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Tuesday 21 August 2018

Irish Champion, Leila, is targeting first world title

Leila Clarke, pictured with her dad, Billy, won the U10 All-Ireland Irish Dancing championships in City West, Dublin
Leila Clarke, pictured with her dad, Billy, won the U10 All-Ireland Irish Dancing championships in City West, Dublin

Brendan Keane

A young Irish dancer from Saltmills is fast becoming one of the most talked about performers on the contemporary Irish dancing circuit.

Leila Clarke (10), from Ballyvarrig, won the U10 All-Ireland championships in City West, Dublin.

While it's her first time getting to the top step of the podium she has been dancing since she was four and has recorded a number of 2nd and 3rd place finishes despite her young age.

Leila, who is a daughter of Billy and Bridget Clarke, is a member of the Doyle Academy of Irish Dancing in Davidstown, under Nora and Lisa Doyle, however, she attends her classes in Clongeen.

In addition to securing the All-Ireland title she also won the Dublin championship this year and she now has her sights fixed firmly on the World Championships which will take place next year.

She was already marked down to attend the world championships this year but unfortunately an ankle injury put her out of action for around nine weeks

Her love and inherent talent for Irish dancing is something she inherited from her father who himself is a former underage All-Ireland champion.

Speaking to this newspaper about his daughter's achievements a justifiably proud Mr Clarke said Leila had worked very hard to win the championship. He praised the work of her two dance teachers and said himself and Bridget are now looking forward to seeing how Leila gets on if she is selected for a world championship attempt in 2019.

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