Belcoo’s Jack O’Connor made history in Tullamore on Saturday afternoon when he won three gold medals at the Irish Schools’ Athletics Finals in Tullamore. A sprint double in the 100 and 200m is a feat never before achieved by any Fermanagh athlete.
Later in the day, he added a third gold with the St Michael’s College relay team. The magnitude of his success was still only sinking in on Monday evening;
“I went into it believing I was going to do well but I had no clue I was going to come out with three golds,” said the 14-year-old.
The even more unbelievable thing about O’Connor’s achievement is that only three days previous, he had a cast removed, after he sustained a broken arm six weeks previous.
The young St Michael’s athlete only started participating in track and field athletics 14 months ago but has excelled in that short time and St Michael’s athletics coach, Francie Shaw, was delighted for the Year 10 student;
“I think it’s his temperament. He’s obviously very talented and has the sprinting ability but he genuinely rises to the occasion every time.
“He probably went into that 100 metres as third favourite but he has a knack of producing his best performance on the big day.
“I don’t often say this about a lad that is only 14-and-a-half, but all the raw materials are there in young Jack to be a very special talent, no question about it. It’s just about having luck with injuries and keeping his focus now,” said coach Shaw.
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