Ballymahon's up and coming sports stars

Sporting personalities: by Michelle Laffan, Rachel Maguire, Leigh Gurney and Abbey Corrigan

There is lots of up and coming sports stars in Longford and in this feature article, Mercy Ballymahon students Michelle Laffan, Rachel Maguire, Leigh Gurney and Abbey Corrigan profile three of the most prominent sportspeople in their school.

Walking has allowed Oisin Lane travel the world

Oisin Lane is a fifth year student in Mercy Ballymahon. He is an extremely talented race walker and currently one of county Longford’s most prominent young athletes. We recently spoke to Oisin about his success and life outside of sport.

Oisin began race walking in first year when his father, the Irish National coach, encouraged him to try it out. He joined Mullingar Harriers Athletics Club and has never looked back since.

Oisin is an extremely dedicated athlete, training up to six times a week and during peak season has competitions every two weeks. Looking at the many accolades he has received for his sport, his dedication has certainly paid off.

He was awarded best young Irish race walker in 2017 and placed fourth in this year’s European Youth Olympics. Oisin has also won the All-Ireland School’s competition for the last four years in a row, and he is hoping to retain his title this year.

Walking has allowed Oisin to travel the world, last year alone visiting twelve different countries for competitions, some of the most interesting being Hungary, Lithuania, Switzerland and the Isle of Man. Most recently, he was in Baku, Azerbaijan for the European Youth Olympics.

Outside of walking, Oisin is an avid lover of music, playing the piano, guitar, tin whistle, low whistle and bodhrán. He feels that it is important for him to have an outlet outside of sport, and music offers him this.

His hectic training schedule has meant that Oisin isn’t able to focus on his music as much as he would like to. He has also had to give up speech and drama, in order to give walking his full attention.

On his bucket list is to travel the world outside of sport, be in a band and participate in the Olympics. Oisin describes himself as good-natured and a thinker. In the future he would like to have a career in psychology.

Oisin believes that he doesn’t just have one specific role in the world, and instead is a whole package. He believes he can contribute a lot to society, whether that be through walking or just by being a good friend and family member.

Whatever his place in the world is, it is clear that Oisin Lane will make an impact wherever he goes and whatever he does.

Inspired by his late father, talented basketball player Sergi Madden loves to wear number twelve

Sergi plays basketball for Longford Falcons and plays for Mercy Ballymahon. He trains three times a week, twice for Falcons and once for the school. He plays Guard position for both school and club.

Sergi reckons that the toughest part of Basketball is the height factor that is in play, and the disadvantages you must overcome as a shorter player.

He enjoys the friends he has made through basketball, becoming friendly with many people he wouldn’t have without it, and he reckons that is the best part about basketball.

He doesn’t like losing, but who does, that’s part of the game, and makes winning all the more sweet.

He first started playing basketball at around 6, inspired by his Dad, who coached another team in Longford. His favourite Basketball players are Lebron James and Kyrie Irving, and he said that if he could have one superpower, it would be to play like these two superstars.

Sergi doesn’t just play basketball, he also plays the drums, and enjoys playing any songs with cool beats behind them.

Sergi’s favourite school subjects are PE and Music. Sergi said that he loves .E because it gives you a break from thinking about all the other subjects and just focus on physical exercise.

Sergi was kind enough to tell us his most embarrassing story in basketball, when he slipped and fell after getting a good pass and was in for a good shot at the basket.

His biggest achievements include winning the midlands league and moving on to the all-Ireland league and winning that as well with The Falcons. His team won the All-Ireland again the year after, when he was captain of the under 14s Falcons team.

We asked Sergi where he sees himself in 10 years. He told us that if he sustained an injury that meant he couldn’t play basketball anymore, he would like to do coaching, like his father did for the Longford Torpedoes.

He loves the idea of helping players grow and get better at the game, seeing them win and lose, and helping them overcome hurdles.

Sergi usually plays number 12 on court. This number is special to him because his father used to play Number 12 as well.

When Sergi got his first kit for the school, he joined the team late, and didn’t get to choose what number he was given, but fate determined that Sergi would continue his Father’s legacy and play Number 12 as he did before him, with his second name on his kit as well. Madden 12.

Sergi’s father died of cancer a few years ago. Earlier that year, Sergi started playing League Basketball for his Club, and his father managed to get out of hospital to see his son play in an All-Ireland Match as Number 12.

Hat-trick of All-Ireland medals for ladies football star Lauren McGuire

Lauren McGuire hails from Carrickedmond, County Longford. She plays both club and county, for Carrickedmond Ladies GAA and Longford Ladies GAA. Recently she has won three All-Ireland medals at county level; minor and under 16 and also for her school Mercy Ballymahon Senior Ladies team.

We decided to ask her a few questions about her recent achievements and her hopes and plans for the near future.

She is delighted to have won three All- Ireland medals in the one year. All of the hard training she has done especially in the cold winter months has paid off. She started playing when she was in her primary school at seven years of age.

Her father along with her brother were a huge influence on her in starting to play football. Her father’s sisters played club football for Carrickedmond Ladies. This encouraged her even more to play football.

She is always conscious of her diet and drinks lots of water before, during and after games as she believes this is very important.

She trains most evenings as she is involved in school, club and county football.

She has many sporting role models that she looks up to such as Aishling Moloney from Tipperary. Moloney is a brilliant player who Lauren loves to watch playing. Aishling Moloney also received player of the match in the Intermediate All-Ireland Final this year and Lauren hopes to achieve something like this one day.

Lauren also looks up to Michelle Farrell from Colmcille who plays for Longford Ladies and Emer Powell from Carrickedmond.

Lauren’s sporting goals for the future are to continue playing football with her club and county teams and hopefully one day be able to play in Croke Park with Longford Ladies.

As Ladies football has increased in popularity rapidly over the past year, Lauren hopes that girls who are starting to play football will learn the basic skills well, train hard, listen to their manager and enjoy the experience of playing with their friends at club and county levels as she believes football is very important.

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