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O’Keeffe Retires from Athletics


At the age of 29, Ireland’s International Hammer Thrower, Eileen O’Keeffe (Kilkenny City Harriers) is retiring from Athletics. The difficult decision was made after a long battle with a knee injury. Liam Hennessy President of Athletics Ireland commented that “Eileen O’Keeffe has made an outstanding contribution to Irish Athletics. Her achievements both at a National and International level are to be applauded”

From 2000-2009, O’Keeffe represented Ireland in the Olympic Games and World and European Track and Field Championship. At the National championships in 2007, she broke the National Hammer Record for the 17th time with a throw of 73.21m. This throw still remains 29th on the world all-time list. In the same year, in what has been described as her career highlight, she placed sixth at the World Track and Field Championships in Osaka, Japan. To round off that incredible year, O’Keeffe also took the Silver medal at the World University Games in Bangkok. In 2008 she became the first Irish woman to qualify for the Olympic Games in the Hammer.

A self-taught hammer thrower, from a video that her brother bought her, the Kilkenny woman demonstrated outstanding progression in her career, from a throw of 38.03m in 1998 to a career best of 73.21m in 2007. She also achieved nine National Hammer titles from 2001-2009 and six Discus titles. During her impressive career she also won numerous European Cups (now known as European Team Championships) setting stadium records along the way.

Speaking of her retirement O’Keeffe said “It has been a difficult decision but I feel at this point that I have given my best to the sport and have had some top class performances during my career. After my long injury battle I feel it’s time to step away from the sport and focus solely on my nursing career”