he Dublin 19-year-old continued her lightning ascent in 2021, becoming the fastest Irish woman in history over 200m when clocking 22.90 seconds. That came in the European U-20 final in Finland, where Adeleke left the fastest teenagers in Europe trailing to seal a historic double sprint gold.
The 19-year-old’s penalty save from Cristiano Ronaldo in September was a clip that went around the world – and the goalkeeper’s heroics for Ireland didn’t end there as he showcased his international class in every one of his appearances for Stephen Kenny’s side.
Dylan Browne McMonagle
The Donegal teenager, who was touted as a promising underage boxer, has already left a lasting impression in the saddle with a stunning Irish Flat season in 2021.His association to the powerful Joseph O’Brien yard helped to yield 48 winners, including Group Three success aboard Baron Samedi, as he waltzed to the Irish champion apprentice crown.
An ankle injury sustained shortly before the championship began meant the 20-year-old was always playing catch up in 2021 but there can be no doubting his impact on Tyrone’s run to glory. His influence was key in the All-Ireland semi-final against Kerry when he was involved in Cathal McShane’s goal before landing a point in the final against Mayo. The player with the famous name is already starting to find his own groove.
Emma Duggan’s year looked like this. She was top scorer for Meath as they blitzed Dublin to secure their first women’s All-Ireland senior title before collecting a maiden All Star award and helping Dunboyne win the Leinster club championship. In the midst of all that, she also sat her Leaving Cert.
Twenty-five years since an Irish swimmer last made an Olympic final, the Sligo girl joined the very top ranks of international sport in Tokyo, qualifying for the 100m breaststroke final at the tender age of 20 – a race in which she finished eighth.
Years of early mornings and long, monotonous training sessions paid off in style for the Laois swimmer at the Paralympics in Tokyo, where the 19-year-old made a splash on the global stage by winning silver in the S6 50m butterfly.