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Count on Deirdre to teach youngsters coordination and courage

Deirdre Brennan is a whizz at controlling the finances at AQS Environmental Solutions. Out of work she can be much more creative with figures – as a gymnastics coach.

She has been teaching seven to 16-year-old girls at the Kilbarry Gymnastics Academy in Waterford for 25 years, and is a respected competition judge as well.

Deirdre, AQS Environmental Solutions’ financial controller, said: “I enjoy coaching gymnastics enormously. Our members get so much out of the sport.

“It gives our girls a great sense of achievement, and it’s a lot of fun. Gymnastics is also a great way to instil team spirit, determination and physical courage.”

Stan O’Reilly, Commercial Director at AQS Environmental Solutions, said: “We aim to support colleagues who do voluntary work in the community.

“Deirdre is a great example of someone who puts their all into their work, but still has more to give helping others in their free time.

“I can’t say she would have much luck teaching me to do a double back flip, but she’s obviously brilliant at it with the young girls in her charge.

“We’re mightily impressed with her dedication to her sport.”

Deirdre and the other volunteer staff at Kilbarry Gymnastics Academy coach 130 members, many of whom compete in national championships.

Only a small number of young gymnasts stay on to compete at senior level. For many, though, it is stepping stone that leads to success in other sports.

One of those was athlete Jessie Barr, the 400m hurdler who has competed at the London 2012 Olympics and many other international events.

Until the age of 12, she was coached by Deirdre at the academy.

Deirdre said: “As coaches, we’re looking to teach our gymnasts a lot of technical skills, but I hope the main thing we’re passing on is a love of sport and taking part.

“It stands our girls in good stead for the rest of their lives. We’re now getting mums who I taught as girls bringing their daughters along. That’s lovely.”

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