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'There was a bit of peer pressure. I would find myself constantly explaining why I wasn’t out'

Carlow’s Molly Scott speaks about having to turn down social invites in college and setting her sights on this weekend’s National Championships.

Scott at the European Athletics Indoor Championships back in March.
Scott at the European Athletics Indoor Championships back in March.
Image: Morgan Treacy/INPHO

THESE ARE THE days that Molly Scott works so hard for.

A few weeks ago, the Carlow star sprinter and hurdler took gold in a high-quality 100m hurdles race and crossed the line in 13.71 during the National Junior and U23 Championships in Tullamore.

She also finished runner-up in the 100m to Ciara Neville – the Emerald AC athlete winning in 11.69 to Scott’s 11.74.

Following that success, the St Laurence O’Toole athlete represented Ireland at last week’s European U23 Championships in Gavle, Sweden, and made the final of the 100m with a terrific display into a headwind.

Scott was also on the Irish women’s 4x100m relay team, which produced a brave bid from lane 1 in the final to finish an agonising fourth in 44.32.

Now she has her sights set on the Irish Life Health National Championships at Santry on 27 and 28 July.

She will be up against a top-class field, including the likes of Limerick’s Sarah Lavin but Scott is fully focused on her own performances.

“It feels like I am making progress and learning all the time,” the Hacketstown star says. “Every tournament you go to, you learn something new.

Over the past few months I have had issues with sleep the nights before major events and I have had to keep working on my technique but it’s great to know that you can work through these issues and arrive.”

At the end of the day Scott knows she can rely heavily on her immense talent and ability to work hard to achieve results.

“That is a comfort,” she says. “Even when times are testing you know you are good at what you are doing and that if you keep working hard it should come good for you.  There is great reassurance in that.”

Scott is a busy woman. Now at peak competition level she is busy running and also trying to fit in her academic career at IT Carlow.

After the Irish Life Health Nationals, she will look to peak at the European Indoor and World Outdoor finals next year.

“There is Tokyo 2020 after that and while an Olympics may be a little bit off yet I am going to go after an appearance there.

“Why wouldn’t I? I figure that if I can get to the Europeans and the Worlds that a medal is always a possibility and if you can get to that level you could get the qualifying grade for Tokyo without having over-obsessed about it.”

Competing is a way of life for Scott and she receives great help from her family, including her mum and coach, Deirdre.

IT Carlow have been quick to offer her support and assistance. So too have her local supermarket Quinns of Baltinglass who sponsor her. Athletics Ireland provide financial assistance through their carded scheme and the fact that she lives at home and studies at home helps too.

Molly Scott Representing St Laurence O'Toole earlier this year. Source: Bryan Keane/INPHO

Currently preparing for her final year of a three-year law degree at IT Carlow, Scott says she loves the course and the college.

She would like to stay at the IT for some more years.

“Well, I haven’t thought about it, but I have no desire to leave IT Carlow and see myself going further with my studies there,” she says.

“They have been so good to me. And it helps me to live at home and train at home as well. Makes things easier all around. Perhaps I will go and sit law exams at Kings Inn in the future but that is down the line. I am happy where I am for now.”

College life brings its own pressures, challenges and opportunities but Scott says perhaps her biggest issue was constantly turning down her friends’ invites to nights out and social occasions.

“I guess when you are training all the time it’s hard to mix socialising too so I don’t do much of the latter,” she says.

“There was a bit of peer pressure at the start, I would find myself constantly explaining why I wasn’t out.

I think they understand now, though,” she smiles. “I still get invited but they don’t really expect to see me out. That is probably not my scene anyway, and I guess when you put so much effort into diet, training and conditioning, you have to give yourself every chance of performing.”

With Scott setting personal bests and constantly progressing she is hopeful that greater opportunities will arise in the future.

Keeping injury free, trusting her technique and continuing to reach international events are all top of her radar.

She knows she will face stiff competition at the Irish Life Health Nationals at the end of the month, but the Carlow native is used to stepping up.

“Having competed at junior and then U23 level you are already getting a taste for senior standard,” she says.

“A lot of the athletes I face at U23 level will be there again at senior level. The competition will be tough at Santry but I am used to that.

“Things are going well now, and I just want to stay on that course. I won’t look too far into the future and I won’t get too caught up in details along the way.

“I guess I will just trust what and who has helped me get this far and stay working hard.”

- Originally published at 07.00 

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Damian Lawlor

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