Three cheers for Derry’s rising stars Aoife and Megan

Galaxy cheerleadersAoife O@Hara and Megan Harkin who will be representing Ireland and the UK, in the forthcoming World Championships in Disneyland, Florida in April.  (0203jB26)

Galaxy cheerleadersAoife O@Hara and Megan Harkin who will be representing Ireland and the UK, in the forthcoming World Championships in Disneyland, Florida in April. (0203jB26)

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Two ambitious local girls will travel to Florida next month to compete in the prestigious World Champion Cheerleading Contest.

16-year-old Megan Harkin, from Claudy, and 14 year-old Aoife O’Hara, from Eglinton, are thrilled to have been selected for the World Championships, which take place in Florida on April 24.

Megan Harkin, who currently studies Beauty at NWRC, was lucky enough to be selected for the UK squad.

She told the ‘Journal’: “I used to do gymnastics when I was younger, and I wanted to do something different. So then I found out about Galaxy GTC in Springtown and joined up and it was there I found out about the tryouts for Team UK in September.”

Megan flew over to Manchester for the tryouts.

“It was pretty scary - there were 50 people trying out for it. But they called me back two days later to say I had been chosen for the team! So now I’m going to the World Championships Cheerleading Competition in Florida, and I’m really looking forward to it.”

Megan enjoys cheerleading so much, she is considering a career in coaching when she’s older.

Aoife O’Hara, a student at Lumen Christi College, has been friends with Megan quite a while. “Megan and I started in Galaxy together,” she says. “I was part of the team last year too, but this year I’ve been picked for Team Ireland again - and I was selected this year without having to do the tryouts.”

Aoife travelled to Tuam in Galway for her tryouts.

“There’s just two of us in Team Ireland - me and a boy called Conor from Tuam who was on the team with me last year too,” she reveals.

“Last year, it was a full team of 25 people, but this year it’s just the two of us competing in a category called ‘Partner Stunt’, where one person holds up another person.”

Megan flies over to Manchester once a month and trains hard for the championships while back home in Derry too. Aoife and her partner Conor take turns travelling between Derry and Galway for training sessions.

Thankfully, the two local cheerleaders won’t be competing against each other as they are representing different categories. But the firm friends will spend a week in sunny Florida and will be competing on the same day.

“We’re really excited to be going to the championships,” adds Aoife.

These local cheerleading heroes are sponsored by Galaxy GTC, KPL, O’Kane’s Meats Claudy, O’Kane’s Filling Station Dungiven, Harkin and Dixon family and Partridge Peartree.