ATHLETICS | Kate sets her sights on a place at next year’s Commonwealth Games

St Gerard’s AC star set a heptathlon record at last week’s European U20 Championships in Italy

St Gerard’s AC’s Kate O’Connor receives her new Irish kit from CX+ Sport Commercial Manager David Minto prior to the European U20 Championships

After starring for Ireland at the European U20 Championships in Italy last week, St Gerard’s AC’s Kate O’Connor has set her sights on competing at next year’s Commonwealth Games in Australia.

The 16-year-old, who was the youngest athlete to compete in Grosseto, set a new youth record with a points tally of 5,759 in the heptathlon, securing her eighth place overall.

A grandmother from Newry means that Kate is also eligible to compete in the Commonwealth Games for Northern Ireland and speaking to Dundalk Sport at the headquarters of CX+ Sport — the kit supplier of Athletics Ireland — the St Vincent’s student said that was her next target.

“I’ve two consideration standards for the Commonwealth Games coming up,” said Kate.

“They’re on in the Gold Coast in Australia next April and that would be really good. I think the selection takes place in September.”

Reflecting on her performance in Italy, which saw her clock up three Personal Bests in the seven events that form the heptathlon, Kate was understandably overjoyed.

“I was delighted with how it went,” she said. “It was a great weekend. Everything went amazing, better than I could have expected.”

The next European Championship event takes place in 2019 and, because she is still only 16, Kate will still be eligible to take part at that event.

“I have two more years to go at these championships,” she explained.

“Hopefully I’ll be at the World Championship next year but I can go back to the European Championships again the year after.”

St Gerard’s AC’s Sarah Woods, Aoife Copas, Anna Gilgunn, Gina Akpe-Moses and Kate O’Connor pictured together in 2011

The other local success story from the European U20 Championships was Gina Akpe-Moses’ gold medal win in the 100m.

Gina is a former St Gerard’s AC clubmate of Kate’s and she said it was hard to describe the feeling when the 18-year-old crossed the line in first place.

“I was so proud of her,” said Kate. “I was watching her race and it was unreal. She’s amazing. When I seen her afterwards I gave her a big hug. I can’t describe how I felt for her.”

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