The International Taekwon-Do (ITF) Irish team returned home from the All Europe Taekwon-do Federation Championships at the beginning of May with an impressive haul of 18 medals; 5 gold, 7 silver and 6 bronze. The Championships took place in Skovde, Sweden and Ireland finished fifth overall out of 29 countries with 27 on the Irish team including two members of the Tipperary Taekwon-Do club: Tiarnan Moriarty winning a Gold medal and Shaun Brennan who reached the quarter-finals.
Seventeen year-old gold medallist Tiarnan Moriarty, of proud parents Denis and Jeanette Moriarty from Tipperary Town, started Taekwon-Do when he was 8 years spending the last 6 years with the Tipperary Taekwon-Do club and training with the national team since he was 14.
“I wasn’t expecting to win gold and it came as a big shock. In the heats I was just doing the best I could and I feel that the work I put in over the years has paid off in the end. A memorable moment from the championship was when I scored a headshot against Romania – that moment really stood out for me and also I had all my heats on the centre ring,” said Tiarnan.
His coach Luke Laffan who teaches in the Tipperary Taekwon-Do club says Tiranan’s journey to gold is down to his commitment and dedication. “Tiarnan has trained with me for 6-years and although has had defeats in the past, he never gave up and is a very humble young man. Tiarnan competed in 1st Degree Patterns, Team Sparring and he won gold in the 56kg Junior Male Individual Sparring. There were 19 in his division and his first match was against Russia, followed by Scotland and Romania. His was up against a very skilled counter fighter from the Netherlands in the semi-final, but Tiarnan didn’t chase and was in control for most of the match; scoring from angles and pushing the tempo to suit his game plan. In the final Tiarnan met his Irish Dublin teammate Chriss Abude but Tiarnan dominated from start to finish and was physically much stronger and didn’t give an inch of ground during the match. You could see his hunger to win,” said Luke.
Sixteen-year-old Shaun Brennan from Tipperary Town, son of Rosanne and Michael Brennan St. Patrick’s Avenue, succeeded in reaching the quarter-finals in the All Europe Taekwon-do Federation Championships and is delighted with his success. “The sheer buzz when you first get in the ring and when you get those first points up is amazing. Then you can relax and enjoy it and when you fell your hand being raised as the winner; it’s the best feeling in the world.”
Shaun started Taekwon-do training when he was 8 years old and has been with the Tipperary Club for 6 years and with the national team for 2 years, working hard to make his spot on team. Shaun competed in Individual Male 68kg Junior Boys Sparring and in Team Sparring.
“Shaun is a fighter through and through,” said his coach Luke. “In the competition he was on the same sparring team as Tiarnan with 3 other lads but they were beaten by Romania. However with 22 in his division of individual sparring he beat Scotland in first round comfortably and almost had Norway beat with his much superior hands and creative footwork until in the last 6 seconds he received a warning, which flipped the score against him. Shaun will be looking to winning a medal in the world championships in Barcelona in October.”
Luke Laffan has trained in Taekwon-do 15 years and has been teaching for the last six years in Tipperary Town, Clonmel and Dungarvan. Luke also competes on an international level and has won a Silver medal competing in 2 degree Senior Male Patterns. This year he will also be competing in the world championships.
The two Tipperary athletes have been training hard since January maintaining their weight and working hard on their conditioning. They were constantly travelling to classes and team sessions and they’d like to thank their parents for providing transport and for all their love and support. The boys also wish to thank the community and the club for their support and fundraising.
For information on classes go to: www.taekwondo.ie and to see Tiarnan’s matches go to Irish taekwondo association YouTube channel.
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