Irish Athletes To Watch Out For In 2018
With the New Year comes new heroes in the world of sport – and Ireland has more than its fair share on the brink of stardom. We’ve picked out a few athletes that should hit the headlines early and often in the next 12 months; remember the names, because we have a feeling you’ll be seeing a whole lot more of them in 2018!
Surely the greatest thing to come from Lisburn since the defibrillator, the 21-year-old only made his international bow in June. Four tries in as many games, though, will do your reputation no harm at all – and so, the Ulster winger is regarded as a nailed-on starter come the Six Nations. Leinster starlet Jordan Larmour grabbed the headlines over the festive period, but his international opportunities may come later; for Stockdale, the time is now.
Kerry have never been short of promising Gaelic Footballers, but it’s hard to remember hype like that which surrounds the teen phenom. In fact, he was almost too good last year; having scored a ludicrous 5-24 in just three Minor Championship games, the professional ranks of Australian Rules were calling – but the prospect of creating a legacy in the Kingdom was enough to keep him in Ireland. His introduction to senior competition arrives in the National League – and every GAA fan in the country will be watching…
A multiple All-Ireland winner and perennial All-Star, it might seem strange for a giant of GAA to make this list – but new challenges await the Mayo woman. Headhunted to change codes and test her skills in Aussie Rules, she’ll be plying her trade with the Greater Western Sydney Giants in the coming year. She’d never so much as touched an oval ball until the move was completed, so it could prove an interesting learning curve; given her success on our shores, though, few would bet against this one working out for all concerned…
Currently the World Amateur No. 1, May will see the Cavan woman graduate from Duke University – and an immediate move into the paid ranks is the expected move. Following a year in which Amateur and collegiate records were set left, right and centre, her trophy cabinet is already bulging at the hinges – but the biggest awards undoubtedly lie in the professional game. Her twin sister Lisa may well declare at the same time, so Irish interest should be even greater.
JOHN JOE NEVIN
Following a glittering amateur career – culminating in a silver medal at the 2012 Olympics – hopes were sky-high for the Westmeath southpaw, but his time in the professional game has been stop-start, to say the least. 2018 could prove a make-or-break year for the 28-year-old, and a March fight in Philadelphia will be an opportunity to set down a marker. His teammates in London – Michael Conlan, Paddy Barnes and Katie Taylor – are powering ahead with their careers, but don’t sleep on a man once considered to be the greatest natural talent of the lot…
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