Molly shines at Ayr Open Figure Skating event

Pictured (L-R Back) Molly O'Brien, Jodie Dowling, Emma Leonard, Sophie Clarke; (front) Claire Morrow, Jamie Gibson and Jane Leonard (picture by Darren Kidd). INCT 38-758-CON

Pictured (L-R Back) Molly O'Brien, Jodie Dowling, Emma Leonard, Sophie Clarke; (front) Claire Morrow, Jamie Gibson and Jane Leonard (picture by Darren Kidd). INCT 38-758-CON

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Molly O’Brien from Islandmagee, alongside six other talented young ice skaters from across Northern Ireland, recently represented the province at the 2014 Ayr Open Figure Skating championships in Scotland.

More than 230 competitors from across the United Kingdom took part in the three-day event and the skaters from Team Dundonald put in strong individual performances, with many achieving new personal bests.

The youngster of the group at nine years old, Molly, secured an impressive fourth place against strong category of 28 skaters.

For sisters Emma and Jane Leonard from Newtownabbey and Jodie Dowling (14) from Lisburn, this was their first experience of national competitive figure skating and all delivered superb and compelling performances.

Sophie Clarke (11) from Antrim, was stunning in her skating rendition of a 1940s classic tune and Claire Morrow and Jamie Gibson put in sterling performances, in the strongly fought Level 3 and Level 4 senior categories.

The girls were supported throughout by two of Dundonald’s most seasoned professional coaches, Joanne Ozdogru and Amy Irwin.

“I’m immensely proud of all of our skaters who have worked so hard to prepare for this event. Competitive figure skating takes drive, grit and determination and the girls have more than displayed that this week,” said Ozdogru.

Fellow coach Irwin added: “The girls were all fantastic, they kept their nerves at bay and really did Northern Ireland proud. Not only did they all skate to their best, but the team spirit and mutual support for each other was a real credit to their home club at Dundonald.”