47 Best Olympic Players in Ireland of All Time

Tom Kershaw

Ireland has a long and proud history of Olympic success, with some of the most decorated athletes in the world coming from this beautiful country.

From the legendary Eamonn Coghlan to the modern-day phenomenon Katie Taylor, Ireland’s Olympic athletes have consistently amazed the world with their incredible achievements.

From athletics to boxing, Ireland has had its fair share of world-class Olympic athletes who have made their mark on the international stage.

In this article, we will take a look at some of the best Olympic athletes from Ireland, and the incredible accomplishments they have achieved.

1. Pat O’Callaghan

Patrick ‘Pat’ O’Callaghan was an Irish athlete who made a remarkable mark in the world of sport. He was the first athlete from Ireland to win an Olympic medal under the Irish flag, rather than the British flag.

This achievement was incredibly significant and gave a great sense of pride to the Irish people. Pat O’Callaghan was an outstanding athlete, even considered as one of the greatest athletes Ireland has ever known.

His gold medal success at the 1928 Amsterdam Olympics in the hammer throw was a major highlight of his sporting career, as Ireland had not seen such an accomplishment since the early 1800s. His success led to an immense amount of admiration and respect from the Irish people.

He even received an invitation from the President of Ireland, Douglas Hyde to attend a state reception in his honour. He was also the first Irish athlete to appear on a postage stamp in 1929, after his Olympic victory. Pat’s influence spread far beyond the realm of sport.

He was an inspiration for generations of Irish athletes, setting a standard of excellence that was hard to surpass.

His courage and determination to succeed despite the odds, and his pride in representing his country, was an example of excellence and patriotism that was admired across the globe. Pat O’Callaghan was not only an Olympic gold medallist; he was a symbol of courage, determination and national pride for the Irish people.

His legacy will live on forever as one of Ireland’s greatest athletes.

2. Sonia O’Sullivan

Sonia O’Sullivan is a celebrated former track and field athlete from Ireland.

She is renowned for her impressive list of accomplishments in the field of athletics, including a gold medal win in the 5000 metres at the 1995 World Championships and a silver medal in the 5000 metres at the 2000 Olympic Games.

Her performance at the 2000m was particularly impressive, as she set a world record of 5:25.36 that would remain unbroken until 2017. This outstanding record is a testament to O’Sullivan’s determination and proficiency in the sport.

She is an inspirational figure to many aspiring athletes and her legacy will continue to be remembered for years to come.

3. Michael Carruth

Michael Carruth is a professional boxer from Dublin, Ireland. He is a southpaw, meaning he punches with his left hand. He is most well-known for his Olympic success, as he won the gold medal in the welterweight division at the 1992 Summer Olympics in Barcelona.

After the Olympics, Michael decided to turn pro and begin competing in professional boxing matches. He was very successful, but after six years in the sport, he decided to retire in 2000.

Over the course of his career, Michael won numerous titles, including the British and European welterweight championships. He is fondly remembered in Ireland and his accomplishments have been celebrated in the country.

The Irish people are very proud of Michael Carruth and his accomplishments.

4. Tom Kiely

Thomas Francis Kiely was an extraordinary athlete from Ireland. He made history in the 1904 Summer Olympics by winning gold in the all-round event, representing Ireland. This accomplishment made him the first modern Olympic Games track and field champion.

His victory was a huge accomplishment, as it marked the first modern Olympic Games gold medal won by an athlete from Ireland. Kiely’s success in the all-round event was remarkable, as it was a difficult event that tested the athlete’s endurance and strength.

It requires athletes to compete in a wide range of track and field events, including the long jump, the high jump, throwing events, and running events.

Kiely was able to excel in all of these events and come out on top with a gold medal. Kiely’s accomplishments were made even more impressive by the fact that the 1904 Summer Olympics were held in St. Louis, Missouri.

This was a long way from his home in Ireland, but Kiely managed to prevail and make history as the first multi-event track and field champion of the modern Olympic Games. Kiely’s victory was a momentous occasion for both Ireland and the world of athletics.

His success was a source of pride and inspiration for many and a reminder of the potential of athletes from all parts of the world. Kiely’s legacy lives on today, and his achievements are still celebrated and remembered by many.

5. Annalise Murphy

Annalise Murphy is an accomplished sailor from Ireland. She achieved a great feat in the 2016 Summer Olympics, where she won a silver medal in the Laser Radial class. As a result, she was chosen to represent her country at the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo 2021.

This was an exciting moment for her, as she was able to show off her skills once again in front of a global audience. Murphy has been a dedicated sailor for many years, and her hard work has paid off.

She is a strong competitor, and her determination and skill have earned her the respect of many in the sailing world.

She has been competing in the Laser Radial class for several years, and her success in the 2016 Summer Olympics was a testament to her commitment and dedication. Despite the challenges of the pandemic, Murphy still managed to qualify for the 2020 Summer Olympics.

She trained hard and persevered, and her efforts were rewarded when she was selected to represent Ireland at the Tokyo 2021 games. This was a huge achievement for her, and she is sure to make her country proud once again.

6. Tess Arbez

Tess Arbez is a professional ski racer from Ireland. She is a member of the Irish Ski Team, which competes in alpine skiing events. Arbez has been skiing since she was a child and has competed in several international competitions.

She has achieved success in slalom and giant slalom events and is a two-time national champion. She was also the first Irish ski racer to compete in the World Cup Finals.

Arbez is a role model for aspiring ski racers in Ireland, as she shows that with dedication and hard work, success can be achieved. She is an inspiration to everyone who wants to pursue their dreams and prove that anything is possible.

7. Seamus O’Connor

Seamus O’Connor is an American-born snowboarder who has made an impressive career for himself on the international stage. He hails from Ramona, California, but competes for Ireland in many international snowboarding competitions, including the 2014 Winter Olympics.

At the 2014 Winter Olympics, Seamus competed in both the men’s halfpipe and men’s slopestyle events, representing Ireland proudly. His accomplishments did not go unnoticed, as he was selected as the Irish flag bearer for the opening ceremony of the 2018 Winter Olympics.

This honor is a testament to Seamus’ talent and dedication to his sport. He is an inspiration to snowboarders all over the world and has shown that with hard work and determination, anything is possible.

8. James Connolly

James Brendan Bennet Connolly was an important figure in the history of sports and literature. He was a pioneering athlete and author, and his accomplishments remain relevant today. In 1896, Connolly made history when he became the first modern Olympic champion.

He competed in the triple jump event at the inaugural modern Olympic Games held in Athens, Greece. He was able to earn the gold medal with his impressive performance, setting a world record in the process. Connolly was a talented athlete who was also able to write.

He authored several books on topics such as sports, philosophy, and history. His works explored themes such as the power of the human spirit and the importance of physical education.

He was a visionary in his time, and his writings remain influential today. Connolly was an important figure in the history of sports and literature.

His achievements and contributions will never be forgotten, as they provide an example of how one individual can make a lasting difference. He is an inspiring reminder that anyone can reach their dreams, no matter what obstacles they face.

9. Aifric Keogh

Aifric Keogh is a remarkable athlete who achieved success at the 2020 Summer Olympics. She is an Irish rower who competed in the women’s coxless four event and earned a bronze medal.

Her outstanding performance was recognized by the Irish Times and Sport Ireland, who named her the Sportswoman of the Month for July 2021. This honour acknowledges her hard work and dedication to the sport of rowing, which has resulted in her winning an Olympic medal.

Keogh’s inspirational story of success serves as an example to other athletes and is proof that hard work can pay off. Her win marks an important moment in Irish rowing history and hopefully will inspire future generations of athletes.

10. Peter O’Connor

Peter O’Connor was a remarkable athlete from Ireland. He achieved great success in the world of track and field, setting a world record for the long jump that stood for many years. His accomplishments were not limited to just setting a record, however.

He also won two Olympic medals at the 1906 Intercalated Games. This was an unusual event, as it occurred between the second and third Modern Olympics, and received recognition as an official Olympics event.

O’Connor won gold in the standing long jump and silver in the triple jump at the Intercalated Games, making him one of the most decorated Irish athletes of the time. He was a true pioneer in the world of track and field, and his accomplishments are still remembered today.

11. John Daly

John Joseph Daly was an accomplished Irish runner. He was part of the Olympic Games in 1904, where he won a silver medal in the steeplechase. He also competed for Ireland in the International Cross Country Championships from 1903-1906.

As part of the team, he won two silver medals. Individually, he took bronze in 1903 and finished fourth in 1904 and 1906. John Joseph Daly was an impressive athlete.

He was particularly successful in the steeplechase, a challenging event that involves hurdling and running long distances. He was able to reach the podium in the Olympics, a remarkable success for any athlete.

He also had success in the International Cross Country Championships, taking home two silver medals as part of a team and an individual bronze in 1903. Even when he didn’t win medals in these events, he still managed to place in the top four in 1904 and 1906.

John Joseph Daly was an outstanding athlete who left a lasting impression on the Irish running community. His successes in the Olympics and International Cross Country Championships are a testament to his talent and dedication to the sport.

He was a true champion and a great example of what hard work and determination can do.

12. John Joe Nevin

John Joseph “John Joe” Nevin is an Irish professional boxer who has achieved great success in his career. He has represented Ireland in the Olympics twice and has won a silver medal at the London 2012 Olympics.

Nevin has had a long and successful career in boxing, beginning when he was just 16 years old. He has won numerous national and international titles and awards, including two European championships, two European Union championships and the Irish Senior National Championship.

He has also been the Irish amateur champion for four consecutive years. In 2012, he achieved a major breakthrough when he won a silver medal at the London Olympics.

The success at the Olympics has further cemented John Joseph Nevin’s place as one of the greatest boxers in Irish history. He is an inspiration to many young boxers and a true champion of the sport.

13. John McNally

John McNally was an Irish boxer from Dublin, Ireland. He was known for his impressive boxing skills and his ability to stay composed in the ring. At the 1952 Summer Olympics, he competed in the bantamweight division and managed to win a silver medal.

In the final, McNally faced Pentti Hämäläinen of Finland, and although the match was close, the judges gave the win to Hämäläinen. Despite not winning the gold, McNally was still proud of his accomplishment and recognized as an Olympic hero in Ireland.

14. Fiona Murtagh

Fiona Murtagh is an incredibly accomplished Irish rower. In 2020, she competed in the women’s coxless four event at the 2020 Summer Olympics and won a bronze medal.

Her success in rowing has been recognized by many, including the Irish Times and Sport Ireland, who named her Sportswoman of the Month in July 2021. Murtagh’s success in the sport began early in her life.

She attended Fordham University from 2012 to 2016 on a rowing scholarship, which allowed her to develop her skills and technique further.

During her time there, she was part of the successful rowing team that won several championships. Murtagh’s hard work and dedication to rowing has paid off.

She has won a bronze medal at the Olympics and been recognized as Sportswoman of the Month by the Irish Times and Sport Ireland. This is a testament to her skill and determination to succeed in the sport.

15. Hugh Russell

Hugh Russell was a successful professional boxer from Northern Ireland who had a successful career in the sport from 1981 to 1985.

During his time as a boxer, he achieved several notable feats, the most impressive of which were winning the British bantamweight title in 1983 and the British flyweight title from 1984 to 1985.

Russell was an incredibly talented boxer, and his skills were recognized by his peers and fans alike. He was known for his tenacity and his strong will, as well as his impressive technical ability.

His success in the ring led him to be considered one of the best boxers in the UK at the time. Throughout his career, Russell competed in numerous fights, often against some of the toughest boxers in the world.

He was known for his ability to come out on top in tough fights, and his victories were always celebrated by his fans. His success in the ring was a testament to his hard work and dedication to the sport.

Despite his short career in professional boxing, Hugh Russell was an incredibly successful boxer. He held the British bantamweight title in 1983, and the British flyweight title from 1984 to 1985.

His skills and determination made him a respected boxer in the UK, and his legacy lives on today.

16. Con Leahy

Cornelius “Con” Leahy was an Irish athlete who achieved remarkable success in the sports world. He was one of the first Irish athletes to represent Great Britain in the Olympic Games.

At the 1906 Intercalated Games, he won the silver medal in the 800 metres and the bronze medal in the 400 metres. He also won a gold medal in the 800 metres at the 1908 Olympic Games in London, making him the first Irish athlete to win an Olympic gold medal.

Leahy was an inspiration to Irish athletes everywhere, and his achievement was celebrated all over Ireland. He received numerous accolades and awards for his success, including an honorary degree from the National University of Ireland.

He was also inducted into the Irish Sports Hall of Fame in 2009. His accomplishments are a testament to the strength and determination of Irish athletes, and his legacy lives on today.

17. Ciara Mageean

Ciara Mageean is an accomplished middle-distance runner from Portaferry, Northern Ireland. She competes in the 1500 metres, and has made a name for herself at the European Athletics Championships. In 2016, Mageean won her first medal – bronze – in the 1500m event.

She followed this success up with a silver medal in 2022, again in the 1500m. In 2019, she added another medal to her collection, this time a bronze in the 1500m at the European Indoor Athletics Championships.

Mageean is an inspirational figure in the world of athletics, and her success is a testament to her hard work and dedication.

18. Rhys McClenaghan

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Rhys Joshua McClenaghan is a remarkable athlete who has achieved incredible accomplishments in the sport of artistic gymnastics. He has competed in both Northern Ireland and Ireland in international competitions, making him a truly unique athlete.

In 2022, he made history when he became the first Irish artistic gymnast ever to win gold at the world championships. This remarkable feat has earned him the British Empire Medal, an accolade that is awarded to individuals who have made significant contributions to society.

Despite his young age, Rhys has already achieved international success and recognition, making him a true inspiration to aspiring athletes around the world.

19. Emily Hegarty

Emily Hegarty is an impressive athlete, having achieved a great success in the world of rowing. She recently competed in the women’s coxless four event at the 2020 Summer Olympics, where she won a bronze medal.

This was a remarkable accomplishment for Emily, and it was made even more special by the fact that her third cousin Paul O’Donovan also competed in the Olympics. Paul won a gold medal in the lightweight double sculls, making it an amazing Olympics for both Emily and her family.

The success of both Emily and Paul serves as an inspiration to aspiring athletes everywhere, showing that with hard work and dedication, anything is possible.

20. Ciara Peelo

Ciara Peelo is an accomplished Irish sailor. Born and raised in Dublin, Ireland, she reached the pinnacle of her sport when she was selected to represent her country at the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing.

She competed in the women’s Laser Radial class, where she finished twentieth overall. This remarkable achievement was rewarded with the high honor of being selected to be the flagbearer for Ireland during the opening ceremony of the 2008 Summer Olympics.

It was a proud moment for Ciara, her family, and her country.

21. Ron Delany

Ronald Michael Delany is a renowned Irish former athlete who specialized in middle-distance running. He is best known for his performance at the 1956 Summer Olympics in Melbourne, where he won the gold medal in the 1500 metres event.

His victory at the Olympics was followed by a bronze medal at the 1958 European Athletics Championships in Stockholm, in the same event. Delany was born in Dublin, Ireland and began his running career at a young age.

He studied at the University College Dublin and began his professional running career in 1954. He quickly established himself as a top-level middle-distance runner and went on to win multiple Irish National Championships in the 800 metres, 1500 metres, and 3000 metres events.

At the 1956 Summer Olympics, Delany was the favorite to win the 1500 metres event and he did not disappoint. He ran a strategic race, leading the pack with a strong start and finishing with a powerful sprint.

His victory in Melbourne was a celebrated one and made him a national hero in Ireland. A few years later, Delany went on to compete in the 1958 European Athletics Championships in Stockholm. He finished third in the 1500 metres event, earning a bronze medal.

Following his success at the Championships, Delany retired from professional running and focused on his education. He went on to pursue a career in medicine, graduating from Trinity College Dublin in 1965.

To this day, Ronald Michael Delany remains a celebrated athlete in his home country of Ireland. His determination and success at the 1956 Summer Olympics and the 1958 European Athletics Championships have earned him a place in sports history.

22. Kellie Harrington

Kellie Anne Harrington is a boxing champion of the highest order. She has achieved success in both the amateur and professional ranks, winning a World Championship in the amateur circuit and an Olympic gold medal in the light welterweight division.

She gained further acclaim in 2016 when she won a silver medal in the light welterweight division at the Women’s World Boxing Championships. Harrington hails from Ireland and has been boxing since she was a child.

She is known for her technical skills, speed and agility, and is an adept counter-puncher. Despite her smaller stature, she has an impressive reach and has a knack for landing precise shots. Harrington has cemented her place as one of the best female boxers in the world.

Her strong work ethic and determination have enabled her to reach the pinnacle of amateur boxing. She is an inspiration to many aspiring boxers, and her accomplishments serve as a reminder of what can be achieved with dedication and hard work.

23. Bob Tisdall

Robert Morton Newburgh Tisdall was an incredible athlete hailing from Ireland. He was born and raised in Nenagh, County Tipperary and it was here where he developed a passion and aptitude for track and field.

This passion and natural talent allowed him to reach the highest level of international competition, the Olympics. In 1932, Tisdall represented Ireland in the 400m hurdles at the Summer Olympics in Los Angeles and he managed to come out on top as the gold medal winner.

This was a remarkable accomplishment and it was a testament to his dedication and skill. He had worked hard to get where he was and it paid off in a major way when he won the gold medal.

His victory was a big moment for Irish sports and it is still remembered today as a major accomplishment.

24. Michelle Smith

Michelle Smith de Bruin is an accomplished woman who has achieved great success in both her career as a lawyer and her athletic pursuits. She is an Irish lawyer and retired Olympic swimmer who was incredibly successful at the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta, Georgia.

She won an impressive three gold medals in the 400 m individual medley, 400 m freestyle, and 200 m individual medley events, as well as the bronze medal in the 200 m butterfly event. Her performance was a testament to her dedication to swimming and her hard work in the pool.

It was also a source of pride for the Irish nation, as she was the first Irish Olympian to win three gold medals in a single Olympics. She has since retired from competitive swimming and now focuses on her law career.

Michelle Smith de Bruin is an inspirational example of what can be accomplished through dedication and hard work.

25. Olive Loughnane

Olive Loughnane is an Irish retired racewalker who has achieved incredible success in her sport. She has competed in four Olympic Games, and her most notable accomplishment was winning the gold medal in the 2009 World Championship in the 20 km walk.

Her victory was a remarkable achievement for both her and the Irish nation, as she was the first Irish woman to win a world championship in a field event. Loughnane began her career as a racewalker in the 1980s, and quickly established herself as one of the top racewalkers in the world.

She set world records in the 10,000 m and 20 km walk and competed in numerous international competitions.

In the 1996 Olympic Games, she placed fifth in the 20 km walk and would go on to place fourth in the same event in the 2000 Olympic Games. In 2009, she achieved her greatest success and became the World Champion in the 20 km walk.

She also placed sixth in the 50 km walk, becoming the first Irish woman to win a medal in a field event.

She was subsequently inducted into the Irish Athletics Hall of Fame and her success has inspired a new generation of Irish racewalkers. Following her retirement, Loughnane has become an active member of the Irish Athletics Association, acting as an ambassador for Irish racewalking and promoting the sport both domestically and internationally.

She is a highly respected figure and her achievements have left a lasting legacy in the world of racewalking.

26. Martin Sheridan

Martin John Sheridan was an extraordinary athlete who achieved remarkable success in his lifetime. Born in Bohola, County Mayo, Ireland in 1881, Sheridan achieved three Olympic Games gold medals by the age of 36.

Sadly, the following year he would become a casualty of the 1918 flu pandemic, dying at St. Vincent’s Hospital in Manhattan, New York, just one day before his 37th birthday. To honor his legacy, Sheridan was buried in Calvary Cemetery, in Queens, New York.

Sheridan’s accomplishments are highly regarded to this day. He won two gold medals in the 1904 Olympics in St. Louis, Missouri, as well as a third gold medal in the 1906 Intercalated Games in Athens, Greece.

He was also the first athlete to win four national titles in the discus throw in the United States. Sheridan was a man of many talents. An advocate for the Irish independence movement, he was also a decorated member of the NYPD, serving in the First Police Precinct.

He also participated in various theatrical performances throughout the United States and Europe. Martin John Sheridan was truly a one-of-a-kind athlete, and his accomplishments and legacy continue to live on to this day.

He will always be remembered as a champion of the Olympic Games, as well as an advocate for Ireland and a decorated member of the NYPD.

27. Jason Smyth

Jason Smyth MBE is an inspirational Irish retired sprint runner who has achieved great success despite a disability. He was born with Stargardt’s disease, a condition that affects central vision and leads to legal blindness.

Despite this, he has competed in the T13 disability sport classification, which is reserved for athletes with a visual impairment.

In addition to his accomplishments in this field, he has also competed in elite non-paralympic competitions further demonstrating his determination and dedication to excellence.

His story is an example of what can be achieved when facing adversity, and he continues to be an inspiration to those who do not let their disabilities hold them back..

28. Paddy Barnes

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Patrick Gerard Barnes is a former boxer who represented Ireland in amateur and professional boxing. He began his amateur career in 2005 and continued to compete until 2016 when he made the switch to professional boxing.

For the next three years, Barnes fought professionally, ending his career in 2019. During his career, Barnes had a number of notable wins, including a victory over Luke Keeler in 2016 and a win against Luke Wilton in 2017.

Barnes was highly respected by his peers, both as an amateur and professional boxer and is remembered as a formidable and skilled fighter.

29. David Wilkins

David Wilkins is an Irish sailor who has been competing at the Olympic Games since 1972. He has competed in five different Olympics, culminating in a silver medal win in 1980. The medal was won in the Flying Dutchman class, which he competed in with his partner James Wilkinson.

The sailing events of the 1980 Moscow Olympics took place at the Pirita Yachting Club in Tallinn, Estonia. David Wilkins has shown his commitment to the sport of sailing by competing in five different Olympic Games.

His dedication paid off when he and his partner James Wilkinson won the silver medal in the Flying Dutchman class at the 1980 Moscow Olympics. The win was a testament to their combined skill and teamwork.

The sailing events of the Olympics were hosted at the Pirita Yachting Club in Tallinn, Estonia, where the pair was able to showcase their sailing abilities. The success of David Wilkins and his partner James Wilkinson was a result of their dedication and hard work.

The pair had trained and competed together for many years before their achievement at the 1980 Moscow Olympics. Their silver medal win was a result of their combined skill, skillful sailing, and determination.

The sailing events took place at the Pirita Yachting Club in Tallinn, Estonia, where they were able to prove their abilities. David Wilkins and James Wilkinson’s silver medal win at the 1980 Moscow Olympics is an impressive accomplishment.

The pair had shown their commitment to the sport by competing in five different Olympics. Their success at the 1980 Olympics is a testament to their dedication and hard work. The pair was able to showcase their sailing abilities at the Pirita Yachting Club in Tallinn, Estonia.

Their silver medal win is a reminder of their determination and skill in the sport of sailing.

30. John Treacy

John Treacy is an Irish Olympic athlete and former champion runner. Born in the County Waterford in 1958, Treacy first made a name for himself in the sport of cross-country running, becoming the first Irishman to win a European Cross Country Championship in 1978.

He also competed in the 1980 Olympics in Moscow, where he finished fourth in the 10,000-meter race. Treacy competed in the 1984 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles, where he won a silver medal in the men’s marathon.

His victory was a significant moment for Irish athletics, as he became the first Irishman to win an Olympic medal in the sport of athletics.

He also set a new Irish national record in the marathon, and his success earned him the title of Irish Sports Person of the Year in 1984. Following his retirement from competitive athletics, Treacy went on to become a sporting administrator.

He served as the Chief Executive Officer of the Irish Sports Council from 1999 to 2011 and was also the Chairman of the European Athletics Association from 2009 to 2011.

He was also the Chairman of the Irish Athletics Association from 2011 to 2013 and serves as the President of the Athletics Association of Ireland as of 2019. John Treacy is a true Irish sporting legend, and his achievements have made him a household name in his native country.

He is an inspirational example of a successful athlete who has gone on to make a positive contribution to the world of sport after his competitive career.

31. George Mayberry

George Mahoney Mayberry was an accomplished athlete, having competed in the 1908 Summer Olympics for the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland. Born in Kenmare, a small town in Ireland, he had a passion for track and field.

He showed his talent by participating in the triple jump event at the 1908 Olympics, although the result of his performance is unknown.

Not much is known about his life, other than his participation in the Olympics, but he is remembered for his contribution to the Olympic spirit. In his honor, the town of Frant, where he died, has erected a monument in his memory.

George Mahoney Mayberry is an example of the dedication and hard work that goes into becoming an Olympic athlete. He represents the thousands of athletes who have competed at the highest level, and the spirit of determination and perseverance that lies within each of them.

While his result may not be known, his legacy lives on in the hearts and minds of athletes everywhere.

32. Freddie Gilroy

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Frederick Gilroy was a talented boxer from Northern Ireland. He achieved success at the 1956 Summer Olympics when he won a bronze medal for Ireland in the Bantamweight division.

His achievements didn’t end there, however; he went on to establish himself as a professional boxer, winning the Commonwealth and European Bantamweight titles in 1959. In 1960, Gilroy even had the opportunity to contend for the World Bantamweight Title.

His success in both the amateur and professional fields of boxing shows just how talented and accomplished he was.

33. Johnny Hayes

John Joseph Hayes was a prominent American athlete, and a member of the Irish American Athletic Club. He achieved a great accomplishment in 1908 when he won the marathon race at the Summer Olympics.

His victory was a significant event, as it helped to kickstart the growth of long-distance running and marathoning in the United States. It was a major milestone for the sport in the country and helped to create more awareness and interest in the field.

Hayes’ success at the Olympics also served as an inspiration to other American athletes and helped to make marathoning a more popular and accessible sport. His victory was a major achievement, and one that has had lasting effects on the sport in the United States.

34. Dan Ahearn

Dan Ahearn was a remarkable athlete and a trailblazer in the world of track and field. Born in Athea, Ireland, Dan was part of a sporting family as his older brother Tim Ahearne was also an athlete. Dan was a member of the Irish American Athletic Club and competed for the U.S.

Olympic team in the 1920 Summer Olympics. Dan Ahearn was known for his endurance and agility. He was a master of the long-distance events and was a regular competitor in the 800 m, 1,500 m, and 3,000 m races.

In addition to his success in track and field, he also competed in cross country running and was a proficient swimmer. Dan Ahearn was a highly respected athlete not only in the U.S. but also throughout the world.

He was widely admired for his dedication to the sport and his relentless pursuit of excellence. His success in the 1920 Summer Olympics served as an inspiration to many aspiring athletes.

Dan Ahearn will always be remembered as an outstanding athlete who made a significant contribution to the world of track and field. His legacy will live on for many generations to come.

35. Pat McDonald

Patrick Joseph McDonald had a unique background. He was born in Doonbeg, County Clare, Ireland but competed as an American track and field athlete. He was a part of the Irish American Athletic Club and a member of the New York City Police Department.

His job as a traffic cop in Times Square was a major part of his life for many years.McDonald specialized in throwing events, such as the javelin and the discus, and he trained hard to become a successful athlete.

He was passionate about his sport and was determined to reach his goals. He was also proud of his Irish heritage and was happy to be able to represent both his country of birth and his adopted country of America.McDonald’s story is a remarkable one.

He was able to combine his passion for athletics with his duty as a police officer and serve both his communities. He was a proud Irishman and an American, and his legacy will live on through his contributions to track and field and the NYPD.

36. Tim Ahearne

Timothy Joseph Ahearne was an Irish track and field athlete who competed for the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland in the 1908 Summer Olympics. Ahearne was born in Ireland in 1887 and became an accomplished athlete in track and field events.

He was a member of the Irish Amateur Athletic Association and competed in various competitions across Ireland. In 1908, Ahearne was selected to represent the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland in the Summer Olympics in London.

He competed in multiple events, including the 110 meters hurdles, 400 meters hurdles, and the long jump. Ahearne put up a strong performance in the 110 meters hurdles, finishing fourth in the final.

This would be his greatest accomplishment at the Olympics, as he failed to qualify for the final in the other two events. Ahearne passed away in 1959, leaving behind a legacy as one of Ireland’s greatest track and field athletes.

His performance in the 1908 Summer Olympics is a testament to his dedication and skill in athletics.

37. Beatrice Hill-Lowe

Beatrice Geraldine Hill-Lowe was a remarkable woman. Born in County Louth, Ireland, she was the first Irishwoman to ever win an Olympic medal. In 1908, she represented Britain in the Summer Olympics, held in London.

After competing against the best archers of the world, she emerged victorious, winning a bronze medal in the competition. Beatrice’s success was groundbreaking.

Not only did she prove that Irish athletes were just as capable of achieving greatness as athletes of other nations, but she also shattered the convention of the time, which viewed women as incapable of competing in major sporting events.

Despite the overwhelming odds, she managed to accomplish the feat and make history in the process. Beatrice’s success not only inspired countless athletes in Ireland, but also around the world. She showed that with dedication and hard work, anything was possible.

Her incredible achievement set a powerful example of what could be achieved with perseverance, and she remains an inspiration to this day.

38. Joe Lydon

Joseph Patrick Lydon, an American welterweight boxer, was born in Swinford, County Mayo, Ireland in the early twentieth century.

He had the opportunity to compete in the 1904 Summer Olympics, and was successful in his endeavors – he tied Jack Egan, another American boxer, for a bronze medal in the welterweight division.

This was a great achievement for Lydon and a testament to his boxing skills and determination. Lydon wasn’t the only competitor in the 1904 Summer Olympics, however. He had to face a number of other contenders, including Egan and was able to come out on top.

His performance in the Olympics earned him recognition and respect from his peers and was a major milestone in his career as a boxer. In addition to his Olympic success, Lydon also became a successful professional boxer.

He had a long and successful career and won numerous titles throughout his career. He remained at the top of the welterweight division for many years and was considered one of the best in the sport. Joseph Patrick Lydon was an impressive athlete and a respected boxer.

His success in the 1904 Summer Olympics was a testament to his skill and dedication, and he continued to have a successful career in the years that followed. He is remembered today as a great boxer, and his accomplishments will always be remembered.

39. Sanita Puspure

Sanita Pušpure is an inspirational athlete and a role model. Born in Latvia, she moved to Ireland and went on to become a professional rower.

Sanita experienced tremendous success on the international stage, becoming a two-time back-to-back world champion in the women’s single scull. Her first championship title came in 2018 when she won gold at the World Rowing Championships in Plovdiv, Bulgaria.

She then defended her title the following year at the 2019 World Rowing Championships in Ottensheim, Austria. Sanita’s achievements demonstrate her dedication and determination to reach the highest levels of competition.

She is a source of motivation and pride for her home countries of Latvia and Ireland.

40. Patrick Leahy

Patrick Joseph Leahy was a remarkable Irish athlete who achieved an incredible feat by winning two Olympic medals in two different events. He was born in Creggane, a village located in the Civil parish of Hackmys, in the barony of Coshma, near Kilmallock in County Limerick.

This village was located close to the border between County Limerick and County Cork. Leahy’s accomplishments at the 1900 Summer Olympics are still remembered today.

He won medals in both the high jump and the long jump, making him one of the few athletes to win medals in two different events.

His success at the Olympics was even more remarkable considering the fact that he was competing against much more experienced athletes from around the world. Leahy’s life was an inspiring one.

He was able to overcome the odds and prove that an athlete from a small village can be a world-class competitor. His accomplishments are still remembered and celebrated today, as a reminder of the potential of athletes from all backgrounds.

Leahy’s legacy is one of determination and hard work, and his story serves as a reminder of the power of perseverance.

41. Denis Horgan

Denis Horgan was a celebrated athlete hailing from County Cork, Ireland. He was born in Banteer, a small town in the region.

He specialized in the shot put event, which is a track and field discipline in which the athlete attempts to throw a heavy metal ball the farthest distance.

He was also an accomplished weight thrower, meaning he was able to throw heavy objects further than the average person. Horgan was successful in his track and field career, winning numerous competitions for his shot put and weight throw abilities.

He was a champion athlete and was well-respected in his field. He was also an inspiration to many aspiring athletes, particularly those from his home county. Throughout his career, Horgan was praised for his hard work and commitment to the sport.

He was known for his dedication to training, and for his willingness to go the extra mile. His approach to the sport was to make sure he always gave it his best, and this paid off in his numerous victories.

Denis Horgan was a remarkable athlete who made a lasting impact in the field of track and field. His legacy lives on in his native county of Cork and in the sport itself.

His success was made possible by his dedication and determination, and he will always be remembered as a champion Irish athlete and weight thrower.

42. Con Walsh

Cornelius Edward “Con” Walsh was a remarkable athlete who represented Canada at the 1908 Summer Olympics. Born in Carriganimma, Ireland, he was a proud Irish Canadian.

Despite having to compete against two fellow Irishmen from the United States, John Flanagan and Matt McGrath, he managed to win a bronze medal in the hammer throw. His accomplishment was even more impressive given that he was ranked third behind his two fellow countrymen.

Walsh’s performance showed that he was a talented and determined athlete, and proved that even in the face of stiff competition, he could still succeed. His legacy lives on today as an example of what can be accomplished when one puts in hard work and dedication.

43. Paul O’Donovan

Paul O’Donovan is an accomplished Irish lightweight rower whose accomplishments have earned him international recognition from the rowing world. He is the proud owner of a prestigious Olympic gold medal in lightweight double sculls, which he won with a record-breaking time.

Moreover, Paul has accrued an impressive five world championship titles, both in single and double sculls events. This impressive feat speaks to his commitment to excellence and dedication to his craft. Paul’s success is a result of his hard work and perseverance.

He consistently pushes his limits and strives to improve himself and his skills. He has the drive to continually challenge himself to become a better athlete and a better person.

This determination and passion for rowing has greatly contributed to his success. Paul’s success is a testament to his skill and dedication to the sport. He is an inspiration to all aspiring rowers, showing that hard work and dedication can lead to success in the sport.

Paul O’Donovan is an exemplary athlete and a true champion of the rowing world.

44. Derval O’Rourke

Derval O’Rourke is a former Irish sprint hurdles athlete who achieved great success in the international circuit. She specialized in the 60 and 100 metres hurdles and became the Irish national record holder in both events.

Her impressive competitive career saw her take part in two Indoor World Championships, five Outdoor World Championships, as well as the 2004, 2008, and 2012 Summer Olympics.

This is an impressive feat for an Irish athlete and speaks to her dedication and skill in the sport. O’Rourke began her career in 2001 and quickly rose to prominence in the international scene.

In 2002, she won the silver medal at the European Indoor Championships and was ranked in the top 5 in the world for the 100 metres hurdles. She went on to compete in the 2004 Summer Olympics in Athens, coming in 8th place.

This was followed by her participation in the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing, where she placed 12th.

Her impressive track record culminated in her competing in the 2012 London Olympics, where she placed 6th. Throughout her athletics career, O’Rourke continued to break records and set new standards for Irish athletes.

In 2006, she set a new Irish National Record in the 60 metres hurdles with a time of 7.90 seconds.

She went on to set a new 100 metres hurdles record in 2009, with a time of 12.65 seconds. Overall, Derval O’Rourke is a remarkable athlete who achieved great success in the international arena.

She is a true inspiration to Irish athletes and serves as a reminder of the impact that dedication and hard work can have on achieving success.

45. Kenny Egan

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Kenneth “Kenny” Egan is an Irish politician and boxer from Clondalkin, Dublin. He is a household name in Ireland due to his accomplishments in the boxing ring. In 2008, Egan made history by becoming the first Irish boxer to win an Olympic medal since Harry Perry in 1948.

He won the silver medal in the 81kg Light-Heavyweight final. Egan faced off against the Chinese boxer, Zhang Xiaoping, in the final match and despite putting up a brave fight, he was ultimately unsuccessful.

This did not detract from the achievement, as his silver medal was the first Olympic medal won by an Irish boxer in 60 years. Egan has taken his success in the boxing ring and used it to forge a career in politics.

He has been a member of the Social and Liberal Democrats, as well as Sinn Fein, and currently serves as a councilor for the Fingal County Council.

Egan has also been involved in numerous charitable causes, such as the Irish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (ISPCC). Kenny Egan is a true Irish sporting hero and an inspiration to aspiring athletes. His legacy will undoubtedly live on for many years to come.

46. Wayne McCullough

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Wayne Pocket Rocket McCullough is a legendary Irish boxer who competed from 1993 to 2008. He was born in Northern Ireland and made history by becoming the first boxer from the region to win a WBC championship.

In 1995, McCullough won the WBC bantamweight title and held it for two years until 1997. During his career, he had a total of 38 fights with 24 wins, 12 losses and 2 draws.

His most famous fights include the 1997 bout against Naseem Hamed and the 2000 match against Erik Morales.McCullough was well-known for his incredible speed and agility. He was nicknamed “Pocket Rocket” due to his small stature and lightning-fast punches.

He was also known for his intense training and dedication to the sport.McCullough has retired from professional boxing, but his legacy lives on. He is remembered as one of the greatest boxers to come out of Ireland and an inspiration to young boxers all over the world.

His achievements will always be remembered and celebrated.

47. Matt McGrath

Matthew John McGrath was an inspiring example of dedication and excellence in the service of his community. He was a member of the Irish American Athletic Club, the New York Athletic Club, and the New York City Police Department.

McGrath’s commitment to public service was evident throughout his career, and he eventually attained the high rank of Police Inspector. His exemplary work was recognized by his peers, and he was honored with the NYPD’s Medal of Valor on two separate occasions.

McGrath’s life was tragically cut short at the age of 64, but his legacy lives on in the many lives he touched and the countless achievements he made as an officer of the law.

He was a devoted family man and a pillar of the community, and his dedication to protecting and serving the people of New York City will never be forgotten.

Conclusion

The best Olympic players in Ireland have proven themselves to be at the top of their respective sports. From track and field to swimming, cycling, and more, these athletes have made a name for themselves in the international sports world.

They have earned numerous accolades and medals and have been an inspiration to many young athletes. Ireland is proud to have such a talented and successful Olympic team.

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Tom Kershaw

As a sports reporter at The Times & The Sunday Times, my passion lies in covering Olympic sports. With years of experience in the field, I have had the privilege of witnessing and reporting on some of the most thrilling moments in sporting history. From the adrenaline-pumping races on the track to the intense battles in the pool, I strive to capture every moment with accuracy and enthusiasm. My goal is to provide readers with comprehensive coverage that goes beyond mere scores and statistics, delving into the stories behind each athlete's journey and showcasing their triumphs and challenges. Having covered multiple Olympic Games, I understand the importance of delivering timely and engaging content that keeps readers informed and entertained. Whether it's a feature article highlighting an underdog's remarkable rise or a live blog capturing the excitement of a nail-biting final, I am committed to delivering top-notch reporting that brings the Olympic experience to life. With my deep knowledge of various Olympic sports, coupled with my strong storytelling skills, I aim to provide readers with a unique perspective on these incredible athletes and their pursuit of greatness. As a sports reporter at The Times & The Sunday Times, I am dedicated to bringing you all the latest news, insights, and memorable moments from the world of Olympic sports.