The 40-strong squad includes the cream of Ireland’s young athletic talent in four sports – track & field, cycling, gymnastics and swimming – and is hoping to take home many medals in what is Europe’s top competition for under age athletes.
The track & field team is particularly strong across the board and has several potential medal winners such as Ciara Mageean from Portaferry, who recently smashed Sonia O’Sullivan’s 22 year old junior 800 metres record, Shane Quinn from Waterford (1,500 metres) and Adam Ingram from Belfast (800 metres).
The team is: Martin Burke (Chef de Mission), Sonia O’Sullivan (Deputy Chef de Mission).
Track & Field team: Shane Quinn, Adam Ingram, Caoimhe King, Cathriona Farrell, Christine McMahon, Ciara Mageean, Ciaran Dolan, Edmond O’Halloran, Joan Healy, Joanna Mills, Killian Barry, Lorcan O’Cathain, Paul Scanlan, Thomas Houlihan, John McGrath (team manager), James Ryan (coach), Karen Kirk (coach).
Cycling team: Javan Nulty, Robert Anderson, Ryan Mullen, Michael McKenna (team manager), Robert Dunlop (coach).
Gymnastics team: Jordain McGifford, Christopher O’Connor, Niamh Clohessy, Deirdre Farren (team manager), Timothy O’Donovan (coach), Mary Murray (judge).
Swimming team: Daniel Sweeney, Jordan Sloan, Nicholas Quinn, Sycerika McMahon, Fiona Burke (team manager), Bobby Madine (coach).
Support team: Dr. Rod McLoughlin (team doctor), Dr. Marie-Elaine Grant (Chief Physiotherapist) and Eimear O’Leary (Physiotherapist).
Martin Burke, who is the Olympic Council of Ireland’s Sports Director, said that the inclusion of Olympic star Sonia O’Sullivan in the management team would boost Ireland’s medal chances in Finland.
“As a new member of the Olympic Council of Ireland, it allows Sonia to gain valuable management experience in seeing how sports, other than athletics, operate in a multi-disciplinary Olympic-style environment”, he said.
The European Youth Olympics will be held from July 18th – 25th. See www.tampere2009.fi