The Irish MAG delegation of Luke Carson, Kieran Behan and Anthony O’Donnell departed for Rotterdam this week with coaches Simon Gale and Demetrios Bradshaw. Tom Dillon will lead the delegation with Colm Murray as Ireland’s judging representative. Luke has only just returned from competing in the Commonwealth Games where he performed fantastically, placing 15th in the All Around final.
For those wondering (and without going into it too much), Luke can compete for both the Republic of Ireland (Worlds) and Northern Ireland (Commonwealths). This is under the terms of The Good Friday Agreement which states that people living in Northern Ireland are said to be both British and Irish meaning that Luke has the option to choose whether to represent Ireland or Great Britain. This is not applicable at Senior Level, where you must chose one or the other. Many gymnasts would choose to represent Ireland as opposed Great Britain as they might be more likely to gain a place on the Irish Team.
It’s quite a unique situation to be in, as far as I know, no other country has this option. The Commonwealth Games are a bit different because there is no Team GB as the countries are split out into Wales, England, Northern Ireland etc. Ireland opted out of the Commonwealth in 1948 which was formally recognised by the British in 1949 when the country was declared a republic by removing the remaining duties of the monarch. As Ireland is not part of the Commonwealth, Luke doesn’t have to choose.
The guys are gearing up for Mens Podium Training which starts today and Boys which starts on the 18th. Tom Dillions first report from Rotterdam says that the guys have been training with the teams from Canada, Great Britain and Greece.