Co Leitrim athlete Joanna Duignan dies suddenly

Tributes paid to ‘talented’ 20-year-old law student, musician and set dancer

Joanna Duignan, Carrick-on-Shannon AC, on her way to winning the Junior Women’s 400m at the Woodie’s DIY Junior & U23 Championships of Ireland in 2014. Photograph: Paul Mohan / SPORTSFILE

Joanna Duignan, Carrick-on-Shannon AC, on her way to winning the Junior Women’s 400m at the Woodie’s DIY Junior & U23 Championships of Ireland in 2014. Photograph: Paul Mohan / SPORTSFILE

 

Tributes have been paid to the promising Co Leitrim athlete Joanna Duignan following her sudden death.

Ms Duignan (20), from Annaduff, was a law student at Dublin City University and a member of the Carrick-on-Shannon Athletic Club. She had won a number of national running competitions.

Described by a local councillor as “an extremely talented young lady”, Ms Duignan was also a traditional musician and a set dancer.

Ms Duignan began running seriously in 2012 after she was encouraged to try the sport by her Gaelic football trainer. She went on to win the Athletics Ireland U18 400m outdoors and represented Ireland in the schools international in Santry and at the Celtic International in Wales.

Ms Duignan also went on to win three silver medals in Athletics Ireland juvenile competition.

The Carrick-on-Shannon Athletic Club posted on its website on Monday about the “sudden and untimely passing” of Ms Duignan. The club described her as “a fantastic athlete with a willingness to work hard”. It said she “was a lovely genuine person who always had time for everyone”.

“No matter how young or how old, Joanna’s friendly, outgoing nature saw her make time for everyone and we lost count of the amount of times she helped out our younger athletes,” wrote the club.

“The loss we feel today is nothing compared to the loss of her family, her parents Philip and Theresa and brothers Daniel, Aaron and Keith, her relatives and extended family and many friends. There are no words to convey our deepest sympathy to them at this time - all we can do is offer our support and our love as we remember our friend Joanna.”

The club announced that it would cancel all training for the week as a mark of respect to Ms Duignan and her family.

Athletics Ireland also extended its sympathies to the family and posted on Twitter on Tuesday that it was shocked and saddened by the death of Ms Duignan.

Ms Duignan’s funeral Mass will take place at 11am on Thursday at St Mary’s Church in Annaduff followed by the burial in the adjoining cemetery.