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Special Olympics Ireland News
By Special Olympics Ireland on 29/09/2011 10:19
Team Ireland were celebrated at a special reception hosted by President Mary McAleese and Dr. Martin McAleese  

30 members of Team Ireland who competed at the 2011 Special Olympics World Summer Games in Athens were celebrated at a special reception hosted by President Mary McAleese and Dr. Martin McAleese today.

President McAleese invited the athletes and their coaches to Áras an Uachtaráin to personally congratulate them on their wonderful achievements at the Games in June and for representing us all so well on the international sporting stage.

Addressing the assembled gathering of athletes and coaches President McAleese said “To get to the World Summer Games is itself a brilliant achievement and experience and I hope you all really enjoyed every minute of it, but of course it was no holiday and the months of training and preparation before hand took a lot of effort and organisation. So well done to you and to all the people who keep Special Olympics going at home all year round so that people can know the fun and fulfilment of taking part in sports, making friends, winning and losing, getting fit, getting really good at your sport and getting so good that you are chosen to represent your country”.

Matt English, CEO Special Olympics Ireland said “Being invited to Áras an Uachtaráin as guests of President McAleese is a great honour for our athletes and coaches. The group here today represents not only the 126 athletes who competed at the World Games but also the 11,000 athletes who participate in the Special Olympics programme of sports training and competition throughout the island of Ireland every week. On behalf of everyone involved in Special Olympics Ireland I would like to extend my gratitude to President McAleese for her unwavering support during the course of her Presidency”.

Team Ireland, which comprised of 126 athletes and a management team of 49, had an outstanding performance at the 2011 Special Olympics World Summer Games, recording a number of personal best records and winning a total of 107 Medals (31 Gold, 44 Silver and 32 Bronze) as well as dozens of place ribbons in 12 sports: Aquatics, Athletics, Badminton, Basketball, Bocce, Bowling, Equestrian, Football (5 aside Male; 5 aside Female & 11 aside Male), Golf, Gymnastics, Kayaking and Table-Tennis.

By Special Olympics Ireland on 26/09/2011 13:53
 

Pictured are Celebrity Cook and Food Blogger Donal Skeehan with Special Olympics athlete Sarah Boyne, Joy Moore of Dolly's Donuts and Deputy Commissioner of An Garda Siochana Nacie Rice  at the Cops on Donut Shops Fundraiser for Special Olympics Ireland

Members of An Garda Síochana were held hostage on the roof of a specially constructed donut shop on Dublin’s Henry Street on Saturday to raise funds for Special Olympics Ireland.

Celebrity Cook and food blogger Donal Skehan joined the hundreds of people who queued up to support the initiative on the day. The ‘Cops on Donut Shops’ initiative originated in the United States, and its purpose is to raise funds and awareness for Special Olympics.

The specially constructed shop and Dolly’s Donuts were produced by Oldtown Hill Bakehouse in Tullaroan, Co. Kilkenny and the proceeds from the sale of the donuts went to support Special Olympics Ireland.

Speaking at the event Gary Gordon said, "The Cops on Donut Shops, Ireland version first took place in Kilkenny City on the 23rd of December 2010, when members of the Kilkenny Community Policing Unit sold Dolly's Donuts to raise funds for Special Olympics Leinster. It's great to move the event to Dublin, having previously held the event in Carlow in April of this year. Now the "Sam Maguire" is home, we were delighted to work with the Gardaí at Store Street”.

Damian O’Hara said “Store St Community Gardaí were delighted to join "forces" with Kilkenny Community Gardaí for a great cause to raise much needed finances for Special Olympics and would like to thank all who supported us on the day”.

Joy Moore from Oldtown Hill Bakehouse said "Dolly’s donuts are very excited to be affiliated with Special Olympics Ireland and look forward to building on the fundraising success of the weekend. We had great fun while supporting our Special Olympics sporting heroes. Thanks to everyone”.    

Paul Ahearne, Fundraising Coordinator with Special Olympics Ireland said “This has been a fantastic day and on behalf of Special Olympics Ireland I would like to extend my sincere gratitude to An Garda Síochana, Joy Moore of Oldtown Hill Bakehouse, Donal Skehan and all those who purchased donuts for their support”.

Saturday, September 24th was a symbolic date in the Special Olympics calendar marking Eunice Kennedy Shriver Day – a day of celebration in Special Olympics as we remember the life and achievements of Eunice Kennedy Shriver, the founder of Special Olympics.

By Special Olympics Ireland on 19/09/2011 14:56
 

Croke Park will play host to a very special day of sport on Saturday 8th October 2011. The day will celebrate 125 years of GAA at CIE.  GAA started at CIE with the founding of the Henry Grattan Gaelic Football Club, which was founded by railway workers at the ‘Inchicore Works’ in 1886.  Today GAA continues in CIE through the Transport Gaels GAA Club

To mark this significant milestone the G. A. A. has given Transport Gaels G. A. A. club permission to play football, hurling and camogie matches in Croke Park on Saturday 8th October 2011.

The matches will feature a number of former Gaelic Greats including Donegal footballer Martin McHugh who will manage a media selection who have agreed to play a Jimmy Deenihan T. D. all party Dail selection.

This could be a last time to see some of the greats of GAA grace the hallowed turf at Croke Park. In addition all gate receipts on the day will go to support Special Olympics Ireland and The Alzheimers Society of Ireland.
 
Paul Ahearne, Fundraising Coordinator with Special Olympics Ireland said “We are delighted to be associated with the up-coming celebration of 125 years of G.A.A. within C.I.E. As well as being a hugely significant year for GAA at CIE, this year is also significant for Special Olympics Ireland as 126 of our athletes represented our country at the 2011 Special Olympics World Summer Games in Athens in June, coming home with an amazing 107 medals between them."

"It is fitting that we are to benefit from the planned events on the 8th October as Croke Park is the home of the biggest single event in the history of Special Olympics in Ireland – the Opening Ceremony of the 2003 Special Olympics World Summer Games.  We would like to take this opportunity to wish CIE / Transport Gaels and all the match participants all the very best of luck on the day and here’s to the next 125 years

Tickets are priced at €10 for an adult and €5 for a minor and are available on www.gaa.ie
 

By Special Olympics Ireland on 25/07/2011 15:08
Three time Golf Major Champion and Global Ambassador for Special Olympics, Padraig Harrington will Wear the Laces for Special Olympics in his bid to recapture the Irish Open Championship at the Killarney Golf & Fishing Club from July 28th to July 31st. Harrington joined Special Olympics Ireland golfers Laura Kelly and Stephen Deignan who represented Team Ireland during the recent Special Olympics World Games in Athens, at Dun Laoghaire Golf Club, Dublin to make the announcement.
By Special Olympics Ireland on 05/07/2011 17:46
  Team Ireland athlete Michael Hardiman is welcomed home from the 2011 Special Olympics World Summer Games by his family

Team Ireland received a rapturous welcome from hundreds of family members, friends and supporters who gathered in Dublin Airport this afternoon to applaud them, following their outstanding performances at the 2011 Special Olympics World Summer Games.

The 126 Athletes and their 49 coaches entered the arrivals hall to a deafening sound of cheers and applause. They were greeted by family members and friends with tears of joy and hugs. 

 

Team Ireland, which is sponsored by eircom, had an outstanding performance at the 2011 Special Olympics World Summer Games, recording a number of personal best records and winning a total of 107 Medals and dozens of place ribbons in 12 sports: Aquatics, Athletics, Badminton, Basketball, Bocce, Bowling, Equestrian, Football (5 aside Male; 5 aside Female & 11 aside Male), Golf, Gymnastics, Kayaking and Table-Tennis. 

The 2011 Special Olympics World Summer Games ran from the 25th June – 4th July in Athens, Greece. It was the biggest sporting event to take place in the World this summer with 7,500 athletes from 185 nations competing. The Games were supported by 25,000 volunteers, 200 of whom were from Ireland. 

Speaking about Team Ireland’s performance at the Games, Minister of State Michael Ring TD said: “Representing your country at the Special Olympics World Summer Games is a tremendous honour for all the athletes and their families, coaches and supporters.  You have all been the most wonderful ambassadors for your country, in every possible way, and we are very proud of you all."  

Minister Ring went on to say: “I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate Special Olympics Ireland and everybody else involved in the athletes' preparations for, and participation at, the Games and I wish you all well for the future.” 

John Treacy, CEO, Irish Sports Council said “I would like to convey my best wishes and congratulations to Team Ireland as they return home from the Summer Games. The athletes performed magnificently throughout the Games and not only did themselves, their family and friends proud but also their country.  On behalf of the Irish Sports Council I would like to thank all the coaches, parents and volunteers for helping make the Special Olympics Summer Games in Athens another memorable occasion for Irish sport”

Chief Executive,Sport NI Eamonn McCartan said "Sport Northern Ireland wishes to extend congratulations to the Irish Special Olympics team as they return from the World Summer Games in Athens. Sport Northern Ireland is committed to encouraging increased participation at every level.  This is a remarkable achievement and Sport Northern Ireland offers congratulations to each and every individual involved in the preparation of the team as well as each athlete who took part.”

Matt English, CEO Special Olympics Ireland paid tribute to the athletes and their coaches saying “So much work goes into preparing a team for competition on the World sporting stage. Team Ireland put a huge amount of effort into their training schedule in advance of these Games and they certainly reaped the rewards in Athens. So many of our athletes recorded personal best performances as well as medal wins and we are equally proud of all of our athletes regardless of whether they return home with medals or not. The overall results of the Team are testament to the hard work and dedication of both the athletes and their coaches. I applaud each and every member of Team Ireland and congratulate them on their outstanding sporting achievements”.

Carolan Lennon, Chief Commercial Officer, eircom (Premier sponsors of Team Ireland) said "Congratulations to all the 126 athletes - you have all been marvellous. It's great to see all your hard work and preparation pay off.  You have played a blinder for Ireland again at the World Games and done us all proud. Have a great home coming and enjoy the celebrations".

By Special Olympics Ireland on 03/07/2011 16:21
  Team Ireland Bocce Team celebrating with their medals on the final day of competition at the 2011 Special Olympics World Summer Games 

There were smiles all round for Team Ireland today – the final day of competition in the 2011 Special Olympics World Summer Games in Athens.

In bowling the Men’s team, made up ofMichael Hardiman from Tallaght, Dublin, Jonathon Griffin from Ballinasloe, Co. Galway, Paul Bridgman from Cobh, Co. Cork and Ciaran Mallon from Meigh, Co. Down showed they had the Midas touch by winning gold in their competition.

In table tennis Mary O’ Brien from Duncormick, Co. Wexford and Carole Catling from Newtownabbey, Co. Antrim won gold in the women’s doubles event, beating their German opponents 2 – 0. The three Irish mixed teams took 4th place in their events (Ann-Marie Talbot from Wexford and William Naughton from Limerick; Paul Kavanagh from Mayo and Mary O’ Brien from Wexford; and Robert Deegan from Dublin and Carole Catling from Antrim).

It was another great day for the gymnastics team with Belfast woman, Una McGarry winning one gold, one silver and three Bronze medals for her Rhythmic Gymnastics routine.

In bocce, Mary Kirby from Newcastle West and Lisa Maher from Waterfall in Cork won bronze in their doubles event.

In equestrian, Pamela Collins from Kanturk, Co. Cork and John Loughnane from Ahascragh won silver in the team relay.

In badminton the mixed doubles team of Adrian Cornwall from Boyle, Co. Sligo and Bernadette Kennedy from Gorey, Co. Wexford took silver while team-mates Jonathon Deering and Jacqueline Gault from Newtownabbey, Co. Antrim won bronze. Jacqueline Gault and Bernadette Kennedy won bronze in the women’s doubles event and in the men’s doubles Adrian Cornwall  and Jonathon Deering  won bronze

In aquatics, Lorraine O’Halloran from Palmerstown in Dublin won silver. The 4x50m team (Fergal Gregory from Armagh, Joseph Cullen from Sligo, Lorraine O’ Halloran from Dublin and Peter Oxley from Westmeath) came in 5th position recording a personal best time of 3.17. The 4x25m freestyle team (Diarmuid O’ Flynn from Kilkenny, Rowan Gill from Cork, Mary Gavin from Dublin and Caitriona Kearney from Carlow came 7th. 

In athletics Rachel Ryan from Templemore, Co. Tipperary won bronze in the 200m event while Edward Kennedy from Julianstown, Co. Meath came 6th in the 100m competition, Gary O’ Brien from Portmarnock in Dublin came 7th in the same event and Timothy Morahan from Dublin came in 8th place in the Long Jump. 

Team Ireland’s medal Tally from today stands at 15: 3 Gold, 4 Silver and 8 Bronze (*). The compete tally of the Team’s performance at the Games will be known tomorrow.

The closing ceremony tomorrow evening will officially mark the end of the Games. Special Olympics athlete Diarmuid O’ Leary from Cork and Basketball Coach Michael Lynch from Roscommon will represent Team Ireland in the parade. Team Ireland will return to a heroes welcome in Dublin Airport at approx 12.30 on Tuesday afternoon.

By Special Olympics Ireland on 02/07/2011 16:16
  Team Ireland's Timothy Morahan, celebrates running the final leg of the 4 x 100m relay and winning the team Silver Medal at the OAKA Olympic Stadium, Athens Olympic Sport Complex.

It was another action packed day for Team Ireland at the 2011 Special Olympics World Summer Games in Athens with competition in eleven different sports.

It was a big day on the athletics front with John McKiernan from Bawnboy, Co. Cavan picking up a gold medal in the men’s 100m walk and Amy Quinn from Bray, Co. Wicklow winning bronze in the 100m walk. There was a medal win also for the 4x100m relay team - Ciara O’ Loughlin from Inagh, Co. Clare, Eileen O’ Loughlin from Rathangan, Co. Kildare, Martin Mahood from Bangor, Co. Down and Timothy Morahan from Dublin, who led the team to their silver medal win in what can only can be described as a blistering finish.

Ireland’s 11aside football team took on Great Britain in a closely contested match between two very skilful teams. The end result 1-1 meant that Ireland won a silver medal. Adrian Clarke from Lifford, Co. Donegal scored the all important goal for the Irish team. The men’s 5-A-side final proved to be a heart-stopping affair between Ireland and Cyprus. Ireland took gold after the game went into extra time, penalties and then sudden death. 

In the women’s basketball final Ireland took on Greece. Ireland won silver in this closely contested final. 

In aquatics, Sandra Corr from Coolock in Dublin won silver in the 25m freestyle event while Ciara Trait from Kilkenny finished her day off with a bronze medal for her efforts. In equestrian John Loughnane from Ahascragh, Co. Galway won gold and Pamela Collins from Kanturk, Co. Cork won bronze. 

In badminton, Adrian Cornwall from Boyle, Co. Sligo won gold while in bowling the women’s team secured a silver medal for their efforts (Deirdre Gannon from Westport, Co. Mayo, Deirdre Garvin from Claremorris, Co. Mayo, Joyce Haughian from Newry, Co. Down and Mary Quigley from Tullow, Co. Carlow). 

In Kayaking Galway man Ruairi O’ Toole won gold in the 200m while team mates Teresa Maguire from Portarlington, Co. Laois and Shaun Bradley from Letterkenny, Co. Donegal took silver. Celine Mulready from Dublin secured a bronze in her event.

In table tennis Robert Deegan from Ballinteer won bronze, Anne-Marie Talbot from Enniscorthy, Co. Wexford won gold and Carole Catling won silver. 

Team Ireland’s medal tally currently stands at 87 – 27 Gold, 40 Silver and 20 bronze.(*)

Team Ireland will be in action once again tomorrow in what will be one of the final days of competition. The closing ceremony on Monday evening will officially mark the end of the Games. Team Ireland will return to a heroes welcome in Dublin Airport early on Tuesday afternoon.

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 01/07/2011 20:06
  Bocce Medal Winners Simon Darragh (gold), Oliver Magee (gold), & Conor Ryan (bronze)

Team Ireland was celebrating again today after another day of medal wins, personal best records and great sporting achievements in Athens.

In what was a fantastic day for the bocce team all three mens’ singles events resulted in medals for Ireland. Simon Darragh from Celbridge in Kildare and Oliver Magee from Lisburn, Co. Antrim won a gold medal each for their efforts while Kilkenny man Conor Ryan secured a bronze.

In the singles bowling event, Joyce Haughian from Newry and Mary Quigley from Tullow, Co. Carlow won gold in their divisions while Paul Bridgman from Cobh, Co. Cork won silver. Jonathon Griffin from Ballinasloe, Co. Galway came fourth in his event while Mayo woman Deirdre Garvin came seventh.

In equestrian, Steven Yetman from Donaghadee, Co. Down won silver in the working trials event while Sally Duffy from Tallaght in Dublin won gold.

The women’s 5-aside team secured bronze in their match against Italy winning by a margin of 4 – 0.

There were plenty of celebrations for the golf team also with Patrick Donnelly from Dungannon, Co. Tyrone winning gold. Fellow team mates Michael O’Leary from Killarney, Co. Kerry, Laura Kelly from Oldcastle, Co. Meath and Denise Flattery from Castlegar, Co. Galway won silver. Gary Fleming from Monkstown, Co. Cork won bronze and Stephen Deignan came in fifth place.

In basketball the Irish women’s team overcame Italy by 24 – 16. 

In athletics there was a silver medal win for Martin Mahood from Bangor, Co. Down in the 800m event and Rachel Ryan from Templemore, Co. Tipperary won bronze in the 100m women’s event.

In singles badminton there were bronze medal wins for Jacqueline Gault from Newtownabbey, Co. Antrim and Bernadette Kennedy, from Wexford. 

In kayaking Galway man Ruairi O’ Toole took silver in the 500m event while Teresa Maguire from Portarlington, Co. Laois won bronze in the 500m competition. Shaun Bradley from Letterkenny, Co. Donegal and Celine Mulready from Dublin came fourth in their 500m events.

Wicklow woman Aisling Beacom took silver in the first Open Water Swim event to take place at a World Games, swimming a distance of 1.5 km in 35 minutes. Also in aquatics Ciara Trait  from Kilkenny won gold in the 25m freestyle event while Joseph Cullen won gold in the 100m Individual Medley.

The current medal tally for Team Ireland stands at 67: (20 Gold; 32 Silver and 15 bronze medals).

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 30/06/2011 17:08
  Twelve year old Fergal Gregory, celebrates with Aquatics Coaches, Christine O’Halloran, Frank Vahey, and Jennifer Hughes

Another day of competition at the 2011 Special Olympics World Summer Games in Athens and Team Ireland’s winning streak continues with ten medal wins.

There were some fantastic performances in athletics track and field with our athletes securing five medals between them. Martin Mahood from Bangor, Co. Down won silver in the men’s shot put competition.Amy Quinn from Bray, Co. Wicklow also won silver in the women’s softball throw event. Ciara O’ Loughlin from Inagh, Co. Clare won silver in the women’s shot put competition. Eileen O’Loughlin came 4th in the shot put event. John McKiernan from Bawnboy, Co. Cavan won bronze in the softball throw while Gary O’ Brien shot out of the blocks to secure a silver in the men’s 400m event, a personal best for the man from Portmarnock, Co. Dublin.

In equestrian, Conor MacGearailt from Athy, Co. Kildare was the only Irish athlete competing today winning a bronze in the English Equitation event.

In bocce five of our athletes were in action today. Mary Kirby came fifth in the ladies singles event while Lisa Maher won a bronze medal and Mary McDermott won a silver.

In aquatics Caitriona Kearney from Bagnelstown, Co. Carlow came fourth in the 50m backstroke, while Diarmuid O’ Flynn from Kilkenny finished 5th in the men’s 50m backstroke event. The youngest athlete on Team Ireland, Fergal Gregory from Crossmaglen, Co. Armagh was in action in the 25m butterfly where he won a gold medal.

Ciaran Mallon from Newry, Co. Down won a gold in bowling – his second of the Games. Meanwhile Michael Hardiman from Tallaght, Co. Dublin came 4th in the singles event and Deirdre Gannon from Westport, Co. Mayo came sixth in her competition.

The women’s basketball team had a convincing win over their French counterparts in a game that finished with a score line of 17 – 3.

In football, the men’s 11aside team played their hearts out in a hugely exciting Game against Australia. Belfast man Kenny Irvine scored 2 goals which were matched by Australia. It was down to Michael Neville from Sixmilebridge, Co. Clare to secure the win for the team with a superb goal in the final minute. The Team will face Great Britain on Saturday in a much anticipated match. Both the men’s and women’s 5-aside teams were in action today. The men overcame East Timor by two goals to nil, while the women’s team were just pipped by the host nation Greece.

Today was the first day of competition for our golfers who had an early start on Glyfada Golf Course. They’ll be back there tomorrow for day two.

The current medal tally for Team Ireland stands at 44: (12 Gold; 24 Silver and 8 bronze medals).

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 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.

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