Amy Broadhurst wins Gold and Kate O’Connor Silver at Commonwealth Games in Birmingham while Eve McCrystral wins yet more gold
Let’s hear it for the girls! Dundalk’s elite female athletes scored a hat trick this week, with double medal winning success in the Commonweath Games, and a first place finish in the ParaCycling World Championships.
Dundalk boxer Amy Broadhurst showed she had the Midas touch once again as she fought her way to glory in the Commonwealth Games, taking home her first gold medal in the 60kg event.
Local Commonweath silver medallist Kate O’Connor celebrated her amazing success in the Heptathlon, and was given a champion’s homecoming at her home in Belfry Gardens on Monday.
North Louth paralympic champion Eve McCrystal added to her medal collection with an overall win in the Paracycling World Championships, alongside Katie George Dunlevy.
Amy Broadhurst topped off an exceptional year of boxing, with her historic win in Birmingham on Sunday, having picked up her first world champion gold medal in May.
Speaking afterwards, the thrilled, but “physically and mentally exhausted” Amy said: “World champion and Commonwealth Games champion in the space of three months is something I am very proud of. Making history being the first female to win a gold medal in boxing for Northern Ireland at these games is amazing and something I will carry through my career.”
“It’s been a long year, very tiring even though it’s been amazing. Thank you to everybody who has supported me,” adding that she is planning some “down time” after the hectic schedule she has endured this year.
“Thank you to everyone who travelled to support me over the last few days. I appreciate you all.”
Kate O’Connor has been celebrating arguably the finest achievement of her glittering career after capturing a silver medal for Team Northern Ireland in the Heptathlon at the Commonwealth Games.
The 21-year-old St Gerards AC champion, a former student at St Vincent’s Secondary School, achieved a total of 6,233 points over the course of the seven disciplines that make up the gruelling Heptathlon, with three personal bests in the competition.
Arriving back to a joyous welcome, with a garda escort to her Belfry Gardens home on Monday, Kate told the Argus she was “overwhelmed” by the support.
“It’s just been incredible, I knew something was up when the Guards pulled us in on the way here!” They provided an escort to her home were family and friends were waiting to welcome her home.
Dundalk Fire Brigade turned out to celebrate her phenomenal success, with children from St. Gerard’s A.C letting off balloons into the summer sky.
She said the success was “starting to sink in”. “But it is just still so surreal. I think I’m on a buzz, I don’t know if I will ever come down from it!”
She added: “ I’m able to feel really proud of myself now. I went over there with a medal in mind, and I knew I was capable of it.”
“I’m so proud that I was able to pull it all together in front of a huge crowd like that. That can be a real challenge dealing with the nerves, but I feel like I handled myself well and I actually enjoyed the whole thing.”
“The atmosphere was almost indescribable, just amazing.”
Kate celebrated a number of ‘Personal Best’ times in the opening 100m hurdles and 200m on day one, and when combined with a solid high jump and shot put she went into day two lying in second place behind the defending champion Katarina Johnson-Thompson from England.
O’Connor dropped to fifth place overall after the long jump, but a best throw in the javelin of 51.14m moved her back up to second to 5,337 points, with Johnson-Thompson now on 5,469.
A strong fourth place in the final event, the 800m, proved decisive as O’Connor finished just 144 points adrift of the former World champion Johnson-Thompson to claim Northern Ireland’s first athletics medal since way back in 1974.
The silver medallist doesn’t have long to enjoy the home celebrations, as she jets off to Munich on Sunday to compete in the European Athletics Championships.