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.”



Donoghue Shines Bright At Junior Worlds

Tara Donoghue made history this weekend (21-23 February) at the ISU (International Skating Union) World Junior Speed Skating Championships in Tomaszów Mazowiecki, Poland as she raced to the highest placings ever by an Irish skater at an ISU Championships.

Donoghue qualified to compete in four events at the championships and began with the 1500 metres on the first day of racing where she recorded a time of 2:12.749 to finish 40th overall.

On the second day of competition, Donoghue started with the 1000 metres where she placed 38th in a time of 1:24.768 , just half a second off her own Irish record. The best was yet to come later on in the afternoon when she lined up for the 3000 metres. She smashed her own Irish record by a whopping nine seconds in posting a time of 4:29.549 to finish in 18th place, the best result ever by an Irish skater at an ISU Championships.

There was more to come on the final day of competition when Donoghue took to the oval for the mass start race. A collision involving a number of skaters meant a rescheduled start for the whole field and on the first points sprint Donoghue captured a point. It was to prove a decisive moment as the point helped her secure a remarkable 11th place to cap a successful weekend of racing.

“I’m really happy with my races in general, especially the 3000 metres and mass start,” Donoghue said. “I stuck to the plan I made with my coach and managed to show everyone what I’ve got. I’m not satisfied with all my performances. I would have hoped to have done better in the 1500 metres. However, I know what to work on for the coming season and I am really looking forward to training hard this summer so I can rise in the ranking next year.”

Donoghue All Set For World Juniors

This weekend Irish speed skater Tara Donoghue (18) competes for the second time at the ISU (International Skating Union) World Junior Speed Skating Championships which are taking place this year in Tomaszów Mazowiecki, Poland (21-23 February).

Donoghue has attained the qualifying times for three individual distances at these World Junior Championships. She will race in the 1500 metres tomorrow afternoon (Friday 21 February) and in the 1000 and 3000 metres the following day (Saturday 22 February) in a field of athletes from 19 countries. She will also participate in the mass start race on Sunday 23 February.

“My goals for my races at these Junior Worlds are to set personal bests in all three distances, especially in the 3000 metres because I feel like I can definitely knock a chunk off that,” Donoghue said. “Furthermore, I want to go for as high as possible a classification in the mass start and just enjoy the experience in general.”

You can watch Donoghue race live on the ISU’s YouTube channel and also follow her progress via the event results page and the #WorldJSpeed and #SpeedSkating hashtags on social media.

Sean McAnuff Completes Races At Dresden World Cup

At his third ISU (International Skating Union) World Cup Short Track Speed Skating event of the season, Irish skater Sean McAnuff raced this weekend at the EnergieVerbund Arena in Dresden, Germany.

McAnuff began the competition with the heats of the 1000 metres where he was drawn in Heat 9. He recorded a time of 1:29.247 to place fourth. The following day in the repechage quarterfinals he came joint fourth in Heat 4 with a time of 1:30.524 and was classified 43rd overall for the distance.

McAnuff also contested the 1500 metres (2) in Dresden. For the quarterfinals, he lined up in Heat 8 and posted a time of 2:26.554 for fourth place. In the repechage quarterfinals, he came fifth in Heat 3 in a time of 2:22.114. He was 41st in the overall classification for the distance.

Full results for the ISU World Cup Short Track are available here.