17 June, 2024 | Posted by Dr. Susan Giblin

Ireland at the European Championships: Grassroots to Glory

Last week saw a historic medal haul for the Irish athletes competing in the Stadio Olympico in Rome, marking the largest since Budapest 1998, where Sonia O’Sullivan secured two gold medals. The medal count was undoubtedly exciting, and although rare, it was not unexpected. These championship performances were not flukes or strokes of luck. They were years in the making, born from exceptional hard work by the athletes, and bolstered by increased investment in coaching, funding, and facilities to support Ireland’s brightest talent.

The Sports Ireland campus has steadily been improving its infrastructure to support success over the past decade. Sports Ireland now provides world-class high-performance sports science that has elevated the professional status of the sport for this generation of athletes. These athletes can now access top-notch resources in sports physiology, sports psychology, strength and conditioning, as well as injury prevention and management.

A combination of investment in both elite-level and grassroots athletics is required for sustained success on the European or World stage. It is easy to look ahead to the Paris Olympics with great expectation now. However, our Irish athletes and their support teams are working towards longer-term and nuanced plans for future podium finishes, whether within this four-year Olympic cycle or the next. The dedication to nurturing talent from the grassroots level upwards ensures a steady pipeline of skilled athletes ready to compete at the highest levels.

Being part of the support team working with elite athletes is a privilege. Portobello Institute is proud to be part of that journey, educating individuals with a passion for sport and an unwavering dedication to excellence. This commitment to education and support is crucial, as it helps build the foundation for Ireland’s continued success on the international stage.

The journey from grassroots to glory is a testament to the power of dedication, proper support, and strategic investment. It showcases the incredible potential that lies within Ireland’s athletes and the importance of nurturing this potential from the earliest stages. The recent successes in Rome are just the beginning, and with continued investment and support, the future of Irish athletics looks exceptionally bright. As we celebrate these achievements, we must also recognise the immense effort and collaboration that made them possible, from the athletes themselves to their coaches, support teams, and the institutions that provide critical resources and education.

Ireland’s triumph at the European Championships serves as a powerful reminder of what can be achieved when talent meets opportunity. The athletes' success is a source of national pride and an inspiration for future generations of Irish sportsmen and women. The road to Rome was long and arduous, filled with countless hours of training, dedication, and the unyielding support of a nation committed to sporting excellence. As we look forward to future competitions, we can do so with the confidence that Ireland’s athletes are well-prepared and supported, ready to take on the world stage and bring home even more glory.


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