Catholic school promises prayers for Olympics-bound graduate

Catholic school promises prayers for Olympics-bound graduate Eilish Flanagan. Photo: Giancarlo Colombo

Sacred Heart College Omagh wished runner Eilish Flanagan all the best, as she represents Ireland at the Tokyo Olympics starting July 23.

Ms Flanagan studied at the Tyrone secondary school for seven years, winning a range of competitions, before taking up a scholarship in athletics in Adams State University in Colorado.

She was selected to represent Ireland in the 3,000 metre Steeplechase after a record-breaking season. In May 2021, she moved into contention for selection after setting a new Northern Ireland 3,000 metre steeplechase record.

Ms Celia McGinn, Vice Principal at Sacred Heart College, said the school is “very honoured and privileged” at finding “ourselves in a very unique position since very few schools have such an honour or find themselves in such an enviable position”.

“We are proud of you and during the Olympic competitions the whole school community will be thinking about you and praying for you,” Ms McGinn said.

“The competition may be tough but stay calm and be confident in your abilities; give it your all and your hard work will pay off.”

Ms McGinn said that Ms Flanagan always “focused on discipline, hard work and goal setting and it is a thrill for us to see her finally achieving a major goal”.

“You have put in an extraordinary effort Eilish and you will get a chance to shine. If you dream and allow yourself to dream you can do anything,” Ms McGinn finished.

Mr Vivian Grimley, who coached Ms Flanagan in athletics while she was in Sacred Heart College, also expressed his delight at her making the Irish Team to the Tokyo Olympics.

“Sometimes in life we don’t know what’s around the corner but with hard work and total dedication to your passion it just shows you how your dreams can come through. What an achievement,” he said.