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‘He’s still our wee brother’: Conlan family welcome their bronze medal hero home

13 Aug

Published by, 13 August 2012

IRELAND’S BABY-FACED bronze medallist won’t stop until he’s at the top, the family of Belfast boxer Michael Conlan said as they welcomed their hero home on Monday afternoon.

One of the youngest members of the Irish squad, 20-year-old Conlan punched his way into the national spotlight by winning flyweight bronze before losing to eventual champion Robeisy Ramirez Carrazana in the Olympic semi-finals.

His father and coach John said that he was “over the moon” with Michael’s achievement while older brother Jamie, himself a professional boxer, joked: “He’s still our wee brother so we can still beat him up.”


A nation holds its breath again as Katie strides towards gold

8 Aug

Published by, 8 August 2012

IT HAPPENED SHORTLY after two o’clock. Ireland ground to a halt and again watched as one. In offices and in pubs, in shopping centres and on street corners.

The slow road into an afternoon filled with history could hardly have been further removed from the action on the ExCeL Arena canvas. A nation stood still, bursting with pride, but it was speed and agility that won the day in London.


Nothing else matters for Natalya

24 Jun

Published by, 24 June 2012

ASK NATALYA COYLE about the personal sacrifices, the early training sessions on wet winter mornings, the feeling that she’s living her life out of a travel bag in hotel rooms, and each answer invariably begins with the same response. A shrug of the shoulders and five words that make it all worthwhile.

“I’m going to the Olympics.”

Coyle is no ordinary 21-year-old. While her Trinity College classmates stressed over the results of their first-year BESS exams, the Tara native was waiting for a different type of call.

On 16 June, two agonising weeks later than expected, it finally came. She became the first Irish athlete to qualify in modern pentathlon — a multi-discipline event which combines fencing, swimming, riding, running and shooting — and the country’s first representative since Moscow 1980.


Kenneally feels his best is yet to come

23 Jun

Published by, 23 June 2012

THE LONELINESS OF the long-distance runner isn’t a quip; it’s a reality. When a TV crew approached Mark Kenneally in the autumn of 2010 and asked if they could film his attempt to qualify for the London Olympics, he had an idea of what they might be looking for. Long solo training runs at unsociable hours multiple times a week may be cathartic but they aren’t the best way to make friends.

“They were trying to show the fact that you’re out on your own a lot of the time. It makes you think about it a little bit more,” Kenneally told after the first episode of London Calling aired on RTÉ earlier this week. “It’s an interesting experience to think about what you’re doing.”


Evans not interested in making up the numbers

2 Jun

Published by, 2 June 2012

IT’S A CLEAR sign of the times we live in that Scott Evans first learned about his Olympic qualification while scrolling through his news feed on Facebook.

Ranked number one in Ireland, eighth in Europe and 74th in the world, Evans came agonisingly close to an automatic qualification place for the men’s singles badminton at London 2012, missing out by just one spot at the end of a year-long ranking process.

The Dubliner’s near miss guaranteed that he would be the first reserve for the tournament and at the top of the queue if any National Olympic Committee turned down a place.

While the whispers on the grapevine suggested that Evans would get a golden ticket to London this summer, he had to wait until yesterday morning for official confirmation. When it arrived, he wasn’t even expecting it.

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