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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.

McAnuff 35th; O’Brien 37th at Short Track Worlds

Sean McAnuff (24) and Liam O’Brien (23) have concluded their seasons at the World Short Track Speed Skating Championships in Montreal, Canada where they finish 35th and 37th respectively in the overall classification. This was the first time Ireland fielded two skaters in the same category at an ISU World Championships.

Racing began for the two Irish men with the opening day qualifying rounds. First up were the 1500 metres quarterfinals. O’Brien came fourth in Heat 4 in a time of 2:22.931. while McAnuff was fifth with a time of 2:24.441 in Heat 6.

Next up were the 500 metres preliminaries. McAnuff raced in Heat 8 where he came fourth in 42.475 and was followed by O’Brien in Heat 9 who also ended up fourth in a time of 43.549.

The final distance on the opening day were the 1000 metres preliminaries. Unfortunately, O’Brien picked up a penalty in Heat 5. McAnuff wound up fourth in Heat 8 (1:27.595).

The Irish skaters lined up for two ranking finals on Day Two. McAnuff appeared in Heat 2 of the 1500 metres and finished sixth in a closely fought race in 2:26.229. O’Brien was next on the track in Heat 3 and took fourth in 2:29.668. O’Brien finished 25th and McAnuff 34th overall in the distance.

For the 500 metres preliminaries ranking finals, McAnuff and O’Brien were both drawn in Heat 2. Although O’Brien received a penalty, McAnuff had his best finish of the championships by placing second in a time of 43.243. McAnuff ranked 35th and O’Brien 37th for the distance.

The last day of the championships saw just McAnuff in action in the 1000 metres preliminaries ranking finals. He came third in Heat 3 with a time of 1:32.192 and was classified 31st for the distance. O’Brien ranked 44th.

“I think this has been the most successful weekend of my skating career thus far,” McAnuff said. “I was able to accomplish each goal I set, as well as reconnect and enjoy the company of fellow skaters that I have met over the years. It was refreshing, yet inspiring to finish off this Olympic season back in Canada at Maurice Richard. I’m thankful for the opportunity to have raced this weekend, but I am certainly looking forward to the season of rest ahead!”

“The competition didn’t go as planned after receiving penalties in both the 500 and 1000 metres,” O’Brien said. “However, it was great to have crowds back at racing and have an atmosphere in the ice rink. I’m glad that this season has come to an end as it was full of ups and downs and time for some much needed rest.”

 

McAnuff and O’Brien On Track For Historic Worlds

This weekend Ireland’s Sean McAnuff (24) and Liam O’Brien (23) close out their season at the ISU World Short Track Speed Skating Championships in Montreal, Canada which had originally been scheduled for last month. This marks the first time that the Ice Skating Association of Ireland fields two athletes in the same category at an ISU World Championships.

McAnuff and O’Brien will be among over 119 skaters from 27 countries participating in the annual event. They will first race on Friday (8 April) in the qualifying rounds for the 500, 1000 and 1500 metre distances with further rounds taking place over the following two days.

McAnuff will be racing for the first time since his season was interrupted in November last year with a bout of Covid-19 causing him to miss out on the final two Olympic qualifying World Cups. He previously competed at Worlds back in 2019.

“With the difficulties of Covid in the prior season, and the postponement of the World Championships this season, many of us have had to sacrifice other areas of our personal lives to try and avoid compromising our skating goals,” McAnuff said. “Now that the end of the season is here, I really want to bring a fun and light hearted atmosphere to this competition, while bringing joy to the sport we all started because of our love for it! One goal for me is encouraging this kind of environment. I think it is important to remember we can’t all take home a gold medal, but we can all take away an experience that fosters our passion for the sport rather than an experience that burns us out.”

By placing 29th at last year’s Worlds, O’Brien qualified two spots for Ireland this time round in the men’s event in Montreal. He continued his good form this season at the World Cups last autumn and agonisingly missed out on securing a quota spot at the Beijing Olympics in the 1500 metres by just one place.

“I am looking forward to getting out there and racing at the weekend for the first time since the World Cups back in November,” O’Brien said. “I hope to improve on last season’s World Championships results and my performance at this season’s World Cup series.”

The World Short Track Speed Skating Championships will be broadcast online in Ireland on the Eurosport Player (paid subscription required) and the ISU YouTube channel. McAnuff and O’Brien will start their campaigns inside the Maurice Richard Arena tomorrow afternoon (8 April) 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.

Despite Adversity Irish Ice Skating Forged Ahead In 2021

The pandemic continued to disrupt activities in 2021 both on and off the ice, but Irish ice skating has also displayed its resilience throughout the past 12 months.

In January, it was announced that unfortunately the Irish National Figure Skating Championships would not take place in 2021. At the end of the month, Liam O’Brien made his debut in an Irish racing suit at the ISU European Short Track Speed Skating Championships in Gdansk, Poland where he placed 25th overall. This was the highest ever placement for an Irish short track speed skater at an ISU Championships.

O’Brien raced again at the ISU World Short Track Speed Skating Championships in March in Dordrecht, the Netherlands. His overall championship classification of 29th was the highest placement ever by an Irish skater in the history of the event and also secured two spots for Ireland in the men’s category at the 2022 Championships.

In May, O’Brien was also the recipient of an Olympic Federation of Ireland Beijing 2022 Individual Performance Support award.

Eight figure skaters and six speed skaters were named to the National Team in July.

After the cancellation of the ISU Junior Grand Prix of Figure Skating in 2020, Dillon Judge and Sophia Tkacheva were finally able to make their debuts in the series back in September in Kosice, Slovakia. Towards the end of the month, Conor Stakelum participated in the Nebelhorn Trophy in Oberstdorf, Germany, the final qualifying competition for the 2022 Beijing Olympics, where he finished 29th. An EGM and an AGM were both held virtually during the month.

Judge return to the Junior Grand Prix circuit in October where he was joined by Elizabeth Golding to compete in the final stage of the series in Linz, Austria. In the middle of the month, Sam McAllister returned to the ice for the first time in over a year and finished 11th at the Budapest Trophy in Hungary. Sean McAnuff and Liam O’Brien got to try out Olympic ice at the test event in Beijing, China which was the first of four World Cup competition to decide quota places for the Games. The Irish short track speed skaters travelled to Nagoya, Japan the following week for the second World Cup.

November began with a team of five Irish figure skaters competing at the Tayside Trophy in Dundee, Scotland. Robyn Foster made her international debut for Ireland in the Junior Women’s category where she finished seventh with Tkacheva in tenth. Judge was second in the Junior Men’s event with Stakelum and McAllister tenth and eleventh respectively in the Senior Men’s division. O’Brien was back racing in the third World Cup in Debrecen, Hungary and was joined for the fourth in Dordrecht, the Netherlands by Ryan McAnuff. At the end of the month, it was announced that sadly the Emerald Skate learn to skate courses would be postponed for a second consecutive year.

McAllister, Stakelum and Judge rounded out the year at the Santa Claus Cup in Budapest, Hungary in December. The announcement of the selection of McAllister to represent Ireland at the 2022 ISU European Figure Skating Championships in Tallinn, Estonia early next year was also made during the month.

While the pandemic is still an ongoing concern as we head into the New Year and the health and safety of our members remains our priority, the ISAI is hopeful that 2022 will see a resumption of our normal activities.

 

McAnuff and O’Brien Wrap Up At Final Short Track World Cup

Ryan McAnuff and Liam O’Brien brought this season’s World Cup odyssey for Ireland’s short track speed skaters across two continents and four events to a close at this weekend’s competition in Dordrecht, Netherlands.

Day One (25 November) began with the 1500m heats. McAnuff lined up in Heat 2 where he finished 6th in a time of 2:22.991. He was ranked 71st for the distance at this World Cup. There was plenty of drama in Heat 10 where there was a restart after a crash involving a number of skaters and in the rerun O’Brien was infringed upon by another athlete and promoted to third with a time 2:29.875. For the quarterfinals, O’Brien was drawn in Heat 4 where he came in 6th in a time of 2:17.135.

The 500m preliminaries were on the agenda for the afternoon of Day One and McAnuff raced in Heat 5 where he posted a time of 44.136 coming in fifth for a distance ranking of 76th. O’Brien rounded out the first day for Team Ireland by ending up third in a time of 43.128 in Heat 15. He was ranked 51st in the distance at this World Cup.

The Irish skaters were back on ice for Day Two (26 November) where they contested the 1000m preliminaries. Heat 12 saw McAnuff race to a fifth place finish in a time of 1:28.916 and placed 73rd for the distance. O’Brien crossed the line in Heat 15 with a time of 1:29.370 and was advanced to the next round. He finished fifth in Heat 5 of the 1000m heats in a time of 1:27.993.

O’Brien returned on Day Three (27 November) for the 1500m ranking finals. He raced in Heat 5 where he recorded a time of 2:17.322 for fifth place and five World Cup points. He was ranked in 40th place for the distance in Dordrecht.

O’Brien took to the ice for the last time on Day Four (28 November) for the 1000m ranking finals where he skated in Heat 2. He finished third in a time of 1:31.880 and placed 33rd for the distance which gave him 12 World Cup points and an overall classification of 57th.

“I’m really happy and thankful to be back racing this week,” McAnuff said. “Racing the top athletes in the world and competing at another international event and Olympic qualifier has been a great experience. I enjoyed myself and was proud of my performance. Balancing my final year of medical school and training is difficult, but worth it.”

“It’s been a long two months of racing between the Asian and European World Cups,” O’Brien said. “I am happy with my performance at my first World Cup series competing for Ireland and I hope to build on this base. This week I am happy that I was able to better my 1000m performance from the previous World Cups, but there is still a lot of work to be done.”

The final World Cup classification for the Irish short track speed skaters is as follows:

Ryan McAnuff – 500m (98th), 1000m (102nd), 1500m (101st)

Sean McAnuff – 500m (93rd), 1000m (99th), 1500m (86th)

Liam O’Brien – 500m (66th), 1000m (57th), 1500m (43rd)

The four World Cups served as qualifying events for the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympic Games. The Special Olympic Qualification Classification quotas will be allocated by 13 December 2021. Full rules of the Olympic qualifying procedures can be viewed here.

 

McAnuff and O’Brien Set For Final World Cup

Ryan McAnuff (27) and Liam O’Brien (23) line up this weekend at the ISU World Cup Short Track Speed Skating in Dordrecht, Netherlands (25-28 November), the final stage of four qualifying events for the 2022 Beijing Olympics.

Both McAnuff and O’Brien will be racing from tomorrow (25 November) inside the Optisport SportBoulevard. First up will be the 1500m heats and quarterfinals which will be followed later in the day by 500m preliminaries and heats. On Friday (26 November) the 1000m preliminaries and heats will take place. Subsequent rounds and finals will be held on Saturday (27 November) and Sunday (28 November).

For both skaters, the goal again will be to progress as far as they can in each distance to accumulate ranking points. There are 32 Olympic quota places in the 500m and 1000m distances and 36 in the 1500m on offer. Full rules of the Olympic qualifying procedures can be viewed here.

This will be McAnuff’s season debut. After the first three World Cup events, the current World Cup Classification for O’Brien in each distance is as follows:

500m (60th), 1000m (69th), 1500m (42nd)

“I’m really excited to be back skating, especially here in the Netherlands,” McAnuff said. “I hope to make Ireland proud!”

“I was really pleased with how I raced last weekend in Hungary,” O’Brien said. “I am hoping to repeat that performance this weekend in the Netherlands.”

The ISU World Cup Short Track Speed Skating will be streamed live on the ISU Skating YouTube channel. The event can also be followed on social media via the #ShortTrackSkating hashtag.

Schedule (Irish time)

25 November

09:21 1500m Heats
11:46 1500m Quarterfinals
14:04 500m Preliminaries
15:34 500m Heats

26 November

10:56 1000m Preliminaries
13:04 1000m Heats

27 November

09:31 1500m Ranking Finals
10:12 500m Ranking Finals
12:33 1500m Semifinals
13:26 1500m Finals
14:15 500m Quarterfinals
14:53 500m Semifinals
15:30 500m Finals

28 November

09:27 1000m Ranking Finals
12:37 1000m Quarterfinals
13:18 1000m Semifinals
13:58 1000m Finals

O’Brien Keeps Olympic Dream Alive With Best World Cup Showing

Liam O’Brien marked his 23rd birthday by competing at the third ISU World Cup Short Track Speed Skating in Debrecen, Hungary over this weekend and posted his best result of the series so far to edge him closer to possible qualification  for the 2022 Beijing Olympics next February.

On Day One of racing, O’Brien opened with the 1500m where he was drawn in Heat 14. He finished third in a time of 2:24.899 to advance to the quarterfinals later in the day. He raced in Heat 7 and came fourth with a time of 2:18.941 to move forward to the ranking finals.

O’Brien rounded out his first day of competition in Heat 14 of the 500m preliminaries where he ended up 5th in 43.614. He was classified as 71st overall at this World Cup.

For Day Two, O’Brien had just the 1000m preliminaries to contend with and he raced in Heat 9 where he skated to fourth place in a time of 1:30.732. He finished in 62nd place overall for the distance in Debrecen.

O’Brien’s final race was the 1500m ranking finals on Day Three for which he was assigned to Heat 3. He came home 5th in a time of 2:31.317 to garner 38 World Cup points for his 26th placement in the distance.

After the first three World Cups, the current World Cup classification for O’Brien in each distance is as follows:

500m (60th), 1000m (69th), 1500m (42nd)

O’Brien’s exploits in Hungary put him in with a real shot of nabbing one of the 36 quota places available for the 1500m distance at the Beijing Olympics with just the final qualifying World Cup to be held next weekend (24-28 November) in Dordrecht, Netherlands.

“I am slowly building on the performances from the first two World Cups,” O’Brien said. “I am happy with my skate in the 1500m and hopefully next week I can repeat similar results.”

O’Brien Continues On Road To Beijing At Third ISU World Cup in Hungary

Liam O’Brien (22) is back competing this weekend at the ISU World Cup Short Track Speed Skating in Debrecen, Hungary (18-21 November), the penultimate leg of four qualifying events for the 2022 Beijing Olympics.

O’Brien will be racing from tomorrow (18 November) inside the Főnix Arena. First up will be the 1500m heats and quarterfinals which will be followed later in the day by 500m preliminaries and heats. On Friday (19 November) the 1000m preliminaries and heats will take place. Subsequent rounds and finals will be held on Saturday (20 November) and Sunday (21 November).

For O’Brien, the goal again will be to progress as far as he can in each distance to accumulate ranking points. There are 32 Olympic quota places in the 500m and 1000m distances and 36 in the 1500m on offer. Full rules of the Olympic qualifying procedures can be viewed here.

After the first two World Cup events in Asia last month, the current World Cup Classification for O’Brien in each distance is as follows:

500m (60th), 1000m (60th), 1500m (45th)

“It was good to get back to my training base in Korea between the Asian and European World Cups,” O’Brien said. “Since the last World Cup, I’ve been building on my performance and hope to improve over the coming weekend.”

The ISU World Cup Short Track Speed Skating will be streamed live on the ISU Skating YouTube channel. The event can also be followed on social media via the #ShortTrackSkating hashtag.

Schedule (Irish time)

18 November

09:36 1500m Heats
12:01 1500m Quarterfinals
14:34 500m Preliminaries
16:01  500m Heats

19 November

10:26 1000m Preliminaries
12:21 1000m Heats

20 November

10:01 1500m Ranking Finals
10:42 500m Ranking Finals
13:20 1500m Semifinals
14:13 1500m Finals
15:02 500m Quarterfinals
15:40 500m Semifinals
16:17 500m Finals

21 November

09:12 1000m Ranking Finals
13:19 1000m Quarterfinals
14:00 1000m Semifinals
14:40 1000m Finals

McAnuff and O’Brien Halfway Through Beijing Olympic Qualifying Journey

Sean McAnuff (24) and Liam O’Brien (22) have reached the midpoint of their quest to qualify quota places for Ireland at the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympic Games with the conclusion of racing at the second ISU World Cup Short Track Speed Skating of the season in Nagoya, Japan.

McAnuff and O’Brien took to the ice on the opening of competition in the 1500m heats and 500m preliminaries. McAnuff was first up in Heat 2 of the 1500m in which he finished 6th in a time of 2:23.958. He finished 73rd for the distance. O’Brien originally finished 6th in Heat 10 in a time of 2:29.293, but due to being impeded by another skater during the race he was advanced to the quarterfinals. He finished 4th in the 1500m quarterfinals in a time of 2:24.694 which meant he was assigned to the 1500m ranking finals later on in the week.

Later on the same day, McAnuff and O’Brien were back for the 500m preliminaries in the Nippon Gaishi Hall. Liam O’Brien raced in Heat 4 and crossed the line in 3rd place. Unfortunately, due to a rule infringment, he received a penalty and he was classified 83rd for the distance. McAnuff was up in Heat 10 where he finished in in 4th place in a time of 44.761 and in 61st place overall.

On the second day of the event, McAnuff and O’Brien were drawn in back to back heats of the 1000m preliminaries. McAnuff drew Heat 3 and he came in 5th in a time of 1:29.642. He was followed by O’Brien in Heat 4 who clocked a time of 1:33.046 to wind up 4th. McAnuff and O’Brien were ranked 69th and 62nd respectively for the distance.

The 1500m ranking finals was the last action for Team Ireland on Day Three of the World Cup. O’Brien recorded a time of 2:33.357 to place 7th in Heat 2 and was classified 35th for the distance.

After the first two World Cups, the current World Cup Classification for the Irish skaters in each distance is as follows:

Sean McAnuff – 500m (71st), 1000m (70th), 1500m (56th)

Liam O’Brien – 500m (60th), 1000m (60th), 1500m (45th)

The 2021/2022 World Cup Short Track Speed Skating will continue in just under three weeks time when the circuit moves to Europe with stages in Debrecen, Hungary (18-21 November) and Dordrecht, Netherlands (25-28 November).

Second Stage Of Olympic Qualifying Beckons For McAnuff And O’Brien in Japan

This weekend Sean McAnuff and Liam O’Brien continue their pursuit for 2022 Beijing Winter Olympic quota places at the ISU World Cup Short Track Speed Skating in Nagoya, Japan (28-31 October).

McAnuff and O’Brien will be racing from tomorrow (28 October) inside the Nippon Gaishi Arena. First up will be the 1500m heats and quarterfinals which will be followed later in the day by 500m preliminaries and heats. On Friday (29 October) the 1000m preliminaries and heats will take place. Subsequent rounds and finals will be held on Saturday (30 October) and Sunday (31 October).

For McAnuff and O’Brien, the goal will be to progress as far as they can in each distance to accumulate ranking points at each World Cup event. There are 32 Olympic quota places in the 500m and 1000m distances and 36 in the 1500m on offer. Full rules of the Olympic qualifying procedures can be viewed here.

After the first World Cup in Beijing, China last weekend, the current World Cup Classification for the Irish skaters in each distance is as follows:

Sean McAnuff – 500m (63rd), 1000m (58th), 1500m (43rd)

Liam O’Brien – 500m (53rd), 1000m (48th), 1500m (33rd)

The ISU World Cup Short Track Speed Skating will be streamed live on the ISU Skating YouTube channel. The event can also be followed on social media via the #ShortTrackSkating hashtag.

Schedule (Irish time)

28 October

02:30 1500m Heats
05:06 1500m Quarterfinals
07:44 500m Preliminaries
09:14 500m Heats

29 October

03:37 1000m Preliminaries
05:32 1000m Heats

30 October

03:06 1500m Ranking Finals
03:47 500m Ranking Finals
06:20 1500m Semifinals
07:13 1500m Finals
08:02 500m Quarterfinals
08:40 500m Semifinals
09:17 500m Finals

31 October

01:17 1000m Ranking Finals
05:19 1000m Quarterfinals
06:00 1000m Semifinals
06:40 1000m Finals