THE countdown is well and truly on for Tyrone’s Olympic representatives.
Over a week ago Shirley McCay and her Ireland hockey team-mates flew out to Japan to begin a training camp ahead of the games which get underway next Friday, July 23.
It’s the first time that Ireland have qualified for the Olympics and for Drumquin woman McCay, the most capped person in Irish sport, it could well be her last major tournament before hanging up her hockey stick.
Back in 2018 she was a key member of the Irish team which finished runners-up at the World Cup in London.
Like McCay, Aughnacloy’s Rebecca Edwards, has already docked in Japan.
The former Royal School Dungannon pupil is part of the Great Britain women’s eight rowing team which departed on Tuesday.
Ahead of her departure Edwards, one of four Northern Ireland rowers going to Tokyo, said she was still pinching herself after securing her place on the GB team.
“We are going out early to get ourselves acclimatised to the conditions,” said Edwards.
“Our competition doesn’t start until the 25th July and we are not allowed on the boating lake until five days before.
“We have a 10-day training camp to prepare with the first five days based at a local university.”
Eilish Flanagan, who runs in the 3000m steeplechase for Ireland, is also en route to the Tokyo Games.
Some of Ireland’s athletic team members departed during the week with the rest flying out today (Saturday)