Two Top Ten Finishes For Ireland At Challenge Cup

Ireland was represented in two categories at the Challenge Cup that is taking place this weekend in Tilburg, Netherlands.

Dillon Judge was first of the Irish skaters to compete when he took part in the Junior Men’s event. He attempted a triple Salchow combination and a triple loop at the start of his short programme. He also tried a double Axel and garnered Level 4 for a change foot combination spin at the end of his routine. He scored 34.20 points to sit in tenth place overnight.

In the free skating, Judge commenced with a double Axel-Euler-triple Salchow sequence. He went for a triple toe loop and triple Salchow after that before cleanly landing a double Axel. He once again closed out his performance with a Level 4 change foot combination spin. He earned 64.16 points in the free to give him a combined total of 98.36 points to remain in tenth place.

“My initial feelings on the Challenge Cup were disappointment and a little bit of frustration,” Judge said. “These emotions I felt at the time were down to how good my morning official practice sessions had been, which led me to have high hopes for the competition. However, in competition a lot of things can happen that are out of your control and you only have one shot at it. At the end of the day I had only just transferred coaching teams so I understood that a perfectly smooth transition may not happen, but in the future it should benefit me.

“My retrospective thoughts on the event are somewhat different. For the first time in the free programme two different types of triple were attempted and landed even with a low GOE. It is a milestone and something I can grow from for next season, when I compete at senior level. Another positive is that for the first time this year I managed to achieve a Level 4 spin in both programmes which is necessary growth towards achieving European Championships qualification. Overall it was an enjoyable experience especially with being able to see some of the top Senior Men in the world before the ISU World Championships and the venue was very pleasant.

“At the end of the day not everything came together how it should have, but with the increased technical difficulty in the free skate and a surprisingly poor short programme there are more positives to take away from this event than there are negative. With the relocation of my training to a top facility, next season should bear more fruit.”

Laura Hegarty and Kevin Hegarty took to the ice in the Junior Ice Dance rhythm dance towards the end of Day One. They became with a Level 1 diagonal step sequence  and closed out their routine with a Level 2 rotational life. They posted a score of 21.50 which put them in fifth place midway through the event.

The Hegartys began the free dance with synchronised twizzles and included in their programme elements, such as a dance spin, one foot turns sequence, two lifts, choreographic steps and slide and diagonal step sequence. They received a free score of 29.17 which amounted to a total of 50.67 for the event and they remained in fifth place.

“I think our overall performance was improved,” Laura Hegarty said. “Hopefully our elements will be more secure to attain higher points.”

“It was good to see other ice dance couples’ techniques and steps,” Kevin Hegarty said. “Their encouragement throughout really inspired us.”