Event Preview - 2016 Artistic National Championships

13th May 2016, 00:00a.m. | International

Some of the best gymnasts in Ireland will be amongst some of the 400 performing at the Men’s and Women’s Artistic National Championships in the University of Limerick this weekend. Below we’ve taken a closer look at some of those competing for titles and honours. We start by introducing our two Olympians, Kieran Behan and Ellis O’Reilly.



Kieran Behan has won numerous titles and trophies from this competition in the past but he will be wearing a different hat at the championships this year in acting as a judge, as he is on rest prioritising his build-up to the Games.

Ellis is a 2 x All Around Irish Champion, she’s the 1st ever Female Irish Gymnast to qualify for an Olympic Test Event, the 1st ever Female Irish Gymnast to compete at an Olympic Test Event and the 1st ever Female Irish Gymnast to qualify for an Olympic Games. She also competed at; 2 x World Championships in 2014 and 2015; 2 x European Championships in 2014 and 2015; the first ever European Games in Baku 2015 and she claimed All Around Silver and Team Silver Medal at the Northern European Championships 2015! What a list!

Ellis will compete on Saturday 14th May for Renmore Gymnastics Club ahead of the 2016 European Championships in Bern, Switzerland. This will be her final competition before she heads out to Rio to make history.


This is one of the most competitive fields of the weekend. First, we introduce Adam Steele who has been selected for this year’s Senior European Championships in Bern, Switzerland. His recent performances at the International GymSport Tournament 2016 where he placed 3rd AA, claimed a silver medal on P.Barsand a bronze medallist on vault, show that he has form coming into the championships.

Daniel Fox has represented Ireland at a variety of competitions including the 2014 World Artistic Gymnastics Championships in Nanning, China, the inaugural 2015 European Games in Baku and is also part of the Team Ireland delegation head for this year’s Senior European Championships.

Last but not least in the seniors is Jack Neill, the 18 year old from Epsom has represented Ireland at the 2012 and 2014 European Championships, 2013 European Youth Olympics, the 2015  World Artistic Gymnastics Championships in Glasgow and he was the 2014 U18 All Around champion and helped the Irish team win the 2015 Celtic Cup competition in Cardiff. Jack completes the team line up for this year’s Senior European Championships.

Senior Women

Alongside Ellis in the women’s field is Casey Bell from Salto Gymnastics Club. Casey was first reserve for the Rio test event and she is the current Celtic Cup All Around Junior Champion 2016. She has also been selected to represent Ireland at the European Championships in Bern next month along with Ellis and Nicole Mawhinney. Going on her strong performances at the Celtic Cup, she’ll be tough to beat at this year’s Championships.

Junior Men

Moving onto Junior Men we introduce 16 years old Rhys McClenaghan. The current Irish all around National Champion, Rhys has competed at the European Youth Olympics and has been selected for this year’s Junior European Championships in Bern, Switzerland. Training full time at Rathgael Gymnastics Club, Bangor, Northern Ireland, Rhys brings a wealth of international experience and skill to the Junior Men’s category. He’ll be tough to beat again this year and hoping to retain his title.

Next up is Ewan McAteer from Salto Gymnastics Club. Ewan has had a strong showing this past year, claiming medals at a variety of international events and so has form coming into this year’s Championships. He has represented Ireland at the 2015 European Youth Olympics and is the current Celtic Cup all around junior champion 2016. He'll travel to Bern, Switzerland with Team Ireland also.

Anthony Duchars is a 17 year old who hails from the Isle of Man. He has competed for Ireland at a number of competitions including 2015 European Youth Olympics and he has been selected for this year’s European Championships in Bern, Switzerland. He’ll be sporting the Douglas Gymnastics Club colours this weekend.

Junior Women

In the Junior Women competition, we have a strong competition for the honours this year. First up is Meg Ryan. The 14-year-old Corkonian trains at Douglas Gymnastics Club and is making the step up to junior from a very successful time as a minor. Meg has pedigree in the competition having been 2nd in the 2014 All Around Minor National Championships and is the current Minor All Around, Vault and Floor Champion. She has also competed for Ireland for the past three years at the Celtic Cup and this year she placed 2nd All Around in the competition. She has qualified for the Junior European Championships in Switzerland in June.

Liling Martin from Nadia Gymnastics Club in Mayo has a long list of honours and achievements to her name; She was National minor champion 2014, she travelled to the youth Olympics in 2015, she claimed a silver medal with team Ireland at Northern European championships 2015, she won a bronze medal with team Ireland at Celtic cup 2015 and finally this year she helped team Ireland claim a silver medal at the Celtic cup 2016. She and Meg will be vying for the title this year and it makes for an exciting competition.

Other notable mentions are Rebecca Geddis (age 13) who has also been selected to represent Ireland at the European Championships next month.

Men’s Minor

In the minor men category, Ethan McGrogan is the current Irish National Champion and the 11 year old was part of the successful Ireland Celtic Cup Team that won Team gold in the Isle of Man this year.

Providing strong competition in this category is Celtic cup team mate Eamon Montgomery (age 12) who placed 1st on the floor and vault, 2nd place on high bar in the minor’s competition of this year’s Celtic cup

Women’s Minor

On the women’s side of this minor category we have depth in the field with notable mentions to Elisha Gallagher who helped Ireland to Team and individual silver at Celtic cup 2016.

Emma Slevin, who has represented Ireland a total of 4 times over the last 3 years and was the first Irish Minor to compete the Yurchenko vault last year for the first time.

Jane Heffernan is competing at her first National Championships; however, Jane has represented Ireland a total of 3 times in the last 2 years alongside her club mate Kate Molloy who is also making her debut at this year’s championships.

Miriam Fuller meanwhile is one to watch for the future and whilst she is carrying an injury coming into this year’s championships, she’ll be hoping to make a mark in her two at her first National Championships.

Other notable mentions in this category are Abbie Corbett, Lily Furey and Eve McGibbon.

This is a just a preview of some of the contenders for this weekend’s competition. The titles and trophies are up for grabs for all competitors… is there anyone missing from this list? Let us know who you think will be a contender this weekend!


Here's a video of last year’s weekend event.

and a video of the finals!

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