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  • Southside

Locals join Special Olympics team

Sunday, 3rd February, 2019 1:00pm
Locals join Special Olympics team

Local athletes and coaches are pictured at the Special Olympics Ireland official launch for Team Ireland for the 2019 World Summer Games at the Carlton Hotel Tyrelstown in Dublin.

Locals join Special Olympics team

Local athletes and coaches are pictured at the Special Olympics Ireland official launch for Team Ireland for the 2019 World Summer Games at the Carlton Hotel Tyrelstown in Dublin.

SEVERAL Southside athletes who are competing for Team Ireland will be taking their place at the 2019 Special Olympics World Games in Abu Dhabi in March.

A total of 26 Dublin athletes will travel as part of a 91-strong Team Ireland squad as they represent their country at the highest level of sporting competition for Special Olympics athletes.

The road to Abu Dhabi started four years ago and last week, the final preparations began in earnest for Special Olympics athletes across the country, with the official launch of Team Ireland for the 2019 World Games.

Taking place between March 14-21 March, Abu Dhabi 2019 will be the largest sporting and humanitarian event in the world this year. Supported by a volunteer management team of 39, Team Ireland will join 7,000 Special Olympics athletes from 170 countries at the Games. 

The Southside athletes who will represent Team Ireland include those on the men’s basketball team such as Oisin Gilmartin (22) from Palmerstown, Jamie Ennis (21) from Clondalkin, Thomas Coyle (23), Geoffrey Curley (30) and Sean Winder (27) all from Tallaght, and Stephen Murphy (26) from Lucan.

In gymnastics, Dublin athletes Eimear Gannon (22) from Templeogue and Rachel Murray (22) from Rathfarnham will compete in rhythmic gymnastics, while Laura Rumball (22) from Dun Laoghaire will compete in artistic gymnastics.

Golfers John Keating (26) from Templeogue, Mark Claffey (29) from Blackrock and Andrew Simington (30) from Dalkey will be joining playing partner, Phyl Kelleher (79) from Rathfarnham, as they all take to the green in Abu Dhabi for Team Ireland.

In athletics, Alan Power from Knocklyon, who has just turned 50, will compete in his first World Games, alongside Conor Meade (27) from Stillorgan.

Footballers Daniel Byrne (19) from Lucan, Patrick Furlong (19) from Ballyfermot and Omer Teko (25) from Walkinstown will compete as part of the Team Ireland 7-a side squad.

Sally Duffy (42) from Tallaght, will compete in Equestrian events while Fiodhna O'Leary (25) from Foxrock will compete in Table Tennis. 

Michael Hardiman (29) from Tallaght will compete in Tenpin Bowling.

Supporters and sponsors caught up with the athletes for the official launch of the squad in Dublin, ahead of their last residential Team Ireland training session over lat weekend. The 91 athletes travelled to Dublin to train together to ensure that they are ready to take on their big-gest sporting challenge yet. 

Emma McMenamin, Head of Delegation for Team Ireland added: “These athletes are extremely focused and determined and like any athlete facing into a major competition, they are putting 100 per cent into their training.

“It was great to see how excited the athletes are to be part of this huge event. To represent Team Ireland and compete on the world stage in Abu Dhabi is a big honour and one these Special Olympics athletes are not taking lightly.”

Ahead of the official launch, President Michael D Higgins sent a message of support to the Team Ireland athletes.

He said: “Being chosen to represent your country on the international stage is a great honour indeed.

“It is a tribute, not only to your great talent as athletes, but also to your dedication, hard work and perseverance; qualities which make you inspirational role models and admirable ambassadors for Ireland.”

Read the digital editions of the Dublin People Northside East, Northside West & Southside here