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Two of Cork’s top sailing athletes have set their course for the Irish 49er (2 person boat) 2024 Olympic campaign. Both are young members of the Royal Cork Yacht Club and UCC Sailing Club, and past pupils of Presentation Brothers College, Séafra Guilfoyle (25) and Johnny Durcan (21) have already started a rigorous training schedule with the Irish team for the next Olympic qualifiers.

Séafra Guilfoyle, from Myrtleville, will be positioned at the helm, steering the 2-man boat.  The UCC economics student has recent experience competing for Tokyo 2020 with Double Olympian Ryan Seaton of Belfast Lough where they finished 15th in the qualifiers.  It’s his dream to represent Ireland at the Olympics and Seafra says he’s ‘determined to reach Paris 2024’. His new sailing partner and crew Johnny Durcan from Crosshaven, also a UCC student in law, will be responsible for building up the speed of the boat. 

Both Séafra and Johnny started sailing at the age of 7 and 8 respectively and had great success at youth level.  Séafra represented Ireland every year from the age of 12 to 18, winning multiple nationals and medalling at world championships. Since then, he has represented Ireland across the world and was a ‘Dare to Believe’ ambassador for The Olympic Federation of Ireland in 2020.  Johnny has a similar competitive background, representing Ireland on the international stage from the age of 11.  He was top ranked in optimist sailing by the age of 13, a National Laser Champion at 14, a European 29er Champion at 15, and winner of the European and Irish Nationals at 16.

They feel their competitive advantage in the Olympics will be their youth, their long-time friendship having come up through the sailing ranks together, their geographical proximity to each other, Johnny’s training experience with Annalise Murphy, and the fact that Seafra already has four and a half years’ experience in running an Olympic campaign behind him.

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