On 5 May 1956 she broke the world record in high jump in Belfast with a jump of 1.74 meters, breaking the record of 1.73 meters set by Aleksandra Chudina of the USSR on 22 May 1954. Her record was broken on 14 July 1956 in Bucharest by Iolanda Balaș of Romania.
Her achievement in breaking the world record is commemorated by a plaque in Cherryvale Playing Fields, South Belfast.
She competed for Great Britain in the 1956 Summer Olympics held in Melbourne, Australia in the high jump event, where she won the silver medal jointly with Maria Pisareva. In the 1954 Commonwealth Games she won a gold medal. As well as athletics she excelled at hockey where she was a regular choice for the Ireland Women's team, playing at forward. She won 40 caps. Also represented Ireland as an international Squash player.