Dublin: 13°C Tuesday 28 September 2021

This modest looking shed houses some of Ireland's most dedicated young Olympians

Come on into to see how our pentathletes roll.

WELCOME TO ABBOTTSTOWN, Dublin 15, where work on the site of the infamous proposed ‘Bertie Bowl’ continues.

The work is ongoing to bring the great and the good of Irish sport together in one big centre of excellence.

The National Aquatic centre and, of course, the FAI are already here, but while we wait for the IRFU to send in the lawnmowers and a shiny new national indoor arena to be built, there is high performance training training going on daily.

In here.

photo 4

After you pass the purpose-built FAI headquarters those who know their way around will take you down a winding lane until you come to this out-of-place looking shed complete with a plea for mercy to the wrecking balls… just in case.

photo 3

This is the home of Ireland’s high performance modern pentathletes. And it suits them just fine.

photo 2

photo 3

Don’t judge a book by its cover. Through the doors you’ll find a pristine training area for fencing complete with six full-sized pistes, all wired to record instant scoring with a buzzer and electronic boards.

photo 2

Here, performance director Lindsey Weedon guides eight young athletes, two of whom are already Olympians, on the path to Rio 2016.

Be part
of the team

Access exclusive podcasts, interviews and analysis with a monthly or annual membership.

Become a Member

photo 1

Natalya Coyle, who finished in eighth place in London, together with Arthur Lanigan O’Keefe are the senior athletes here at the age of 23 and 22. The round-robin of fencing against the younger competitors such as Tom O’Brien and Sive Brassil is one of up to 15 training sessions they can do over five sports in a given week.

photo 2

So, with time a limited commodity, it's just as well this unassuming-looking old shed serves as a base for three of those events. And a separate, much newer, building across the way provides the showers and a meeting room.

photo 3

Through a door at the other end of the long old building, is where the shooting goes down.

With these babies.

photo 1

Or for newcomers, these old-school air pistols.

photo 5

Ignore the stray carpet, the athletes' laser-sighted guns record their accuracy down the the millimeter. The information is stored on the laptop in front of them so they can know how they are performing in real time, and also view their progress from historical data.

photo 4

The barn door to the left of the 10 metre shooting gallery opens onto an 800-metre path beaten around the field where athletes can practice the unique challenge of controlling their breath and steadying their hand as they combine the cross-country run with the shooting segment.

That's three out of the five modern pentathlon events accounted for in this one shed. And the pentathletes need only cross the sports campus for the Horse Sport arena and their swim sessions in the NAC.

photo 5

All images © TheScore.ie.

Sports you should definitely try this summer… modern pentathlon

Stupid questions you should never be afraid to ask in the gym

5 sporting events to take part in over the August Bank Holiday weekend

About the author:

Sean Farrell

Read next: