Siobhán and Aoife Hoey Ireland's first women's bobsleigh team have ambitions for the Winter Olympics.

Sisters Siobhán and Aoife Hoey from Portarlington in County Laois are members of Ireland's first women's bobsleigh team. They have already achieved some bobsleigh success in the European Cup circuit and they hope to qualify for the 2006 Winter Olympics in Turin.

The sisters have very limited access to the world's ice tracks for training, so the majority of their preparation is carried out on the running track at the Morton Stadium in Santry, Dublin, using a bobsleigh on wheels. Once a week the women do their speed endurance training at Carrick Wood near their childhood home in Portarlington. 

Siobhán and Aoife Hoey both come from an athletics backgrounds, excelling in the triple jump. Training for the triple jump is similar to the training required for bobsledding. Their father Joe Hoey coached both women,

I would say that what made it easier was the talent they had, they had tremendous talent, the great ability, and they had the will to win.

Siobhán and Aoife have different jobs in the bobsleigh. Siobhán is the brake person. Her role is to provide power and speed at the start, and to pull the brake at the finish. Aoife as well as contributing to power and speed at the start has to pilot the sled down the track, steering with a pair of D-rings.

To compete on a level with other nations, Aoife and Siobhán need more equipment. While the Olympic Council of Ireland provides some funding, more is needed. The sisters are delighted that one local company in Portarlington has come on board with some private sponsorship. Sponsor and owner of the Sofa Warehouse Dave O'Shea is happy to contribute,

It's nice to give something in back like that, it does promote the two girls and their sport, and the town itself as well.

Aoife believes her growing knowledge of the tracks on the circuit will lead to ever better results for them.

I know I have a lot of experience now, and I've seen tracks from different angles, from too high, from too low, so I think this year is going to be our year.

A 'Nationwide' report broadcast on 21 October 2005. The reporter is Diarmuid Peavoy. The presenter is Mary Kennedy.