Tarmon National School Principal Kieran Dowd said former student Aoife O’Rourke will be following in the footsteps of greatness as she embarks on her Olympics journey this Sunday.
“When we grew up we watched some of the greats…even Muhammad Ali in his Cassius Clay days started out by winning a gold medal at the Olympics. You cannot get any higher than that, the greatest sportsmen of them all. Aoife is following in those great footsteps and even in Ireland there has been great success in the ring with the likes of Michael Carruth in 1992 and Katie Taylor.
“To get to the Olympics is a phenomenal achievement so I’m really pleased for her because she’s such a modest and unassuming girl and the perfect role model for the students in Tarmon,” he said.
Kieran said there was a flurry of excitement when Aoife confirmed her qualification in June.
“It was fever pitch! Aoife’s home house is just 200 metres away from here and the family are all very involved; her sister Ailish is currently working in the school. Any of Aoife’s bouts that were on during school time we watched them live in practically every classroom in the school. We are all very proud of her here,” he added.
Deputy Principal, Marie Baggot, says Aoife’s work ethic and determination in the classroom translated into success on the sporting fields and in the boxing ring.
“Aoife was a lovely girl and she was a very popular student in the school with lots of friends. She was also a very hard worker and very determined in the classroom, similar to how she is in sport.
“She was involved in any sport that was available in the school and showed great commitment, determination and discipline,” she said.
All five of the O’Rourke sisters were educated at Tarmon NS and Marie says they were each a credit to their parents, Kevin and Anne.
“Aoife comes from a lovely, supportive family who are neighbours to us here in Tarmon. They were very committed to the school and to their family and they have raised five lovely girls and we are so proud of them as neighbours. Both Kevin and Anne and Aoife’s siblings were heavily involved in sport and would have a good understanding of what it takes to be successful,” she said.
Looking ahead to the Olympic Games, Marie, like so many others who have commented on Aoife this past week, said regardless of what happens, she is already a champion.
“Aoife is very modest and regardless of how the competition goes, she can take enormous pride in being an Olympian. It’s a great honour for the school and she is great role model for pupils past and present”.