Coaches

 

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EILIS

Role: Club Owner & Designated Person



Who is your favourite gymnast ever? Catalina Ponor 

What’s your favourite skill?
“Ok I have to do one per piece…. Floor = double straight, 
Beam = A proper split leap, Bars = The Tweddle (the first
time I saw it I was like “eh what just happened?”),
Vault = plain and simple (well simple-ish!) = a straight
Yurochenko

Most memorable moment in Arabian?
“A little boy told me that that ‘out of all the coaches
you look most like a cat!’”

A little about me & gymnastics: 
“I’ve been flipping around a gym in some form for about
25 years now …… my career as a gymnast started like most
in a recreational class and from there I moved onto competitive
gymnastics and then display gymnastics. After graduating from
Trinity with a degree in business & economics in 2005, I decided
to turn my passion into my job and joined forces with my best
old gym buddy Aoife to open Arabian ... and to say I’ve never
looked back is an understatement. I LOVE gymnastics and love
sharing this wonderful sport with every child who comes through
our doors”.

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EILIS

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AOIFE

Role: Club Owner and Childrens Officer



Who is your favourite gymnast ever?
“There’s too many…… old school I’d have to say Dominique 
Moicianu, nowadays I love Simone Biles.”

What’s your favourite skill?
“An arabian of course!”

What is your most memorable moment in Arabian?
“Finishing the renovations on the gym and seeing customers’ 
faces as they walked in the door.”

A little about me & gymnastics: 
“I started gymnastics when I was seven and from that moment 
on I practised morning noon & night. I travelled the world as 
part of a display team - my teammates becoming my lifelong 
friends.  In 2005 I opened Arabian with one of those friends 
(Eilis). The discipline and dedication I learned throughout 
my career as a gymnast has helped me throughout the trials 
and tribulations of running my own business. Gymnastics 
has helped me in every aspect of my life and it gives me 
such a kick to think that through running the gym I get 
to pass on these benefits to hundreds of children.”

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AOIFE

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SHEENAGH

Role: Senior Club Coach



Who is your favourite gymnast ever?
My all time favourites are Maria Olaru & Shawn Johnson but 
currently I love Kyla Ross & Jordyn Weiber. 

What’s your favourite skill?
“Double back on floor & onodi on beam”

What is your most memorable moment in Arabian?
“I love when you help a gymnast get a new move that they’ve 
been practising forever – it makes it all worthwhile when they 
run up to ring the bell and perform it for everyone…………………..Oh 
and having two of my elite girls qualify for the National 
Team has been REALLY AWESOME!”

A little about me & gymnastics: 
“I started gym at age 7 in a recreational class. I’ve been 
coaching for 13 years and working in Arabian for 7. I fell in 
love with the sport when I watched the 2000 Olympics in Sydney 
and have been a massive fan / COMPLETELY OBSESSED with the 
sport ever since ……. I follow the gymnastics religiously now 
and if I’m not in the gym coaching you can guarantee I’m on my 
Ipad looking up the latest developments in competitions or new 
coaching techniques. My short-term ambition is to continue to 
develop the elite programme in Arabian to an international and 
long-term is to bring one of our gymnasts to the Olympics.”

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SHEENAGH

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GRACE



Who is your favourite gymnast ever?
Gabby Douglas

What’s your favourite skill?
“A cartwheel backhandspring – simple but effective”

Most memorable moment in Arabian?
“The first day my special needs group managed to walk 
the high beam unassisted – very proud!”
 
A little about me & gymnastics: 
“I started gymnastics when I was 8 in a recreational class. 
My first coach was actually Eilis and the girls who were 
in my group are still my best friends almost 20 years later. 
Gymnastics improved my confidence & became a huge part of my 
life. After finishing school in 2006 it was a natural 
progression for me to become a full-time coach. I love 
children and I can’t even imagine doing anything else.”

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GRACE

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SINEAD



Who is your favourite gymnast ever?
“The Queen: Svetlana Khorkina”

What’s your favourite skill?
“Free Walkover”

Most memorable moment in Arabian?
“Well there’s been loads of memorable ones at competitions and 
displays over the years but I’ll never forget bringing my son 
Olly aged two to his first Gymtots class… …he LOVES gymnastics 
too especially practising ‘stands’ aka handstands. My younger 
daughter Sienna will be at Gymtots as soon as she can walk!”
 
A little about me & gymnastics: 
“I’ve been a gymnast since age seven and can genuinely say that 
the friends I’ve met through the sport are my ‘mates for life’. 
After finishing school I knew I wanted to further my education 
in sport and studied PE at Chester University. I graduated in 
2005 and jumped at the chance to work full-time in the newly 
opened Arabian. At the time there were no other full-time gyms 
in Ireland so it was a bit of a risk to forgo my career as a 
PE teacher……. But I knew I loved this sport more than any other 
sport in the world and nine years on I am so glad I made that choice.

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SINEAD

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AISLING



Who is your favourite gymnast ever?
Nastia Luikin

What’s your favourite skill?
Onodi

Most memorable moment in Arabian?
“Taking part in the Open Baltic Competition in Lituania!”
 
A little about me & gymnastics: 
“I got started in the Gymfit class when Arabian opened 
and then joined the squad and later the display team.  
I started coaching about 5 years ago and immediately 
LOVED it. I moved to England for two years to study 
physio and I’m now back in Arabian fulltime. I think 
gymnastics is the best sport for children bar none and 
I love applying everything I’ve learned through physio 
to real life.

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AISLING

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ALEX



Who is your favourite gymnast ever?
“Alicia Sacramone”

What’s your favourite skill?
“Onodi on beam”

What is your most memorable moment in Arabian?
“Can I do one as a gymnast and one as a coach??
As a gymnast travelling to Lithuania in 2008 to take part in 
the Open Baltic Competition and coming third…. I’ll honestly 
never forget standing on that podium next to the Russian and 
Lithuanian team with the Irish flag raised behind us.
And as a coach I will never forget travelling to the world 
renowned Huntingdon gymnastics club to take part in the elite 
training camp. We met Lewis Smith and picked up coaching tips 
from his coach Paul Hall. All the coaches and the elite 
gymnasts we brought had a ball!”

A little about me & gymnastics: 
“I started in Arabian when I was 9. I loved the classes so much 
and was soon selected to join the acrobatics squad. I loved 
training at this high level – the rewards of constantly getting 
new skills were well worth the hard work and dedication (and even 
giving up my weekends). After retiring from competition I joined 
the Display Team and love the travelling abroad to participate 
in festivals. I started coaching in 2012 and judging in 2013. 
I think having been a gymnast helps me hugely with coaching as 
I’m able to put myself in the child’s position and I really enjoy 
passing on the ‘tricks of the trade’ to the next generation.”

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ALEX

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RHONA



Who is your favourite gymnast ever?
“Jordyn Wieber, Simone Biles, Norah Flatley”

What’s your favourite skill?
“Free walkover on beam”

What is your most memorable moment in Arabian?
Definitely some of the international training camps we’ve 
brought our elite girls too. It’s amazing to see your gymnasts 
train amongst the likes of Lewis Smith and Hannah Whealan….. 
once training starts everyone is the same regardless of 
whether they’ve won an Olympic medal or not! Celebrity is 
left at the door of the gym and everyone just gets to work.” 


A little about me & gymnastics: 
“I am OBSESSED with gymnastics – it’s not my just my sport or 
just my passion- it’s my life. I spend so much time researching 
famous gymnasts and their training schedules and try to apply 
that to my coaching. I’m particularly excited about my 
pre-elite team at the moment – the idea that I may have a 
future champion in my hands is amazing. My ultimate goal is 
to coach and judge at international elite level. ”

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RHONA

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DEREK



Who is your favourite gymnast ever? "Nicolai Andrianov”

What’s your favourite skill?
“Tsukahara on vault”

Most memorable moment in Arabian?
“Seeing both of my daughters master their back flips and back 
somersaults!”
 
A little about me & gymnastics: 
“I’ve been involved in gymnastics since 1976!!! I was Irish 
Junior and Senior Champion and Captain for the Irish Team. 
I started coaching before I’d even retired from competition and 
coached in various gyms throughout the country before ‘retiring’ 
to have a family in 1985 ……. When my eldest daughter expressed an 
interest in gymnastics I had a funny feeling my ‘retirement’ 
wouldn’t last much longer. In 2006 I started coaching in the newly 
opened Arabian and have been coaching the squad three days a week 
ever since.”

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DEREK

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JENNY



Who is your favourite gymnast ever?
Shannon Miller & John Rothensburg

What’s your favourite skill?
“Inward front dismount on bars”

Most memorable moment in Arabian?
“The first big display that Teen Team did….. we all travelled 
up to Gymfusion in Derry, the display was in the Millennium 
Theatre so it was really dramatic in terms of lighting and 
spectators. I was SO PROUD of them”. 
 
A little about me & gymnastics: 
“I started gymnastics at age 3 (back home in America) and 
competed from age 10 to age 17. I was coaching before I moved 
to Ireland so was delighted to get a part-time job in Arabian 
shortly after moving here. I’m a secondary school teach so 
love working with children. I now coach the boys squad and 
the Teen Team. I love gymnastics – the competitions, the skills, 
the friendships – I even met my husband through trampolining!!”

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JENNY

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NIAMH



Who is your favourite gymnast ever?
Simone Biles

What’s your favourite skill?
“I love free walkovers on beam or floor”

Most memorable moment in Arabian?
“All the coaches went to the National Camp last Summer in Galway 
and I got to meet the GB Olympic Team (including Hannah Whealan 
and Rebecca Tunney) and got loads of fantastic coaching tips 
from their coach”.
 
A little about me & gymnastics: 
“I started gymnastics when I was 7 and have been performing as
part of a display team ever since. I’ve travelled to England,
Scotland and Gran Canaria and made friends for life. When I got
the opportunity to start coaching in Arabian I was delighted and 
my love for the sport continues to grow. I’ve just started
coaching a competitive squad and my ambition would be to coach 
at an elite level”.

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NIAMH

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LUCY



Who is your favourite gymnast ever?
Nastia!

What’s your favourite skill?
“You can’t beat a nice high Tkachev”

Most memorable moment in Arabian?
“Being asked to join the coaching team…… I had been 
thinking about it for years and was just over the moon 
when I started coaching.”
 
A little about me & gymnastics: 
“I joined the squad when Arabian opened in 2005. I 
competed at countless competitions and even won a few 
national titles. I now train as part of the Display 
Team and coach a level 1 squad. They are my little 
stars….. I love watching them become such good 
friends through gymnastics.”

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LUCY

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AMY



Who is your favourite gymnast ever?
Nadia Comaneci

What’s your favourite skill?
“Aerial cartwheels”

Most memorable moment in Arabian?
“My first competition as a gymnast will always stand out….. 
the buzz, the nerves, the  energy……. Even now as a coach 
I get the exact same feeling at competitions”
 
A little about me & gymnastics: 
“I was a late bloomer in terms of gymnastics and originally 
started out in the Gymfit class at age 11 where I was identified 
as having potential and asked to do a squad trial. Although I’ve 
retired from competitive gymnastics I still keep up the sport 
two evenings a week through the Senior Display Team. I think 
being a gymnast has really helped me be a better coach….. I 
know how scary it can be to stand up on the beam and try a skill 
on your own for the first time but I also know how amazing it 
feels when you’ve achieved that!.... I try to remind the gymnasts 
of that all the time!”

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AMY

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LOUISE



Who is your favourite gymnast ever?
“Aly Raisman”

What’s your favourite skill?
“A straight back somersault ……. On floor, beam, off bars or 
in a vault ……. It always so lovely to watch”

Most memorable moment in Arabian?
“I love the honesty of younger children….. especially the 
little boys in my Friday class who love to comment on my 
black bags under my eyes or my messy hair! I think their 
honesty is brilliant (even if it’s a little insulting) – 
it’s part of the reason that I always want to work with children”. 

A little about me & gymnastics: 
“I started as a gymnast in Arabian when it first opened 
almost 10 years ago! I did recreational and then acrobatic 
gymnastics up until 3 years ago. I love the sport and I started 
coaching the very day I stopped training.”

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LOUISE

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REBECCA



Who is your favourite gymnast ever?
Nadia Comaneci

What’s your favourite skill?
“Ooh it’s got to be aerial on beam”

Most memorable moment in Arabian?
“My first class competition as a gymnast is a moment I’ll never 
forget – the sense of achievement and pride was overwhelming, it’s 
funny because I had the exact same feeling after my first class 
competition as a coach”
 
A little about me & gymnastics: 
“I started gymnastics in my late teens in Arabian’s Gymfit class 
and was instantly hooked, signing myself up to the two hour advanced 
recreational class to further my skills. In transition year I did a 
two week placement as an assistant coach and immediately knew I’d 
found my calling!!!!! Coaching gives me such a kick. I want to try 
my hand in all aspects of coaching – recreational, pre-school, 
elite etc and then decide which area to specialise in”.

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REBECCA

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JESSA



Who is your favourite gymnast ever?
Nastia Liukin

What’s your favourite skill?
“An Onodi”

Most memorable moment in Arabian?
“ My first competition as a coach….. after being Sheenagh’s 
assistant coach for 3 months, we brought our junior squad group 
to level 1 Regionals. I’ll never forget seeing them high five 
each other after their routines, it was so cute and brought me 
back to my first competitions. I hope their teammates grow to 
be their best friends the way mine have!”
 
A little about me & gymnastics: 
“I guess I was a late starter in gymnastics terms as I only 
started at age 10. I was quickly chosen for a squad and competed 
at regionals and nationals in both acrobatics and artistic gymnastics. 
I still train competitively and am also on a display team that 
travels to many festivals throughout the UK and Ireland. I have 
just started coaching the Junior Display Team and love working with 
young talented gymnasts……… I’m hoping to eventually coach junior 
squad and pre-elite gymnasts.”

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JESSA

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NICOLA



Who is your favourite gymnast ever?
Shawn Johnson

What’s your favourite skill?
“Giants on bars”

Most memorable moment in Arabian?
“Our first trip to Leeds was amazing! I’ve actually 
never laughed as much in my life!”
 
A little about me & gymnastics: 
“Gymnastics is in my blood – my dad was a gymnast 
and a coach. My dad didn’t want to push me into 
“his sport” so he just put me into a recreational 
class but as soon as I started I couldn’t get enough. 
I joined the squad and competed at loads of regionals 
and nationals. But for me the most enjoyable part of 
the sport is display gymnastics – I love the teamwork 
aspect of it! When I’m coaching I try to create that 
atmosphere for the gymnasts!

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NICOLA

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ELLEN



Who is your favourite gymnast ever?
Victoria Komova

What’s your favourite skill?
Any  version of a split leap that shows a 180’ split is 
always very beautiful 

Most memorable moment in Arabian?
“Winning a medal at the Open Baltic Competition in 
Lituania!”
 
A little about me & gymnastics: 
“I started gymnastics almost 10 years ago and it is a huge 
part of my life….. whenever I’m preparing for school exams, 
gymnastics is the only time I can really switch off. I think 
having a sport you can just throw yourself into when you need 
it is essential and I’m so glad I discovered gymnastics”.

Get to know…..
ELLEN