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Special Olympics Ireland News
By Special Olympics Ireland on 29/06/2011 17:36
  Equestrian gold medal winner Steven Yetman with his parents & coach Caroline Brennan

 

Team Ireland put in another day of strong performances at the 2011 Special Olympics World Summer Games in Athens.

In the men’s doubles bowling competition Paul Bridgman (Cobh, Co. Cork) and Michael Hardiman (Tallaght, Co. Dublin) put in a great display earning them a gold medal. Meanwhile in another division of the men’s doubles bowling, Ciaran Mallon (Newry, Co. Down) and Jonathon Griffin (Ballinasloe, Co. Galway) also earned gold for their efforts.

It was another exciting day in gymnastics with Laura Rumball (Dun Laoghaire, Co. Dublin) winning one silver and two bronze medals for her Artistic gymnastics display. Fellow gymnastics team mate, Carole Ryan (Newtown, Co. Wexford) took two gold medals following her Artistic gymnastics routine.

Our equestrian athletes were also in action today. John Loughane (Ballinasloe, Co. Galway) came fourth in his event while Conor MacGearailt (Athy, Co. Kildare) won silver for equitation, Pamela Collins (Kanturk, Co. Cork) won silver for her event, Sally Duffy won silver and Steven Yetman (Donaghadee, Co. Down) won gold.

In football the men’s 11-a-side team put in a winning performance against India securing them a 5 – 1 victory. Meanwhile in the 5-a-side competition the men’s team beat Finland 2 – 0.

The medal tally at the end of day four of the Games stands at 34 (10 Gold; 19 Silver; 5 Bronze). Speaking about Team Ireland’s performance so far Matt English, CEO Special Olympics Ireland said “We are so proud of Team Ireland. They are representing us all so well here in Athens. I would also like to pay tribute to them their coaches and the volunteers who helped to prepare them so well for the Games and who are here supporting and cheering them on – it’s been a fantastic team effort!”

Team Ireland will be in action once again tomorrow.  To follow their progress, or to leave a message of support, please visit www.specialolympics.ie/athens. You can also download a free iPhone App from the Apple iStore which will enable you to track your local athlete while on the go. Team Ireland are proudly supported by eircom.

By Special Olympics Ireland on 28/06/2011 20:36
     Alan Quinlan from Lisnagry, Co Limerick, with his gold and 5 silver medals which he won in gymnastics at the 2011 Special Olympics World Summer Games

Team Ireland were in jubilant form having staked their claim on twenty medals on day three of the 2011 Special Olympics World Summer Games in Athens.

The day got off to a flying start with Deirdre Gannon from Westport, Co. Mayo and Mary Quigley from Tullow, Co. Carlow winning silver in the Women’s doubles bowling event.  They were followed shortly afterwards by Joyce Haughian from Warrenpoint, Co. Down and Deirdre Garvin from Claremorris, Co. Mayo who also won silver in a different category of the Women’s doubles bowling event.

The big medal wins of the day were in gymnastics with Limerick native Alan Quinlan scooping one gold and five silver medals and a fourth place position in the men’s Artistic Gymnastics final. Fellow gymnast John Michael Gannon from Co. Offaly won two gold and two silver medals in his competition. Lisburn woman Pauline Connell won two gold and three silver medals in her competition.

In aquatics, Dublin woman Lorraine O’ Halloran scooped gold in the 100m freestyle whilst setting a new personal best time in the race. Templeogue woman Mary Gavin won her second medal of the Games, a silver in the 100m freestyle while Peter Oxley from Tyrrellspass, Co. Westmeath set a personal best time while coming fourth in the 100m freestyle.

In Bocce, the Irish Team, made up of Simon Darragh, Oliver Magee, Mary McDermot and Conor Ryan came in fourth position in their competition.

In equestrian, Down man Steven Yetman won bronze in the dressage event while Kildare man Conor MacGerailt took fifth place position in the Prix Caprilli competition – the first time for an Irish athlete to compete in this event.

The men’s five-aside football team claimed a 2-0 victory over Cyprus in the first stage of this highly competitive competition. In the Women’s event Ireland beat Italy 3-0.

Team Ireland will be in action once again tomorrow.  To follow their progress or to leave a message of support please visit www.specialolympics.ie/athens You can also download a free iphone App from the Apple iStore which will enable you to track your local athlete while on the go. Team Ireland are proudly supported by eircom.

By Special Olympics Ireland on 27/06/2011 19:04
  Team Ireland's Mary Gavin, Templeogue, Dublin, who won a Silver Medal in a 100m Backstroke Final at the OAKA Olympic Aquatic Center, Athens Olympic Sport Complex.

 

There were great celebrations in Athens today as two Irish athletes swam to medal glory on day two of the 2011 Special Olympics World Summer Games.

Mary Gavin swam to silver medal glory in the Women’s 100m backstroke in a time of 02:49.76. Mary who hails from Templeogue in Dublin, showed great strength and pace throughout the race and looked every bit a medal winner in the final lengths.

Not long after Mary’s medal win came another in the form of Peter Oxley from Tyrrellspass in Co. Westmeath who won a bronze medal in the men’s 100m backstroke final in a time of 01:39.16

Both athletes were cheered on by family members, friends, volunteers and supporters as they received their sporting accolades. Among the supporters were Olympic Gymnsatics champions Bart Conner and Nadia Comaneci and a number of Eunice Kennedy Shriver’s grandchildren.

Team Ireland will be in action once again tomorrow. The divisioning process, whereby athletes are grouped for competition with athletes of similar ability, is still ongoing in some sports.

To follow Team Ireland’s progress at the Games, or to leave a message of support, please visit www.specialolympics.ie/athens You can also download a free iphone App from the Apple iStore which will enable you to track your local athlete while on the go. Team Ireland are proudly supported by eircom.

  Team Ireland's Peter Oxley, Tyrrelspass, Co. Westmeath, who won a Bronze Medal in a 100m Backstroke Final at the OAKA Olympic Aquatic Center

 

By Special Olympics Ireland on 26/06/2011 21:35
  Team Ireland swimmer Aisling Beacom, Wicklow Town, Co. Wicklow, after winning the first medal for Team Ireland, a bronze in the 800m freestyle, with her brother Shane, who flew in from New Jersey to see the final, at the OAKA Olympic Aquatic Center, Athens Olympic Sport Complex

Wicklow woman, Aisling Beacom won a bronze medal for Ireland today, the first day of competition at the 2011 Special Olympics World Summer Games in Athens

Aisling’s prize came at the end of a gruelling 800m freestyle swim in the aquatics centre of the OAKA Stadium in Athens. She completed the race in a time of 15 minutes 46.88 seconds, setting a new personal best record. Her proud mother and coach Pam, her brother Shane – who made a surprise trip to Athens from New Jersey for the occasion and Team Ireland team mates were among the dozens of Irish supporters who were on the sideline cheering her on.

This fantastic result for Ireland comes at the end of the first day of sport at the 2011 Special Olympics World Summer Games.

Last night (Saturday) Team Ireland joined 7,000 other athletes at the spectacular Games opening ceremony which was held in the historic Kallimarmaron Panthinaikon Olympic Stadium - site of the first Olympic Games of the modern era. 

They were treated to a special live performance from the legendary Stevie Wonder who sang a number of his best known hits, among them ‘That’s what friends are for’ when he was joined on stage by his friend and long-time Special Olympics supporter Vanessa Williams. The evening reached a crescendo with the lighting of the Flame of Hope, symbolising the official start of the Games.

Team Ireland will be in action once again tomorrow. The divisioning process, whereby athletes are grouped for competition with athletes of similar ability, is still ongoing in some sports.

To follow Team Ireland’s progress at the Games or to leave a message of support, please visit www.specialolympics.ie/athens.  You can also download a free iphone App from the Apple iStore which will enable you to track your local athlete while on the go. Team Ireland are proudly supported by eircom.

 
Team Ireland swimmer Aisling Beacom, Wicklow, Co. Wicklow, is congratulated by her mother Pam after winning the first medal for Team Ireland, a bronze in the 800m freestyle, at the OAKA Olympic Aquatic Center, Athens Olympic Sport Complex.   Team Ireland swimmer Aisling Beacom, Wicklow Town, Co. Wicklow, with her team-mates, after winning the first medal for Team Ireland, a bronze in the 800m freestyle, at the OAKA Olympic Aquatic Center, Athens Olympic Sport Complex.
 

 

By Special Olympics Ireland on 26/06/2011 17:52
  Kenneth Kavanagh, Kildare Town, Co. Kildare, Ruairi O'Toole, An Spidéal, Co. Galway, Eileen Hayes, Kill, Co. Waterford, and Pearse O’Toole, Spiddal, Co. Galway 2011 Special Olympics World Summer Games, Opening Ceremony, Panathenaikon Stadium, Athens, Greece

Team Ireland enjoy performance by the legendary Stevie Wonder

The 2011 Special Olympics World Summer Games are officially underway in Athens following a spectacular opening ceremony in the historic historic Kallimarmaron Panthinaikon Olympic Stadium - site of the first Olympic Games of the modern era last night.

Over 7,000 athletes from 180 nations took part in the parade of athletes. Team Ireland received a huge welcome from the crowd as they walked into the stadium. The loudest cheer came from the 200 Irish volunteers dressed in green who jumped to their feet to applaud and cheer on their Irish sporting heroes.

The athletes, their family members and supporters were treated to an array of colourful and exciting performances, but the highlight for most people was when the legendary Stevie Wonder took to the stage to perform some of his well-known and much loved songs, among them a duet of the song ‘That’s what friends are for’ with longtime Special Olympics supporter Vanessa Williams.

Speaking at the ceremony Dr. Timothy P.Shriver, Chairman and CEO of Special Olympics said “I think we’re home”. He continued by saying “Let me extend my thanks to the people of Greece, despite all the difficulties and challenges this country is facing, Greece did not fail us and the athletes of Special Olympics will not fail Greece!”

Special Olympics World Summer Games Athens 2011 are now officially under way.  For the next 10 days, from 25 June to 4 July, more than 7,000 Special Olympics Athletes from nearly 180 countries around the world will compete in the largest international multi-sport event of the year, featuring 22 Olympic-type sports. Team Ireland, sponsored by eircom will compete in 12 different sports. To follow their progress at the Games or to leave a message of support for the athletes, please visit www.specialolympics.ie/athens
 

By Special Olympics Ireland on 20/06/2011 10:01
 

Team Ireland, sponsored by eircom, boarded a flight for Greece this morning ahead of the 2011 Special Olympics World Summer Games. The Games will take place in Athens from the 25th June to 4th July.

Team Ireland, which will be the 10th largest delegation at the Games, comprises of 126 athletes and 49 coaches. The athletes will compete in 12 different sports: Aquatics, Athletics, Badminton, Basketball, Bocce, Bowling, Equestrian, Football, Golf, Gymnastics, Kayaking and Table Tennis.

The 2011 Special Olympics World Summer Games will be one of the biggest sporting events to take place in the World this year. 7,500 athletes from 185 nations will compete at these Games which will be supported by 25,000 volunteers.

Along with the athletes and coaches, over the coming days some 400 family members from Ireland will make the trip to Athens to support their sporting heroes. In addition over 200 Irish volunteers will travel to the Games, among them 29 sports officials and technical delegates who will officiate in 11 different sports at the Games.  Ireland is the only delegation to send a team of volunteers to the Games, a fact that is particularly significant during this, the European Year of Volunteering.

Minister of State, Michael Ring TD, sent the following message to Team Ireland as they departed for the Special Olympics World Summer Games in Athens: "Being part of Team Ireland at the Special Olympics World Summer Games is being part of an extraordinary team; who together, can achieve extraordinary heights. Very few of us in life get the opportunity to represent our country on the International stage. I am certain that you will be marvellous ambassadors for Ireland in Athens, representing both your country and your sport with honour and pride. I wish every team member, coach and supporter the best of luck in Athens.”

Speaking ahead of the athletes’ departure, Matt English, CEO Special Olympics Ireland said, “This is a huge moment for these athletes and coaches and the culmination of many years and months of hard work. If the dedication they have shown to their training and preparations is any indication of how they will get on in Athens, I know that they will do us all proud!”.

John Treacy, CEO, Irish Sports Council, wished the team well: “The Irish Sports Council is proud to support the Irish team. I want to pay tribute to the athletes who always represent Ireland with great honour. I hope they all enjoy the experience in Athens”.

Chief Executive, Sport NI Eamonn McCartan also took the opportunity to send his very best wishes to the Special Olympics Ireland team.

Carolan Lennon, Chief Commercial Officer, eircom said: “First of all, I would like to wish every one of the 126 athletes the best of luck in Athens.  For those of you, who are not able to be there in person, don’t forget you can leave your message of support via the support messages campaign on facebook.  You can access this via the special Olympics Ireland site, or go directly to their facebook page at www.facebook.com/specialolympicsireland

 

By Special Olympics Ireland on 16/06/2011 08:45
 

Special Olympics Ireland are delighted to launch their first iPhone app today enabling supporters to follow Team Ireland at the 2011 Special Olympics World Summer Games. 126 athletes will represent Team Ireland in 12 different sports at the Games in Athens which will run from 25th June – 4th July. The Team will be accompanied by 49 coaches, 200 volunteers, and hundreds of family members and supporters.

The app will also provide information on the ongoing work undertaken by Special Olympics in more than 400 clubs throughout Ireland. The Special Olympics Ireland iPhone app is available to download for free from the Apple App store from today.

“The app is a fantastic communication tool for us. This is a unique app for Special Olympics globally and for the first time people will be able to follow the World Summer Games on their iPhone.” said Sahra O’Neill, Special Olympics Ireland Director of Fundraising and Marketing. “Throughout the 2011 World Games, our iPhone app will provide athletes, families, supporters and volunteers with up-to-date information on the progress of each individual member of Team Ireland on their iPhone. The app is fully integrated with Special Olympics Ireland social networks and provides live blogs, results and news from the Games, as well as information on the ongoing work of Special Olympics. We look forward to adding additional functionality and updates to the app in the near future and hope the app provides hours of use for all supporters of Team Ireland.”

 

The Special Olympics Ireland app was developed free of charge for the charity through the collective efforts of Alan Haverty (www.outlier.ie), Cian Pas (www.creamgraphics.ie) and Roland Gröpmair (www.mapps.ie). Alan, who’s brother Ian benefits hugely from his participation in Special Olympics, approached Cream Graphics with the idea of developing an iPhone app to follow the 126 members of Team Ireland at World Games, and together they brought onboard long term app developer Roland Gröpmair to assist with the build of the app. 

“We’d like to thank Alan, Cian and Roland for their enthusiasm, creativity and perseverance in making this happen for Special Olympics Ireland,” said Ms O’Neill. “It’s fantastic for us to be able to reach out and connect with people via their mobile phones, and raise awareness of the fantastic endeavours of the 126 Sporting Heroes who are representing Ireland on the world stage in Athens”.

Cian Pas, Cream Graphics, with Special Olympics athletes Clara Keogan, from Ballsbridge, left, and gymnast Laura Rumball, from Dun Laoghaire, who is a member of Team Ireland for the World Games. Gymnast Laura Rumball, from Dun Laoghaire, who is a member of Team Ireland for the World Games with the Special Olympics iPhone App Special Olympics Athletes with Alan Haverty, Roland Gröpmair, and Cian Pas at the launch of the Special Olympics Ireland iPhone App 

 

By Special Olympics Ireland on 15/06/2011 18:52
 

Ronan King was appointed as Chairperson of Special Olympics Ireland during the Board Meeting preceding the recent 2011 Special Olympics Ireland AGM.

 

Ronan will replace Mary Davis who tendered her resignation to the Board as she seeks a nomination for the Presidency. We thank Mary sincerely for her many years of excellent service and wish her the very best in her ambitious endeavours. 

Ronan has been involved in Special Olympics for many years and was a key member of the Board of the 2003 Special Olympics World Summer Games. More recently, Ronan was co-opted to the Board of Special Olympics Ireland as Treasurer. Ronan has agreed, at the request of the Board, to be “interim Chairperson” until the end of the year.
By Special Olympics Ireland on 31/05/2011 11:04
  Today FM Broadcasters Louise Duffy & Matt Cooper with Daniel O'Mahony and Stephen Byrne from Knocklyons Special Olympics Club

Today FM broadcasters Matt Cooper andLouise Duffy have signed up to run the 2011 Mid Summers 10km Run as part of Team Special Olympics. Special Olympics Eastern Region is delighted to be the official Charity Partner of the run which will take  take place on Tuesday 21st June in the beautiful surroundings of Killruddery House in Bray.  

The Mid Summers 10km Run offers runners of all levels a tough challenge while offering fabulous views of Wicklow and Dublin.  The off road trail run offers a chance to get off boring roads and enjoy the fabulous Wicklow countryside and the setting of Killruddery House will ensure a tremendous atmosphere on the evening. To find out more about the event visit: www.aliveoutside.ie  

Join Matt and Louise on Team Special Olympics and help raise much needed funds for Special Olympics Eastern Region. All participants fundraising for Special Olympics Ireland will receive a commemorative quick dry Special Olympics t-shirt. To sign-up contact Paul Ahearne on 01 869 1660 or email paul.ahearne@specialolympics.ie

 

 

By Special Olympics Ireland on 11/05/2011 19:45

On the 7th of May Special Olympics Ireland held the Men’s and Women’s National Football cup in St.Joseph’s Boy’s Football club in Sallynoggin, Co. Dublin, as part of Special Olympics European football week. The concept of European Football Week is to have one week each year where everyone in the European football community commits to doing something to expand opportunities in their game for players with intellectual disabilities.

Nine teams participated in the women’s 5 a-side cup which was played in a very fair and competitive manner. The Women’s Cup Final was a very close and tight encounter between Newry City and North West Special Olympics Club. North West SO Club gave it their all but Newry City emerged victorious as Cup Winners. The Player of the Tournament award was presented to Newry City’s Aoife Kearney.

The Plate Final saw BOC South Tipperary beat Prosper Fingal in another extremely close final. Tipperary’s Kelly Delaney won the Player of the Tournament award. The ladies division three final was won by Cabinteely United Warriors with Kerry Stars finishing runners up in a very sporting affair. The Player of the Tournament award went to Margaret O’Donoghue.

The Men's Cup and Plate finals were two brilliant show pieces for the eight competing teams. The Cup Final saw Cheeverstown defeat cup holders Donegal in a pulsating and intense final. The Man of the Tournament award for the cup was presented to Mark Duffy of Cheeverstown.

The Men's Plate Final saw Limerick Celtic emerge victorious over Stillorgan Rangers in another thrilling final. The Man of the Tournament award went to the very impressive Ciaran Chua of Stillorgan Rangers.
 

The entire event was once again a fantastic day with all the athletes playing to the best of their abilities and providing some very exciting games. Special guest on the day, Ray Houghton, was very impressed with the talent on display in both the men and women’s cup. The event also received great support from the FAI who helped out throughout the day and St. Joseph’s Boys FC. Their support was greatly appreciated by all organisers and athletes.

Thank you to all coaches, athletes and volunteers for making the event such a fantastic day.

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