Tiernan McShane isn’t the youngest but is certainly the smallest member of the Eagles since the club was formed in 2012, but he’s thus far the youngest and smallest to be named as Mid-Ulster Mail/Tyrone Times Sports Personality of the Month.
The primary schoolboy, who is just ten years old, achieved the accolade by a marvellous performance in the All-Ireland Special Olympics Games last month, but it moist certainly wasn’t a case of overnight success.
A keen and willing athlete, Tiernan works away at his own pace but is involved in all club activities.
In 2012 at Templemore Complex in Derry that Tiernan won a Gold medal in 25m run and also in tennis ball throw. This Ulster West Area Games was the first step on the ladder of competition success.
Tiernan, or TJ as his teammates call him continued to train hard and had moved up to softball throw by the time the Eagles team travelled to Antrim Forum for 2013 Ulster Finals. The competition was alot tougher here and Tiernan did well to win a silver in softball and came fourth on the 25m final.
As before, TJ trained with his team and expected his run to end there. However, a very late call from Special Olympics Ulster saw Tiernan become the last member of the provincial team to be selected for Team Ulster. After some consultation between his parents, Declan and Colette, and Eagles head coach Paul Sweeney, the conclusion was to let Tiernan travel to Limerick to National Finals and just see how he would get on.
What happened in Limerick was truly amazing, coach Paul and some Eagles and Ulster colleagues pleasantly surprised to watch Tiernan excede all expectations by winning old medals in both his 25m sprint and softball throw to deservedly return to Tyrone as a double All-Ireland Champion.
Tiernan was a shy but justifiably proud young man as he accepted his McConnells Intersport vouchers last weekend, yet another small reward for all his hard work and determination as he continues to lead by example.