Team NI competitors set sights on Commonwealth Games success

Fifteen athletes will compete in the track and field events for Team NI at the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham which start in just over a month’s time.

By Ciaran Donaghy
Thursday, 23rd June 2022, 1:00 pm

It is the perfect blend of youth and experience with all six Northern Ireland Tokyo Olympians in athletics making the plane.

There will be 13 able-bodied and two para-athletes vying to win medals when the action starts in the West Midlands. Performance Lead Tom Reynolds, himself a Commonwealth Games athlete at Delhi in 2010, feels it is a strong team.

“It is great to get the squad named and we are really excited about the 15 athletes we have got going to Birmingham,” said Reynolds.

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Pictured from left to right: Anna McCauley, Eve Walsh-Dann, Sommer Lecky, Megan Marrs, Kate O’Connor

“You could almost split the team in half, we have all six Olympians that went to Tokyo last year from Northern Ireland and they are extremely experienced.

“Then we have a host of young and development athletes, they may be development but they can still really contend in Birmingham.

“We have a European junior medallist, a world junior medallist and a world para junior medallist in Kate (O’Connor), Sommer (Lecky) and Eve (Walsh-Dann).

“So it is a real mixture of youth and experience, but I think every single one of them has the potential of going really well in Birmingham and they will all be brining something to the table and learning.”

Reynolds is hopeful the squad can bring home medals.

“They are definitely medal hopes,” he said.

“I suppose the main ones are Leon (Reid), who obviously got the bronze in Gold Coast and has that ability to perform on the big stage.

“He didn’t have the best season last year but still brought his best to Tokyo and performed really well there...he as a chance.

“Ciara (Mageean) is a very experienced athlete and medalled at European Championships before and has performed a PB (personal best) at the World Championships a few years ago so she has a chance in the 1500 metres.

“Kate (O’Connor) is the highest ranked athlete.

“She still is only 21 and on the up and if she is anywhere near her best she will be right in the mix for medals.

“That would be the aims for those athletes but we have aims for every athlete whether that is to hit a top eight, to out perform their ranking or to set a season’s best or a personal best.

“It is really important for everyone of them to achieve those goals and we have individual goals for all of them.”

Team NI Athletes Squad: Ann McCauley Heptathlon; Ciaran Mageean 1500M; Ellish Flanagan Steeplechase; Ellie McCartney Pole Vault; Hannah Irwin 10,000m, 5000m; Kate O’Connor Heptathlon and Javelin; Kevin Seaward Marathon; Leon Reid 200m; Megan Marrs 100m Hurdles; Roisin Flanagan 5000m; Sommer Lecky High Jump; Stephen Scullion Marathon; Paul Pollock Marathon; Eve Walsh-Dann T38 100m; Mark Miller T54 Marathon.