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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.

Sean McAnuff: Man On A Mission For Short Track Worlds

Sean McAnuff (24) lines up later this week at the World Short Track Speed Skating Championships (8-10 April) in Montreal, Canada three years on from his first participation in the event. In the meantime, the Irish speed skater has graduated from university, gotten married and moved overseas to a new training base all in the midst of the difficulties involved competing at an elite level during a global pandemic.

Following his graduation from Bishop’s University (Sherbrooke, Quebec) and marriage to Jess, the newlyweds moved from Canada to Budapest, Hungary to train with the Hungarian national team in December 2020. In recent years, Hungary has been a powerhouse nation in short track speed skating with stars such as brothers Shaolin Sándor Liu and Shaoang Liu winning European, World and Olympic medals. After competing alongside and getting to know his Hungarian counterparts over a number of seasons, the opportunity to attend a training camp in July 2020 presented itself.

“I’d never been to Budapest before and it was actually the two hottest weeks they had that year, but the training was really good,” McAnuff recalled. “Immediately, the athletes and the coaches took me in as one of their own and they were just very generous. Even though they all speak Hungarian, obviously, the coaches are very international. There’s a Chinese coach and a Korean coach, so English is the main language spoken for training which made it easier as well.”

Covid-19 inevitably delayed McAnuff’s move to Hungary, but after several months and quarantining over Christmas 2020 he began training full-time in Budapest in January 2021 with his eyes on the target of qualifying a spot for Ireland at the 2022 Beijing Olympics. Last summer his focus was on preparing for the four ISU World Cups Olympic qualifying events in autumn 2021.

“Everything went pretty well honestly,” he said. “The equipment, my endurance and my technique – I felt improvements overall.”

The first two World Cups were held in Beijing, China and Nagoya, Japan. McAnuff raced well and even set a new personal best in the 1500 metres, but he found that his fellow athletes had also raised the bar during the off-season.

“The competition was very high,” he said. “I looked around and I realised how much everyone else trained. It wasn’t a shock. I didn’t expect to be getting a gold medal out there, but it was very clear that everyone really worked hard coming into this Olympic season. It was a tough competition and overall I was pleased with my placement and my strategy. There were things I got to learn and work on, but also some little successes too.”

However, on his return to Europe to prepare for the final two World Cups in Debrecen, Hungary and Dordrecht, Netherlands, he tested positive for Covid-19.

“I didn’t really have symptoms when I got the positive tests, but the next day it hit me,” he said. “I was out of training for five weeks. All of November into the first week of December, I was off.

“In those five weeks, I missed the third and fourth Olympic qualifiers in Europe. I was really looking forward to them and it was really difficult to not be able to compete. I felt like I worked for the last four years and then Covid hit me and I couldn’t test negative.

“I think I could have gone to race, but I don’t know how I would have performed physically after the illness. That was really hard mentally. I had to come back and focus on why I’m skating. The Olympics is a goal, but I really do treasure building the community in the sport.”

McAnuff has also connected with the Irish community in Hungary and the Irish Ambassador to Hungary, His Excellency Mr. Ronan Gargan, has even come to watch one of his training sessions.

“The morning of the practice, I was notified he was coming to watch and he wanted to see me skate and meet me,” McAnuff said “That was really cool.

“There’s a lot of Irish restaurants, which is awesome. I can always go and feel like I’m sitting on the streets of Dublin in a little bar or restaurant. There’s some some great musicians we go watch. There is actually a solid Irish community here and, funnily enough, my wife and I live near the Veterinary University and there are hundreds of Irish students studying right here on on the campus.”

McAnuff and his wife are also full-time missionaries and through their church they have been involved in outreach programmes and voluntary activities. Recently, they have been actively supporting refugees fleeing the war in Ukraine which shares a border with Hungary.

“This organisation that we volunteer with is called Youth With A Mission and their base in Budapest is connected with one in Kyiv. They would message us and tell us they have a family coming over arriving at the border at a certain time and ask us if we can go pick them up. We would get a rental car and drive to the border. It’s about three hours to three and a half hours away. We’ve done that multiple times. Sometimes you don’t even have their phone numbers, so we just have their name on a sign.

“We pick refugees up and bring them back to the city. Then we would put them up either in a hotel or even in our apartment. We have a spare bed, so we would house them, or if they already had a destination, we figured out how to get them there.

“Aside from the the border runs, the other thing we would do would be grocery shopping for refugees. People in Canada, and actually internationally, who we’re raising funds with, are sending us money to help these refugees.

“We just get to help these refugees going through a ridiculously hard time. Most of them come with just a backpack. They need sweaters. They need socks. They need shoes.

“Just how thankful they are, the tears in their eyes, the smiles on their face, and the hugs they give – you don’t even need to speak the language. They’re just so thankful that people here are helping.

“The organisation we’re volunteering with actually have vehicles going into Ukraine. I’ll be going on some runs into Ukraine once I get back from Worlds. It sounds very intense, but obviously we take the proper safety precautions and security.”

Being born and growing up in Canada, McAnuff is looking forward to going back to Montreal to race in a venue with which he is very familiar.

“It is very exciting and I’ve raced in the Maurice Richard Arena a dozen times over my lifetime, because it’s a quick drive from Ontario, where I grew up,” McAnuff said. “It’s kind of nostalgic to be back in that rink. The last time I was there was for the World Championships in 2018, at the end of the Olympic season. My brother Ryan was the one competing as we only had one spot. I was there as an alternate. Looking back now, it’s four years later and the same situation at the end of the Olympic season, but this time it’s me representing Ireland. I would say it’s a little extra special just to be there representing Ireland so close to where I was born and grew up as well. I will get to see some familiar faces and reunite.”

McAnuff will compete with teammate Liam O’Brien and it will be the first time that Ireland will have two entries in the same category at an ISU World Championships.

“I’m very excited to have Liam there as well,” McAnuff said. “We only got to really train together for those first two Olympic qualifiers, but it was fun to get to know each other more. Just having a teammate there is also nice. You can talk about your races and just decompress a little too.”

The ISU World Short Track Speed Skating Championships begin this Friday, 8 April 2022 with the qualification rounds. Follow the ISAI social media accounts for updates from Montreal!

 

 

 

 

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 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

McAnuff and O’Brien Set Personal Bests At Beijing Olympic Test Event

Team Ireland short track speed skaters Sean McAnuff (24) and Liam O’Brien (22) have concluded competing at the opening ISU World Cup in China, the first step on the road to the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympic Games, with each athlete setting a new personal best at the event on what will become Olympic ice in February next year.

On the opening day of competiton, McAnuff and O’Brien lined up for the opening rounds of the 1500m and 500m distances. In Heat 2 of the 1500m heats, O’Brien initially finished fourth in a time of 2:24.378. However, following a review by race officials, an American skater who finished ahead O’Brien was penalised and the Irishman was advanced to the quarterfinals. McAnuff drew to race in Heat 5 and this turned out to be the swiftest of the fourteen 1500m heats in Beijing. He finished fourth in a time of 2:17.035 smashing his own personal best by three seconds even though it was not enough to advance any further. It did garner him an overall placement for the distance of 43rd and two World Cup ranking points. O’Brien came back for the 1500m quarterfinals and raced in Heat 7 coming in fifth with a time of 2:22.455 meaning he would race again in the ranking finals on Day Three of the event.

In the afternoon of Day One, McAnuff and O’Brien were back on the ice for the 500m preliminaries. McAnuff raced in Heat 4 and finished fifth in a time of 43.416 giving him an overall distance classification of 71st. O’Brien came third in Heat 8 with a new personal best time of 42.608 which unfortunately was not sufficient to move on to subsequent rounds and he finished overall in 47th place.

There was a lighter schedule on Day Two of the World Cup with just the 1000m preliminaries to be contested. O’Brien was first up in Heat 4 where he finished fifth in a time of 1:27.858 which was very close to his personal best. He ended up classified in 68th place for the distance. McAnuff took third in Heat 15 with a time of 1:28.911 just missing out on progressing as a fastest third place finisher. He ranked 47th overall for the distance and completed his racing for this World Cup.

On Day Three, O’Brien started in Heat 2 of the 1500m ranking finals. He was in the mix for most of the race, but he was impeded by a Croatian skater with just over three laps to go and crashed into the padding. He got back up and finished in a time of 2:55.839 for sixth place in the heat. He did earn twelve world ranking points for 33rd place in the standings.

McAnuff and O’Brien travel next to Nagoya, Japan to compete in the second ISU World Cup Short Track Speed Skating of the season this coming weekend (28-31 October).

“There are lots of positives to take into next week in Nagoya,” O’Brien said. “Hopefully, I can build on the results this week and work towards qualifying Ireland a spot at the upcoming Olympics.”

“I am very excited to see that my skating has improved over the last year of training,” McAnuff said. “This World Cup was my first time racing in 20 months, but I feel it gave me the chance to get back into a racing mentality, practice my strategies, and continue to learn for the next World Cup in Japan.”

McAnuff and O’Brien Embark On Quest For Beijing Spots

Short track speed skaters Sean McAnuff (24) and Liam O’Brien (22) begin their journey this weekend to secure quota places for Ireland at the Beijing 2022 Olympic Winter Games at the first of four ISU World Cup events.

McAnuff and O’Brien will be racing from tomorrow (21 October) at the Olympic test event inside the Capital Indoor Stadium in Beijing, China. First up will be the 1500m heats and quarterfinals which will be followed later on in the day by 500m preliminaries and heats. On Friday (22 October) the 1000m preliminaries and heats will take place. Subsequent rounds and finals will be held on Saturday (23 October) and Sunday (24 October).

For McAnuff and O’Brien, the goal will be to progress as far as they can in each distance in order 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.

“My goals for the upcoming World Cups are to give my best effort at everything I do,” McAnuff said. “I want to go through these Olympic qualfiers with a positive attitude and outlook regardless of my results. I hope to meet new athletes and connect with old friends and encourage them in their racing and training efforts. I would love to see us athletes enjoy and take part in our speed skating community in a fun and encouraging way that supports each of us and all the hard work we have put in leading up to this point.”

“I am looking forward to competing at the first World Cup here in Beijing tomorrow,” O’Brien said. “I hope to be able to skate strong and work towards qualifying Ireland a spot at the upcoming Winter Olympics.”

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)

21 October

03:40 1500m Heats
06:16 1500m Quarterfinals
08:44 500m Preliminaries
10:11 500m Heats

22 October

04:47 1000m Preliminaries
06:38 1000m Heats

23 October

03:16 1500m Ranking Finals
04:17 500m Ranking Finals
07:20 1500m Semifinals
08:13 1500m Finals
09:02 500m Quarterfinals
09:40 500m Semifinals
10:17 500m Finals

24 October

01:57 1000m Ranking Finals
06:19 1000m Quarterfinals
07:00 1000m Semifinals
07:40 1000m Finals

Six Speed Skaters Named To 2021/2022 ISAI National Team

The Board of Directors of the Ice Skating Association of Ireland (ISAI) have selected six speed skaters to the ISAI National Team for the 2021/2022 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

Speed Skating

Tara Donoghue
Rory McCarthy
Siún Ní Dhúgáin

 

Ryan McAnuff has been selected to the National Team for the sixth consecutive season. At the 2020 European Short Track Speed Skating Championships in Debrecen, Hungary, he finished in 34th place overall. He is currently studying medicine at the University of Limerick.

“I am very excited to once again be named to the Irish Short Track Speed Skating team,” Ryan said. “I am excited for another season with a growing Irish team where we look to qualify for the 2022 Olympic Games.”

Sean McAnuff joins his brother Ryan on the National Team again for the sixth time in a row. He placed 35th at the 2020 European Short Track Speed Skating Championships. Since December 2020, he has been training in Budapest, Hungary.

“I feel fortunate to be able to prepare for the Olympic year with Team Hungary, one of the best teams in the world, ” Sean said. “This opportunity has encouraged me to really have fun in the preparation process, and work harder than ever so that I can be the most well-rounded athlete possible. My goals are not only to succeed in my performance on the ice, but to see growth in my attitude, my perspectives, and discovery of what my definition of success looks like in my sport. It can be so easy to get caught up in thinking about the Olympic Qualifiers each day, so I am working hard to stay focused on living in the moment, celebrating my daily successes, and taking in the enjoyment of this season of life.”

Liam O’Brien has been selected for the Irish national team for the third time. Earlier this year, he finished 25th at European Short Track Speed Skating Championships in Gdansk, Poland and 29th at the World Short Track Speed Skating Championships in Rotterdam, Netherlands. He currently trains in Seongnam, Republic of Korea.

“I am looking forward to racing again this season,” O’Brien said. “The focus is to be competitive at the World Cups, with the end goal being Beijing at the beginning of 2022.”

Tara Donoghue placed 11th in the Mass Start race at the 2020 World Junior Speed Skating Championships in Tomaszów Mazowiecki, Poland, the best result ever by an Irish ice skater at an ISU Championships. In 2019, she also became the first ice skater to earn a spot for Ireland at the Winter Youth Olympic Games which she was unfortunately unable to use due to age restrictions.

“My goals for the upcoming season are to qualify for the Senior World Cups in the 3000 metres and mass start,” Donoghue said. “From there on the ultimate goal would be qualification for the Beijing 2022 Olympics.”

Rory McCarthy was the first male long track speed skater to be named to the National Team in 2020. Based in the Netherlands, his favourite distance is the 500 metres.

“For the coming season, I hope to enjoy getting back to competition and seeing how far I can push myself,” McCarthy said.

Siún Ní Dhúgáin was also selected to the National Team for the first time in 2020. 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.

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.