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  • Southside

Southsider joins the ‘Wheels in Green’ team

Thursday, 9th August, 2018 1:00pm
Southsider joins the ‘Wheels in Green’ team

Dermot Griffin of the National Lottery with Ciara Staunton and John McCarthy.

Southsider joins the ‘Wheels in Green’ team

Dermot Griffin of the National Lottery with Ciara Staunton and John McCarthy.

A SOUTHSIDE man is representing Ireland in the World Wheelchair Rugby Championships this week.

John McCarthy, from Dun Laoghaire, is joining fellow Dub, and Gaelic Warrior, Stephen Aylmer from Marino, at the championships in Sydney, Australia.

This year is the first time an Irish team is competing at the event.

The Irish Wheelchair Rugby team, the so-called ‘Wheels In Green’ took part in its first ever Wheelchair Rugby World Championship qualifying tournament in Nottwil, Switzerland, in April.

The team went on to win all of their matches, defeating New Zealand for the first time to complete a clean sweep of victories.

The world’s top 12 teams are now playing to take home the world title.

Wheelchair rugby, a Paralympic sport, was first introduced to Ireland in 1997. Since then, IWA-Sport, as the national governing body for wheelchair rugby in Ireland, has supported Irish players and clubs, to grow the sport from grass-root level to compete and perform at the highest international level.

The team, which has been able to buy much needed sports equipment over the years thanks to National Lottery Good Causes funding, is now in Sydney where their opening match took place against Japan.

According to John McCarthy, one of Ireland’s most experienced wheelchair rugby players, the team was very reliant on fund raising to cover the costs of the trip.

“We did everything from sponsored cycles, table quizzes and bucket collections to raise money,” he said.

According to John, wheelchair rugby has played a huge part in his life since he became disabled after an accident at the age of 18.

“Being able to play this sport gave me a new lease of life,” he said.

“It has been a hugely important outlet and has helped me cope with my disability.

John says wheelchair rugby is good for both the body and the mind.

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