Rising star Ava O'Connor claims first All-Ireland athletics gold for Laois

Leinster Express Reporter

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Rising star Ava O'Connor claims first All-Ireland athletic s gold for Laois

Ava O'Connor finished off her indoor season with her first All-Ireland gold medal after a commanding performance in the Girls U-16 800m.

The Emo Rath athlete and her training partner Sian Corrigan had eased through the heats on Sunday morning and in the final both led the race out.

Ava set a fast pace with the first lap going through in 33 seconds, and she kept the pressure on in the second circuit with a 34 second lap.She now had a small lead over the chasing pack.

Over the last two laps she stretched her lead further and came home three seconds ahead of the Tipperary and Dublin athletes in second and third. Her time of 2.18:2 is a new PB.

Sian should be proud of getting into the top eight in Ireland at these her first All Irelands.

Ava was recently presented with the Athletics Ireland Star Award on Saturday night in the Tullamore Court hotel at the annual awards ceremony.

The 14 year old is a second year student in Scoil Chríost Rí Portlaoise. She competes in 800m and 1500m on the track and runs cross country.

The Leinster Express Sports Star of the Month for November started running in her local club Emo/Rath where from a very early age her potential was obvious, winning numerous county medals in a variety of events.

Having performed well in Leinster competitions, finishing top ten in both track and cross country events, Ava moved to Tullamore Harriers where she has proved a popular and enthusiastic club member.

Ava’s success is no surprise to her family. Her great grandfather, grandfather and her mother were all very keen athletes although none achieved as much as Ava has done in the last few years.

Ava had county, provincial and national success throughout 2017 over both her chosen distances of 800m and 1500m as well as in cross country competitions.

Her three national track medals were the highlight of the year and these along with the significant improvement of her PB’s at both 800m and 1500m over the year mark Ava out as a huge talent.

Ava aspires to being a professional athlete and shows in her commitment to training and enthusiasm for competition some of the qualities that are required. In the coming year she hopes to have continued success at the national level and to maybe challenge for medals in some international competitions.

Alongside her athletics, Ava plays rounders and Gaelic Football and in the past had significant success as an Irish dancer, competing at a couple of World Irish Dancing Championships.

Ava’s talent has been encouraged by her parents Liam and Sinead who three times weekly drive Ava to Tullamore Harriers training sessions at the club and on Croghan Hill.

Ava is coached by Tullamore Harriers Endurance Squad team of coaches who include, Damian Lawlor, Anthony Murphy, Annamarie Cunningham, Declan Lambe, Triona Cotter and Richie Faulkner.