2022 European Youth Olympic Festival - Team Ireland gymnasts close out competition

27th July 2022, 21:22p.m. | International

27.07.22 Banska Bystrica, Slovakia; Team Ireland gymnasts Niall Hooton, Lily Russell, Maeve McGuinness, and Sophie McGuinness today concluded competition at the 2022 European Youth Olympic Festival in Banska Bystrica.

Niall ranked 68th in the boys all-around individual event. Our girls trio finished in 18th place in the team category, with Lily Russell in 40th, Sophie McGuinness in 50th, and Maeve McGuinness in 72nd position respectively.

Reflecting on the experience, Maeve McGuinness said: "It was very exciting, especially being with athletes from different countries and different events." Her twin sister Sophie commented on the great atmosphere among the team: “If someone is upset, we understand what they are going through, and try to lift them up.” Their teammate Lily Russell was keen to build on this experience ahead of next month's Junior European Championships: "We are excited to be here, and excited for the Europeans in Munich in a few weeks!"

Speaking from Banska Bystrica, Gymnastics Ireland’s Women’s National Performance Coach, Sandra Stevenson said: “The gymnasts produced some great performances in their first ever international event at EYOF. We are all very proud of how the team handled themselves in the arena. They have gained invaluable experience of not only international competition but competing in a multi-sport village environment. We are now all looking forward to building on the performance and results achieved this week as we prepare for the Junior European Championships in a few weeks’ time.”

Gymnastics Ireland’s Men’s National Performance Coach, Andy Smyth shared this positive outlook of the event: “Overall it was a brilliant display from our gymnasts, showing again we can compete at the top European level. The competition provided much needed international experience from all of their first international. I couldn't be prouder of how the team has carried themselves throughout the Games, we have lessons to learn from and experiences to draw upon in our lead up to Europeans next month."

Sally Johnson, Gymnastics Ireland Performance and Technical Manager said: “This has been a great start for the team. All three girls started with Gymnastics Ireland Olympic Start Squad when they were selected at only 7 years old! The future will be exciting as they move through from the Junior to Senior pathway over the next couple of years. Well done to Niall who also has also had his first international experience. I’m sure this week will stand to all the gymnasts in helping to overcome nerves when they compete on the international stage again in the near future. Congratulations to our coaches Sandra Stevenson, Colm Murray, Ben Howells and Andrew Smith on all their preparation and hard work. A special mention also to our Judges Chloe O’Toole and Denis Donoghue who judged out at the event!”

Gymnastics Ireland CEO Mr. Ciaran Gallagher added: “Congratulations to Niall, Sophie, Maeve & Lily in representing Ireland at their first major international and first multi-sport event! EYOF is one of the first major steps on the international competitive pathway and one of the big development steps towards future Olympic Games participation for many of these young gymnasts. In the context of the girls, it’s particularly exciting to think as the youngest team in the women’s field they will still be well in age for next year’s EYOF! Again huge congratulations to the gymnasts, their clubs & families and coaches. Special thanks also to our national coaching staff Colm Murray, Andy Smyth and Sandra Stevenson in addition to our judges Chloe O’Toole and Denis Donoghue plus the entire OFI team.”

Full results are available at https://results.eyof2022.com/schedule/artistic-gymnastics

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