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.”