Fly­ing high: Ryanair chief ’s nephew goes for gold

Irish Independent - - News - Claire Mur­phy

SUC­CESS on the in­ter­na­tional stage is noth­ing new to his fam­ily, and 21-yearold ath­lete Jack O’Leary hopes to con­tinue that at to­mor­row’s Euro­pean Cross Coun­try Cham­pi­onships in the Nether­lands.

The West­meath run­ner is the son of Ed­die O’Leary, the racing man­ager at the all-conquering Gig­gin­stown House Stud and the nephew of Ryanair CEO Michael O’Leary.

In Til­burg to­mor­row, O’Leary Junior is hop­ing to play a piv­otal role in the U-23 men’s race.

“There’s a medal in there if ev­ery­thing goes to plan and we all race our hearts out,” he said. “That’s the goal.”

O’Leary’s mother and sis­ters will be there to cheer him on, al­though fa­ther Ed­die will have to watch from afar as he’s at­tend­ing a horse sale in France to re­cruit the next crop of tal­ent for Gig­gin­stown.

Un­cle Michael – whose sons are also mak­ing a name for them­selves as cross coun­try run­ners – is al­ways one of the first to text his con­grat­u­la­tions af­ter a race.

Now in his third year of an ath­let­ics schol­ar­ship at Iona Col­lege in New York, O’Leary has made an im­pres­sive re­turn to the in­ter­na­tional stage af­ter a night­mare run of in­juries in 2017.

“Form is tem­po­rary, class is per­ma­nent,” he said. “You know there’s light at the end of a very long, dark tun­nel.”

O’Leary’s cousin Rowan Os­borne is also an un­der­age rugby in­ter­na­tional for Ire­land.


On the run: Jack O’Leary is plot­ting to bring home a medal from the Euro­pean Cross Coun­try event in Holland.

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