Dundalk athlete Kate O’Connor has been rewarded for her excellent recent form with a place on the Northern Irish team for April’s Commonwealth Games in Australia.
The recently turned seventeen-year old St Gerard’s Athletic Club heptathlete enjoyed a hugely successful 2017 with outstanding performances in both the European Combined Team Championships in Monzon (Spain) and the U20 Athletics championships in Grosetto. (Italy). In Monzon, Kate finished in third place with a score of 5632 which was just outside the Irish National record of 5669.
She backed up that impressive performance with an even better display in Italy as she smashed the National Record with a points total of 5759 to finish in eighth place. The fact that she was competing against athletes three years older than her made the achievement all the more remarkable. Kate also set national records in 2017 for both the javelin and long jump.
Thanks to those stellar performances, Kate reached the qualifying standards for the Commonwealth Games and the Northern Ireland selection committee last week selected her as one of twelve athletes they will send to the Gold Coast in April. The Dundalk athlete qualifies for the Northern Irish team through her grandmother who is from Newry.
Speaking before Christmas, Kate’s father and coach Michael O’Connor, was thrilled that his daughter was in contention to travel to Australia with the Northern Ireland team.
“She has had a fantastic year and has worked very hard for this so that makes it all the sweeter for her. She took six or seven weeks off after Grosetto but she has been back training a few weeks now and this nomination has given her even more drive to keep on improving,” explained Michael.
“The hard work will have to be put in now over the winter and although the majority of it will be indoors we will be hoping for a mild enough winter so we can train outdoors as well. She will train in Newry Jordanstown and around Dundalk in DKIT, Darver and Aura. It’s exciting times for Kate and we’re all looking forward to seeing her compete in Australia,” he added.