiene and social distancing protocols were in place in accordance with the Guidelines for ISU Events during the COVID-19 Pandemic.

On Day One, he took part in the qualifying rounds for three distances. He was drawn in Heat 2 of the 1500 metres quarterfinals and came fourth in a time of 2:26.068. The 500 metres heats saw him come fourth in Heat 8 with a time of 43.799 after tripping slightly at the start of the race. His last event of the opening day of competition was the 1000 metres heats where he clocked a new personal best time of 1:28.144 in Heat 5 to finish fifth.

The following day O’Brien was back on the ice for two ranking finals. The first race was the 1500 metres in which he came fourth in a drama-filled Heat 3 with a time of 2:39.298 to finish 25th overall in that distance. He came second in Heat 3 of the 500 metres with a time of 43.245 to place 32nd overall for the distance.

O’Brien wrapped up on the final day with the ranking final for the 1000 metres where he notched up another personal best time of 1:27.564 in Heat 2. He placed 33rd in the distance which gave him an overall championship classification of 29th. This is the highest placement ever by an Irish short track speed skater in the history of the World Short Track Speed Skating Championships.

In addition, O’Brien’s overall ranking well inside the Top 32 means that he has secured two spots for Ireland in the men’s category at the 2022 World Short Track Speed Skating Championships which will be held in Montréal, Canada.

“I’m happy with the end result,” O’Brien said. “It was a different level of competitiveness out there this weekend compared to the European Championships and I felt the nerves on Friday, making mistakes that may have cost qualification into the main event.

“I was able to calm down my nerves on Saturday and compete in the ranking finals so I am happy with the progression. I am looking forward to building on that over the coming months and be back out there racing next season.”

O’Brien Lines Up For Short Track Worlds

Liam O’Brien (22) is back flying the flag for Ireland this weekend as he makes his debut at the World Short Track Speed Skating Championships in Dordrecht, The Netherlands (5-7 March).

The championships are being held in accordance with the Guidelines for International Skating Union (ISU) Events during the COVID-19 Pandemic with comprehensive testing, hygiene and social distancing protocols in place.

O’Brien will be among over 115 athletes from 29 countries participating in the annual event. He will first race on Friday (5 March) in the qualifying rounds for the 500, 1000 and 1500 metre distances with further rounds taking place over the following two days.

In January, O’Brien placed 25th overall at the European Short Track Speed Skating Championships, the highest finish by an Irish short track speed skater at an ISU Championship.

“I am excited to get out there and race again this weekend,” O’Brien said. “The Dutch federation and the ISU have done a great job at organising the event and keeping the athletes and staff safe during difficult times. It will be a strong competitive field and the racing should be entertaining!”

The World Short Track Speed Skating Championships will be broadcast online in Ireland on the Eurosport Player (paid subscription required). O’Brien’s first event begins tomorrow (5 March) from 1:20pm (Irish time).

The results of the championships can be followed on the event results page and on social media via the #WorldShortTrack and #ShortTrackSkating hashtags.

O’Brien Selected For Short Track Worlds

The Ice Skating Association of Ireland (ISAI) has chosen Liam O’Brien to represent Ireland at the 2021 World Short Track Speed Skating Championships in Dordrecht, the Netherlands next month with Sean McAnuff named as substitute.

O’Brien made his debut at an ISU Championships last month at Europeans in Gdansk, Poland where he placed 25th overall, the best ever finish for an Irish short track speed skater at the event.

“I’m honoured to be given the opportunity to represent Ireland again at my first World Championships in the Netherlands,” O’Brien said. “I learnt a lot from my experience at the European Championships and hope to build off my performance and have a strong competition.”

The World Short Track Speed Skating Championship will take place 5-7 March 2021.

O’Brien Races To 25th At Short Track Euros

Irish short track speed skater Liam O’Brien (22) has finished in 25th place overall on his debut at the European Short Track Speed Skating Championships in Gdansk, Poland (22-24 January). Read more

O’Brien Ready For Short Track Europeans Debut

Liam O’Brien (22) will make his ISU (International Skating Union) Championship debut for Ireland this weekend at the European Short Track Speed Skating Championships in Gdansk, Poland (22-24 January).

The championships are being held in accordance with the Guidelines for ISU Events during the COVID-19 Pandemic with comprehensive testing, hygiene and social distancing protocols in place.

O’Brien will be among over 140 athletes from 24 countries participating in the annual event. He will first race on Friday (22 January) in the qualifying rounds for the 500, 1000 and 1500 metre distances with further rounds taking place over the following two days.

“It’s a very different atmosphere from previous competitions,” O’Brien said. “We can only leave the hotel for practice or competition and meals are served to our rooms.

“It’s been a long time since my last competition, so I’m excited to get out there and race. It’s also my first European Championships and first international competition representing Ireland so I hope I can put out a strong performance.”

The European Short Track Speed Skating Championships will be broadcast online with the qualifying rounds on 22 January on the ISU YouTube channel and subsequent rounds and finals on the Eurosport Player (paid subscription required). Geographical restrictions may apply.

The results of the championships can be followed on the event results page and on social media via the #EuroShortTrack and #ShortTrackSkating hashtags.

Bright Spots For Irish Ice Skating Amidst 2020 Challenges

Despite the past twelve months presenting major obstacles for our association and members, 2020 has not been without its highlights for Irish ice skating.

January was a hectic month with the conclusion of the Ice Skating Association of Ireland’s seasonal Emerald Skate lessons, a test session and the annual Winter Challenge. Internationally, Conor Stakelum represented Ireland at the ISU European Figure Skating Championships in Graz, Austria, while Ryan and Sean McAnuff flew the flag at the ISU European Short Track Speed Skating Championships in Debrecen, Hungary. Ava Ryan became the first female short track speed skater from Ireland to participate at the ISU World Junior Short Track Speed Skating Championships in Bormio, Italy.

In February, Tara Donoghue continued to make history for Irish ice skating. At the ISU World Junior Speed Skating Championships in Tomaszów Mazowiecki, Poland, she placed 11th and 18th in the mass start and 3000 metres races respectively, the highest placements ever for an Irish skater at an ISU Championships. The same month saw the Irish National Figure Skating Championships held at Lee Valley, London where five titles were decided. While it turned out to be one of the final domestic events on the Irish sporting calendar to take place before an initial lockdown in March, the effects of the pandemic were already being felt with the shipment of the championships medals from China being delayed.

Tara Donoghue was the recipient of an ISU Development Programme Junior Scholarship in May becoming only the second Irish athlete ever to be awarded.

Odhrán Allen and Clara Peters were welcome additions to the ISAI Board of Directors in July. Later in the month, the ISAI announced its largest ever national team for figure skating and speed skating.

With a slew of events cancelled or postponed due to the pandemic, it was October before Elizabeth Golding and Sophia Tkacheva became the first national team members to compete internationally when they took part in the Budapest Trophy in Budapest, Hungary.

In November, Golding was back in Budapest for the Santa Claus Cup where she finished fourth.

The ISAI’s Annual General Meeting went online in December with members virtually attending via Zoom.

2021 looks like it will be challenging both domestically and internationally for the foreseeable future with the ISAI’s Emerald Skate lessons for the 2020/2021 winter season and the ISU European Figure Skating Championships next month, for which Sam McAllister had been selected, already cancelled. The ISAI will continue to prioritise the health and safety of its members as we look forward to the day normal activities can be resumed.

 

O’Brien Poland Bound For 2021 Short Track Europeans

The Ice Skating Association of Ireland (ISAI) has selected Liam O’Brien to be the sole Irish representative at the 2021 European Short Track Speed Skating Championships in Gdansk, Poland (22-24 January).

This will be O’Brien’s International Skating Union (ISU) Championship debut for Ireland. He currently trains in Seongnam, South Korea under coach Lee Kwang Soo.

“I am very honoured to be given the opportunity to represent Ireland at the prestigious European Championships,” O’Brien said. “It will be my first Senior competition for Ireland and want to put out a strong performance and I am eager to race.”

No Emerald Skate Courses For 2020/2021 Season

Due to the current public health restrictions on indoor sport in Ireland, the Ice Skating Association of Ireland (ISAI) will not be running our Emerald Skate learn to skate courses during the 2020/2021 winter season.

We look forward to hopefully being able to run Emerald Skate again in 2021/2022. In the meantime, we ask that everyone continues to follow public health guidelines to stay safe and healthy.

You can find out more about the Level 5 restrictions here.

Seven Speed Skaters Selected To 2020/2021 ISAI National Team

The Board of Directors of the Ice Skating Association of Ireland (ISAI) have selected seven speed skaters to the ISAI National Team for the 2020/2021 season.

The following ISAI members have been chosen to represent Ireland on the international stage at International Skating Union (ISU) events::

Short Track Speed Skating

Ryan McAnuff
Sean McAnuff
Liam O’Brien
Ava Ryan

Speed Skating

Tara Donoghue
Rory McCarthy
Siún Ní Dhúgáin

 

Ryan McAnuff has been selected to the National Team for the fifth consecutive season. At the 2020 European Short Track Speed Skating Championships in Debrecen, Hungary, he finished in 34th place overall with a career best individual placing of 24th in the 1000 metres. He is currently studying medicine at the University of Limerick.

Sean McAnuff joins his brother Ryan on the National Team for the fifth time in a row. He placed 35th at the 2020 European Short Track Speed Skating Championships with a personal best individual finish of 25th in the 1500 metres.

Liam O’Brien has been selected for the Irish national team for the second time. He currently trains in Seongnam, Republic of Korea under the tutelage of Lee Kwang Soo.

Ava Ryan became the first female short track speed skater to be named to represent Ireland at an ISU Championships in January 2020. She set three national records in her World Junior Short Track Speed Skating Championships debut. She trains under Simon Cho, 2010 Olympic medallist, at the Potomac Speed Skating Club in Maryland, United States of America.

Tara Donoghue placed 11th in the Mass Start and 18th in the 3000 metres at the 2020 World Junior Speed Skating Championships in Tomaszów Mazowiecki, Poland, the best results ever by an Irish ice skater at an ISU Championships. Earlier in the season, she also became the first ice skater to earn a spot for Ireland at the Winter Youth Olympic Games.

Rory McCarthy is the first male long track speed skater to be named to the National Team. Based in the Netherlands, his favourite distance is the 500 metres.

Siún Ní Dhúgáin has also been selected to the National Team for the first time. In July 2019, she participated in the “Road to Ice” training camp at Thialf Academy in Heerenveen, Netherlands.

You can find out more about our national team members here.

Tara Donoghue Awarded ISU Scholarship

Irish speed skater Tara Donoghue is to receive an ISU (International Skating Union) Development Programme Junior Scholarship.

The scholarship is given to young skaters of outstanding talent from developing members federations. Athletes are deemed eligible to be considered for the scholarship based on their participation in international competition. The number of scholarships dispensed each year is limited. Donoghue is set to be awarded a scholarship worth 4,500 Swiss Francs.

Donoghue trains under Baanselectie Haarlem coaches Peter van der Rol Brouwer, Manon Spruit and Bart Vreugdehil at the Ijsclub Haarlem in the Netherlands. In February 2020, she became the first skater representing Ireland to finish in the Top 15 at an ISU Championships event when she placed 11th in the Mass Start race at the Junior World Championships in Tomaszów Mazowiecki, Poland. She is only the second athlete from Ireland to be awarded an ISU Junior Scholarship.

“I am extremely honoured to be granted the funding,” Donoghue said. “It shows that my progress and hard work over the past few years as well as my potential for the coming seasons have been recognised. It is also great that the ISU supports skaters from a small country like Ireland.

“I will be able to use the funding for additional training camps, equipment and further competitive opportunities abroad over the course of the next two seasons. This should hopefully increase my performance levels and put me in a position to qualify to represent Ireland at a future Winter Olympics.

“Lastly, I would like to thank ISAI (Ice Skating Association of Ireland) President Karen O’Sullivan and the board for putting me forward for the scholarship and helping me with the funding application and to the ISU for the confidence they have shown in my abilities.”