Castlerea fighter is heading for Tokyo
Young Castlerea woman Aoife O’Rourke will represent Ireland in the Olympic Games in Tokyo next month following her sensational performances in the European qualifiers, which were held in Paris last weekend.
Aoife began her weekend with a convincing 4-1 win victory over Viktoryia Kebikava of Belarus, and followed that with her most impressive performance of the qualifiers in beating Polish fighter Elzbieta Wojcik to secure her place at the Tokyo Games which take place from July 23rd to August 8th this year.
Reacting to the Castlerea fighter’s heroics this week, Paddy Sharkey of Castlerea Boxing Club, who has coached Aoife since she began in the sport, says that she has always been incredibly dedicated to training and improving all the time.
Paddy says he knew that Aoife would be a special talent all along.
“I knew straight away that she would be good. I remember when she had just started we went down to a club in Mayo and told them that she was only a novice – they got some shock when they saw her in action!
“I was talking to Bernard Dunne a few years ago and told him we had a girl in the club that was going to win an Olympic medal. That’s how confident I was about her ability. She is a great girl to coach. She works hard; she’s a great listener, takes direction and wants to learn. Her sister Lisa is a brilliant prospect too”.
The Castlerea coach can now look forward to watching his protégé in action on the biggest stage of them all for amateur boxers.
“She has every chance of winning a medal. I have great faith in her. It’s brilliant for Castlerea, for Roscommon, and for Connacht to have her going there”.
Paddy says that Aoife’s success will be a big boost to Castlerea Boxing Club in particular.
“We have about forty kids coming and going here all the time and Aoife’s success is a great help to us. If it means that another few kids come in and train and it gets them off the streets, then it will have been brilliant,” he concluded.
Aoife is the daughter of Kevin and Anne, and sister to Aisling, Áine, Ailish and Lisa (who is another very talented boxer). Dad Kevin is understandably very proud of the achievements of his daughter, but remains very relaxed and laid back about it all too.
“She trains hard and is very dedicated. Boxing is an individual sport and it’s grand if things are going well, but it can be lonely if things go wrong. Thankfully it’s going well for her. It’s great to have qualified for the Olympics and she will be off in just a few weeks,” he said.
Kevin says that the family watched last weekend’s action at home in Castlerea.
“She finishes her fights strong, and that’s down to the training and hard work that she does. That’s what happened last weekend. She has her feet on the ground and she won’t get carried away with this,” he added.
Kevin also had a special word of thanks for all the people who have helped Aoife become a success in the ring.
“There are people like Paddy Sharkey and Richie Feeney who have been such a help to Aoife and they deserve great praise for helping her over the years. We will all be looking forward to seeing her in the Olympics now and hopefully it will go well for her,” he concluded.