Kanturk star athlete Michelle Finn is in the running for next year's Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.
Michelle (25) told The Corkman that she was "delighted" to face what will surely be the biggest challenge in her running career to date. Running is the Finn genes, as her dad, Toddy, her mom Mary and her sister Carol are all keen runners.
She is a member of the LeeVale Athletic Club, is all but qualified after she "met the standards" at an event in Letterkenny at the weekend. Competing in the three kilometre steeplechase, Michelle finished third with a time of 9:43:04, putting her will inside the qualification standard for next year's Olympics as well as this year's World Championships in Beijing next month. While she is not officially qualified, she said that it is all but certain as there aren't enough people that can move her out of the qualification period.
Michelle will be part of an Irish athletic team in Rio next year made up of eight athletes. There will be three other 'steeplers' on the team as well as well known athletes such as Cork walker, Rob Heffernan, who already has a world title to his name.
Her excitement was evident when speaking to The Corkman as she said she can't wait to get over to Brazil with her family who will make the long journey to support their hero.
"I am delighted to have family members going to support me, they have big plans to travel to the games."
While, this is obviously a special moment for Michelle and her family, she is not losing sight as to what has to be done for her to achieve success. She acknowledged the vast differences in conditions between Rio and what she is used to here in Ireland.
"I will do some warm weather training in the lead up to the games but I am fairly used to warm conditions because I've done a lot of running in the States."
This is in reference to her time in Western Kentucky University, where she obtained a scholarship to having spent two years studying in the University of Limerick.
Donie Shine, Chairman of the Duhallow Athletic Club, where Michelle first plied her trade has certainly been singing her praises.
"She is a brilliant runner and has all the qualities to make it as a world class athlete. You would know by her style that she's going to make it to the top. It's like she's floating on air. She is always articulate in her approach to things, both on the track and off it."
Both Donie and Michelle alluded to her family's history in athletics and how it has made her the runner she is today. "Both my mom and dad were involved and I suppose this is where I got it from," said Michelle.
Donie also praised Michelle for what she has given back to her clubs and her community.
"The biggest compliment I could give her is that she encourages other to come on board and join our sport and club," he said.