Ciara Hoey (17) has had a great 2015 so far. The Dundalk native won her second Junior Ladies title at the Irish National Figure Skating Championships in March at the Odyssey Arena in Belfast and then became the first Irish skater to claim gold at an International Skating Union (ISU) international when she emerged victorious at the FMBA Trophy in Abu Dhabi in April. Later on that month she also attended the ISU Development Trophy in Gdansk, Poland – a training camp for skaters from countries such as Ireland with a short tradition in the sport.
Having met the criteria set down by the Ice Skating Association of Ireland (ISAI), she was selected for the Irish national team again this season in July and will make her debut on the ISU Junior Grand Prix of Figure Skating Series in Linz, Austria on 10-12 September.
“It has been a great year so far and I am delighted to have been chosen to represent my country internationally again this year,” Hoey said.
The two-time Junior Ladies national champion picked up the figure skating bug in 2008 when she began taking lessons at the Dundalk Icedome along with her older sister Niamh. She progressed rapidly through the ranks to become one of Ireland’s leading skaters in a short space of time.
It hasn’t been all plain sailing and she has faced some adversity in her skating career. In May 2010, the Dundalk Icedome closed down which forced Hoey and other skaters in the Republic to commute to Dundonald on the outskirts of Belfast to train. In July 2014, she fractured her ankle and had a screw inserted which kept her off the ice for four months and prevented her from competing on the Junior Grand Prix Series last season. On top of all this, she also moved to Manchester to begin college.
Hoey is now coached by Gill Edwards at the Silver Blades Ice Rink in Altrincham and they will be travelling together as the Irish team to Austria. Top skaters from Russia, Japan and the United States of America will all be present, but she is looking forward to the challenge.
“My practice sessions have been going well this summer and I am just so excited to get out there on the ice and show what I can do,” Hoey said.
The ISU Junior Grand Prix of Figure Skating Series started in 1997 and has become one of the most prestigious events to which young figure skaters can be invited. There are seven Grand Prixs annually and each skater will normally compete at two of these to accumulate points in order to qualify for the Grand Prix Final in December. Hoey is the first Irish skater since 2012 to participate in a Junior Grand Prix.
The Junior Grand Prix in Austria will be broadcast live online on the ISU’s YouTube channel – https://www.youtube.com/ISUJuniorGrandPrix .