Phillip O’Kelly and Jamie Keatley pull their weight at Junior National Championships

Daniel Phelan

Students from DCU took part in the Irish Powerlifting Federations Under-23 Junior National Championships.

DCU students took part in the Irish Powerlifting Federations Under-23 Junior National Championships. 

Phillip O’Kelly and Jamie Keatley who are part of the Powerlifting club at DCU were competing for A.B.S Powerlifting.

The event which took place in the A.B.S Powerlifting Gym in Dublin, requires all competitors to challenge themselves to lift to their maximum capacity in three different lifts: the squat, bench press and deadlift. 

While it was a club competition, familiar foes Trinity College Dublin and University College Cork were represented in the form of Trinity Barbell and UCC Powerlifting Club. 

Keatley began lifting on the platform this time last year, at a mock meet between DCU and Trinity. This was set up to encourage beginners who have previously never competed to get a feel for what it is like without any real pressure of getting on a scorecard. His first taste of competition was in April of this year when representing DCU at intervarsities in Cork and from there, “that’s how I ended up getting into competing” said Keatley. 

Keatley trains between two and three times a week and had been preparing all summer for these Junior Nationals. Competing in the under 59kg category, “I didn’t do as well as I would have liked”, he said. 

Coming into the competition with a quad injury, there was a reluctance to push the boundaries and potentially risk further injury and a lengthy spell out of competition. 

Somewhat disappointed by his performance – although hampered by injury – Keatley felt he could have done better, “I felt I should have improved since intervarsities but I ended up lifting the same amount.” 

However, there was a silver lining in the form of his deadlift.

“I was very happy with that, because I achieved my goal of getting a Junior National Record… I felt like I could have lifted more too.” he said. 

The other DCU scholar competing, Phillip O’Kelly, also acts as the Public Relations Officer for the DCU Powerlifting Club, he took part in the men’s under 66kg category. 

O’Kelly first started competing in April 2018, he had been a regular gym goer but wanted a more goal oriented way of lifting, “I had been in the gym for a few years previously but I’d gotten into strength training. I was tired of kind of just faffing about in the gym,” he said. 

He trains four days a week, with one day focused on each of the three lifts while the extra day is used to work on weakness areas. 

O’Kelly performed exceptionally well at the Junior National Championships. Speaking on his performance he said, “I was really happy with it, I beat my personal records on the squat (140kg) and deadlift (180kg) not on the bench, but sure I’ll get that next time.”

O’Kelly must wait and see if he qualifies for the National Championships in February of next year. The top seven of each weight class qualify; he’s currently placed sixth and in contention.

Daniel Phelan

Image Credit: Phillip O’Kelly