Liam living with Type 1 Diabetes represents Ireland in The Olympic Hopes Regatta in Poznan, Poland

Liam was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes on January 4th 2023, and about 10 days later he was also diagnosed with coeliac disease which was caught during blood tests run by the great staff at the Diabetes Centre in Tallaght.  Liam has had fantastic support from the team there, who have all supported him in his endeavours to continue with his sport at the level he was at.  From his Doctor, Dr. Kevin Moore, and his team through to his Dietician Mary Finn, and all the fabulous Nurses who are doing the most amazing job of helping him manage his new way of life.



Liam is a 17-year-old, Leaving Cert Student in Colaiste Chiarain, Leixlip, Co Kildare, and a member of Salmon Leap Canoe Club.  He has paddled internationally, representing his Country, Club and School during 2021, 2022 and 2023 and has great aspirations to continue to do so in the future.



He is currently the Under 18s National Sprint Champion in 200m for the year 2023 (Post T1D Diagnosis) and National Champion (both Long and Short Course Marathon Events), Under 16s (as yet, held over from 2022).


Despite his recent diagnosis Liam has used his Canoeing to manage his Diabetes.  He is currently in Poznan, Poland representing Ireland at the Olympic Hopes Sprint Regatta (U17s).  He was delighted to qualify for his spot on the team, especially this year. This is a huge regatta, with 39 countries from all over the world represented.  Liam will race in the U17s 200m and 500m (K1), and he will also race in a team boat in the 500m (K4).



Earlier in the year and following time trials in May, Liam made the cut to compete in Ruse, Bulgaria (June) also representing Ireland where he took a top 10 finish in the long course ICF Canoe Marathon World Cup (U18s). The focus of the trip was to provide development opportunities for competing on an international stage.



Also in May Liam raced the 62nd Liffey Descent, an iconic race that traces the traditional route from the K Club in Straffan Co. Kildare along 30km of the River Liffey to finish at the Garda Boat Club in Islandbridge Co. Dublin.  Along the way, there is one portage and ten weirs for paddles to tackle.  Liam had hoped to race this as a K1 paddler (U18) but as it was his first endurance race since diagnosis, he decided to err on the side of caution and buddy up with his dad (also an experienced International Paddler).   He was delighted to have managed his sugars during this race and secured 1st place in K2 (Junior / O49).



May was a busy month for paddling this year, as the Junior Liffey Descent was held a few weeks after the main event.  This is a slightly shorter course and specifically aimed at the young paddlers. The race is approximately 11km in length and starts at Salmon Leap Canoe Club where the students race across Leixlip Lake before completing a 500-metre run while carrying their kayaks. They then get back on the water and negotiate their way down four weirs before finishing at the Irish Canoe Union Training Centre in the Strawberry Beds.  Liam had a great race and was delighted to get 2nd place in U18s.



In August he travelled to Spain, where he came 3rd (U18s) in the 85th International Ribadesella Descent.  Over a thousand canoeists in many different age categories and disciplines take to the start line of this 20 km river race for one of the most coatic starts you will ever see (worth googling).


Before Liam’s Diagnosis, his achievements make for some reading, and he hopes Type 1 diabetes / Coeliac won’t stop him from adding to them in the future!


  • National Marathon Champion – Long Course (Cork) 2021 and 2022 (U16s)
  • 1st place in the 5k Sprint British National Championships (U16) 2022
  • National Sprint Champion 200m (Lough Rynn) 2021 – Didn’t compete in 2022, as was racing in the UK.
  • International Waterlands Marathon, Netherlands – 1st place (U16s) 2022
  • Short Course Irish Marathon Champion (Blessington) – 1st place (U16s) 2022
  • Short Course British Marathon Nationals (UK) – 1st place (U16s) 2022
  • 84th Descenso Internacional del Sella 2022 (Spain)- 1st place (U16s)
  • Represented Ireland in Auronzo, Italy at an International Canoe Sprint Regatta (which was the test event for the 2023 ICF Junior and U23 Canoe Sprint World Championships) 2022
  • Many additional podiums during numerous regattas in the UK in 2023 and 2023
  • Represented Ireland at Olympic Hopes Sprint Regatta (Racice, Czech) 2021 (U15s)
  • 5k Sprint British National Championships (Scotland), 2nd K1 (U16s), 1st mixed K4 (U16s) 2021
  • During the 2021 domestic Marathon Race Series, Liam was one of the youngest paddlers in recent times to be promoted to Division II in our National Ranking Races Series.