Sunday 15 September 2019

Flying high: Ryanair chief's nephew goes for gold

On the run: Jack O'Leary is plotting to bring home a medal from the European Cross Country event in Holland. Photo: Eóin Noonan/Sportsfile
On the run: Jack O'Leary is plotting to bring home a medal from the European Cross Country event in Holland. Photo: Eóin Noonan/Sportsfile
Claire Murphy

Claire Murphy

Success on the international stage is nothing new to his family, and 21-year-old athlete Jack O'Leary hopes to continue that at tomorrow's European Cross Country Championships in the Netherlands.

The Westmeath runner is the son of Eddie O'Leary, the racing manager at the all-conquering Gigginstown House Stud and the nephew of Ryanair CEO Michael O'Leary.

In Tilburg tomorrow, O'Leary Junior is hoping to play a pivotal role in the U-23 men's race.

"There's a medal in there if everything goes to plan and we all race our hearts out," he said. "That's the goal."

O'Leary's mother and sisters will be there to cheer him on, although father Eddie will have to watch from afar as he's attending a horse sale in France to recruit the next crop of talent for Gigginstown.

Uncle Michael - whose sons are also making a name for themselves as cross country runners - is always one of the first to text his congratulations after a race.

Now in his third year of an athletics scholarship at Iona College in New York, O'Leary has made an impressive return to the international stage after a nightmare run of injuries in 2017.

"Form is temporary, class is permanent," he said. "You know there's light at the end of a very long, dark tunnel."

O'Leary's cousin Rowan Osborne is also an under-age rugby international for Ireland.

Irish Independent

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