Athletics Ireland RDO Lilly-Ann O’Hora talks about promoting Athletics participation

Athletics is just one of many sports competing for the interest of young people with GAA, soccer and rugby also amongst the biggest participation sports in the country. Limerick woman Lilly-Ann O’Hora is a Regional Development Officer and tasked with promoting the sport in schools and clubs in the region.

Speaking to Sporting Limerick, Lilly-Ann describes some of the challenges she faces in her role when it comes promoting Athletics and debunking some of the misconceptions around the sport.

“It is kind of hard at times because people think that athletics is all about torturing yourself and running laps of the pitch but thankfully the sport is so much more better than that. It does stand to you in so many other ways.

“It improves in your overall strength, balance, co-ordination, agility everything and obviously your aerobic and anaerobic capacities”.

With an ever increasing tendency for people to play just one sport, O’Hora says that does not have to be the case as athletics training and participation can work in tandem with other sports and has many transferable benefits.

“We are competing against bigger sports like the GAA and Rugby but there is a huge window of opportunity there for athletics to transfer into the other sports.

“If you think back on some Limerick athletes such as Fiona Doyle, she’s competing for swimming in Ireland, Robbie Hanley and Barry Nash in the Limerick Senior Hurling panel and the likes of Paudie O’Connor who now is taking the soccer world by storm. We have been very very lucky that all of these people have competed and it has brought them to a great level in their own sports.

“Athletics is the foundation of other sports and it would benefit so many if they could just buy into it”.

It is clear to see that O’Hara wants to help with the development of athletics across the country. It’s a fantastic sport and with the likes of such great athletes such as Tom Barr who is based in UL and Limerick’s Ciara Neville on the rise the sport is only going to get bigger and better in Ireland.

“Athletics can be for everyone , no matter the ability, competivite or not , clubs across the county are more than capable of helping you towards achieveing a particular training goal. The friendships and camaraderie in athletics is the best you can with everyone striving towards their own individual goals.

“If anyone wants to sign up to a club or to be put in contact with their nearest Fit4Life group, I’d love to help them. My contact details are 0858060440 or”

The Strength and Conditioning workshop will take place on Thursday April 19th in the Absolute Hotel.

Check out the full interview below.

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Emma Needham