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Dawn starts, €40K training rooms and dreams of glory: Family life with the kids who excel at sport

4am alarms, no family holidays... for the parents and siblings of our most talented young athletes, there are sacrifices as well as celebrations. Chrissie Russell reports

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Twins Riona and Caragh Corcoran (12), pictured in Dalymount Park, play soccer for Bohemians. Photo: Gerry Mooney

Twins Riona and Caragh Corcoran (12), pictured in Dalymount Park, play soccer for Bohemians. Photo: Gerry Mooney

John William Burke (12) played his first competition when he was six years old. Photo: Ray Ryan

John William Burke (12) played his first competition when he was six years old. Photo: Ray Ryan

John William Burke practices his golf

John William Burke practices his golf

John William Burke (12) practises his golf at Ballyhaunis Golf Club with his dad John. Photo: Ray Ryan

John William Burke (12) practises his golf at Ballyhaunis Golf Club with his dad John. Photo: Ray Ryan

Grace Hodgins (16) in Blackrock College swimming pool. Photo: Gerry Mooney

Grace Hodgins (16) in Blackrock College swimming pool. Photo: Gerry Mooney

Swimmer Grace Hodgins and her father Ken pictured in Blackrock College swimming pool. Photo: Gerry Mooney

Swimmer Grace Hodgins and her father Ken pictured in Blackrock College swimming pool. Photo: Gerry Mooney

Twins Riona and Caragh Corcoran who play soccer for Bohemians pictured with their mother Feena in Dalymount Park. Photo: Gerry Mooney

Twins Riona and Caragh Corcoran who play soccer for Bohemians pictured with their mother Feena in Dalymount Park. Photo: Gerry Mooney

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Twins Riona and Caragh Corcoran (12), pictured in Dalymount Park, play soccer for Bohemians. Photo: Gerry Mooney

Every morning at 5am, 12-year-old John William Burke gets up, makes himself breakfast and does his stretches. At 6.10am he wakes his dad and the pair of them head out to hit golf balls, then there’s strength and conditioning training, before heading off to school at 8.30am.

From playing his first golf competition at the age of six the schoolboy has now represented Ballyhaunis Golf club in 87 events, amassing 29 first places. His dad, John, can reel off a host of titles: US kids champion, Irish Junior Golfer of the Year ‘Gary Player Trophy’, Irish Kids Golf Tour Order of Merit...


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