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13 Aug 2022

Leitrim's Gerard O'Donnell appointed as new Coach Education manager for Athletics Ireland

Leitrim's Gerard O'Donnell appointed as new Coach Education manager for Athletics Ireland

Leitrim's Gerard O'Donnell, pictured in action over the hurdles, has been appointed as the new Coach Education Manager for Athletics Ireland

More familiar to the Leitrim sporting public as a multiple national champion in the hurdles, Leitrim's Gerard O'Donnell is making strides off the track with the news that he has been appointed as the new Coach Education manager for Athletics Ireland.

The announcement was made on Wednesday morning and will see the Carrick-on-Shannon AC athlete, who ran the second fastest 110m hurdles time of the year by an Irish athlete last weekend in Belgium, officially take up his new roles from next Monday July 18.

In a statement released by Athletics Ireland, Gerard said "I am delighted to be taking on the new role of Coach Education Manager with Athletics Ireland. It is an exciting time for Irish athletics, and I am looking forward to delivering a strategy that will ensure that there is a sufficient number of qualified coaches to meet the needs of athletics participation at different levels, and ensure the quality, consistency, and recognition of coaches across the Athletics Ireland club network."

O'Donnell, who was pipped by two hundredths of a second by Crusaders' Matthew Behan in this year's National Senior Championships recently, is already making his mark in the coaching world as a member of the Dublin Sprint Club coaching group, with two members of the group, Sophie Becker and Cillin Greene, reaching the final of the Mixed 4 x 400m relay at last year's Tokyo Olympics.

Becker and Donore Harriers Jack Raftery were also picked for next week's World Championships in Oregon with fellow Carrick AC athletes Eanna Madden, Alannah McGuinness and Cathal McElgunn also part of the Dublin Sprint training group. 

The Athletics Ireland Press release said: Gerard O’Donnell has been announced as Athletics Ireland’s new Coach Education Manager, a position which will commence on July 18, 2022. The post will be integral to the delivery of key objectives within Athletics Ireland’s Strategic plan 2021 to 2028 and will involve supporting clubs and leading coach education.

Gerard will work in collaboration with the High-Performance Director and Director of Coaching & Development to enhance the Athletics coaching programmes and course materials, and to ensure consistency and synchronicity in both athlete and coach development pathways.

Speaking at the announcement, he said: “I am delighted to be taking on the new role of Coach Education Manager with Athletics Ireland. It is an exciting time for Irish athletics, and I am looking forward to delivering a strategy that will ensure that there is a sufficient number of qualified coaches to meet the needs of athletics participation at different levels, and ensure the quality, consistency, and recognition of coaches across the Athletics Ireland club network”.

A native of Carrick-on-Shannon, and familiar to many as an 8-time national hurdle champion, Gerard has been working with Athletics Ireland as Regional Development Officer for the Dublin City Council area since September 2018.

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