Team Ireland Names Forty-Two Athletes To Compete In 2023 European Youth Olympic Festival In Maribor

Philip O'Connor, left, Conor Murphy and David Gaffney, right, during a Team Ireland portrait session at the Olympic Federation of Ireland offices ahead of the 2023 Summer European Youth Olympic Festival Image: Brendan Moran/SPORTSFILE

The Olympic Federation of Ireland has today named forty-two athletes who will compete across five sports in the Summer European Youth Olympic Festival (EYOF) taking place later this month. The EYOF is the largest European multi-sport event for young athletes between the ages of 14 and 17 and generally occurs every two years. This year it takes place in Maribor, Slovenia and will run from the 23–29 of July.

The EYOF is a prestigious event that plays an important role in the overall development of athletes, as it mimics the Olympic Games model, preparing athletes for the nuances of performing in a multi-sport environment. This year’s event will see forty-eight countries across Europe participate in the event, with approximately 3,600 athletes competing.

Six athletes will represent Ireland in cycling events including the female and male road race, time trial and mountain bike events. The six athletes representing Ireland in cycling at the events are Aliyah Rafferty, Conor Murphy, David Gaffney, Greta Lawless, Kate Murphy and Phillip O'Connor. 

Team Ireland athletes who have been selected for this year’s event gathered at the official team day earlier this week, where they picked up their kit, and took part in team bonding events, along with their parents and coaches. They also heard from Tokyo Olympian, Louise Shanahan, who won a gold medal in the 800m (athletics), ten years ago at the EYOF in Utrecht, Netherlands. Fresh from a successful campaign shared her invaluable Games experience and insights with the young athletes before their departure.

Announcing the team, Olympic Federation of Ireland Chef de Mission for the EYOF, Nancy Chillingworth said,

"The EYOF is Europe’s largest multi-discipline event for young athletes, and it is a vital step for Team Ireland athletes on the Olympic pathway. This is an eager young group, with a mix of those travelling to their first multi-sport event and some who competed in the postponed EYOF last year, so we know that they are ambitious and will learn a lot. EYOF is also a great opportunity for coaches and support staff to learn and that mix of first-time and experience is evident within both the sport-specific coaches, as well as the performance support team which is led by Julianne Ryan, from the Sport Ireland Institute. I have no doubt that the athletes will have a wonderful experience and we are looking forward to supporting them to achieve their goals”.

Speaking at the team day, Shanahan, who is also a qualified Quantum Physicist, said,

“It was great to be able to share my insights from my own EYOF experience with the athletes. The learnings that you get from these multi-games experiences at a young age really set you up for senior events. I remember walking into the Tokyo village in 2021, and I knew what to expect having been in Utrecht. The biggest thing that they can come away with from these Games is their learnings, and that will help them progress through the ranks with more ease.”

The Irish team departs for Maribor on the 21st of July with competition starting on the 24th of July.

Team Ireland - Cycling 

Greta Lawless, left, Kate Murphy and Aliyah Rafferty, right, during a Team Ireland portrait session at the Olympic Federation of Ireland offices ahead of the 2023 Summer European Youth Olympic Festival. Image: Brendan Moran/Sportsfile

Aliyah Rafferty (Tyrone) Road Race, Time-Trial (F)

Conor Murphy (Louth) Road Race, Time-Trial, Mountain Bike (M)

David Gaffney (Dungarvan) Road Race, Time-Trial (M)

Greta Lawless (Dublin) Road Race, Time-Trial, Mountain Bike (F)

Kate Murphy (Cork) Road Race, Time-Trial (F)

Philip O'Connor (Galway) Road Race, Time-Trial (M)

Gary McKeegan - Team Leader

Jennifer Bates - Coach

Adrian Delaney - Mechanic