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Tuesday 31 January 2023 Dublin: 8°C
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# hurdle heroine
20 pictures that celebrate Derval O'Rourke's brilliant hurdling career
Ireland’s most fierce track competitor hung up her spikes this morning. Here are some of her finest moments.

DERVAL O’ROURKE BUILT her reputation on defying the odds and arriving at a major Championship meets in the frame of mind to grit her teeth and match the world’s best stride for stride.

When speaking with TheScore.ie early last month, it seemed like the Cork woman was ready to perform the trick one last time.

The annual September stock-take was set as a date when the possibility of retirement would be discussed,  but as she confirmed her retirement this morning, one sentence in particular stood out:

“Going to a Championships just to be there, isn’t me.”

Having been unable to bring her body back up to an elite level of sprint hurdling with recovery from Achilles surgery taking longer than, Ireland’s most fierce track competitor has been forced to accept that a European Championships in seven weeks is no longer and achievable goal.

O’Rourke takes her leave from Irish athletics with five major medals to her name and, of course, the national record for 50, 60 and 100 metre hurdles.

To celebrate a magnificent career, here are a selection of our favourite images that O’Rourke has given us.

Trademark determination evident at this Cork City Sports meet in 2002

Derval O'Rourke 6/7/2002 DIGITAL INPHO INPHO

Awaiting her time with the Netherlands’ Judith Vis at the 2003 World Championships

Dervla O'Rourke 25/8/2003 INPHO INPHO

Running smoothly at the 2004 National Championships

Derval O'Rourke 25/7/2004 INPHO INPHO

Winning indoor gold in Russia

RUSSIA WORLD INDOOR ATHLETICS AP / Press Association Images AP / Press Association Images / Press Association Images

RUSSIA WORLD INDOOR ATHLETICS AP / Press Association Images AP / Press Association Images / Press Association Images

Inspiring

Derval O'Rourke Cathal Noonan / INPHO Cathal Noonan / INPHO / INPHO

In Gothenburg, waiting for her European silver medal-winning time

Derval O'Rourke awaits the result of the Women's 100m Hurdles final 11/8/2006 Morgan Treacy / INPHO Morgan Treacy / INPHO / INPHO

Confirmed!

Derval O'Rourke celebrates 11/8/2006 Morgan Treacy / INPHO Morgan Treacy / INPHO / INPHO

Dipping for a bronze at the European indoors in 2009

Derval O'Rourke finishes 3rd Morgan Treacy / INPHO Morgan Treacy / INPHO / INPHO

Narrowly missing out on a medal at the 2009 World Championships

Derval O'Rourke crosses the line in 4th position Morgan Treacy / INPHO Morgan Treacy / INPHO / INPHO

In 2010, that form would bring O’Rourke to a European 100 metre silver medal 

Derval O'Rourke celebrates winning a silver medal Morgan Treacy / INPHO Morgan Treacy / INPHO / INPHO

Derval O'Rourke celebrates winning a silver medal Morgan Treacy / INPHO Morgan Treacy / INPHO / INPHO

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Derval O'Rourke celebrates winning a silver medal

The Olympic dream never quite came to fruition

Derval O'Rourke is shown a yellow card Morgan Treacy / INPHO Morgan Treacy / INPHO / INPHO

Derval O'Rourke and Lolo Jones Morgan Treacy / INPHO Morgan Treacy / INPHO / INPHO

But the elite level medals can’t be taken away

As of last month, O’Rourke had not yet received the 2013 European indoor bronze; won after after finishing fourth on the day behind Nevin Yanit who was subsequently suspended for doping.

Derval O'Rourke Morgan Treacy / INPHO Morgan Treacy / INPHO / INPHO

60 metre indoor World Champion 2006

Derval O'Rourke with her World Indoor Championship gold in 2006 Getty Images / INPHO Getty Images / INPHO / INPHO

2006 European Championships 100 metre silver 

Derval O'Rourke with her silver medal in 2006 Morgan Treacy / INPHO Morgan Treacy / INPHO / INPHO

2009 European Indoor Championships 60 metre bronze

Derval O'Rourke with her bronze medal Morgan Treacy / INPHO Morgan Treacy / INPHO / INPHO

2010 European Championships 100 metre silver

Derval O'Rourke poses with her medal overlooking Barcelona Morgan Treacy / INPHO Morgan Treacy / INPHO / INPHO

Thanks, Derval.

‘It’s frustrating to have only four medals, there’s one missing’

Weightlifting, walking and getting lapped by 80-year-olds — Derval O’Rourke’s road to recovery

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