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  • Southside

Southside golfers get some top advice before teeing off

Sunday, 24th February, 2019 1:00pm
Southside golfers get some top advice before teeing off

Irish golf legend captain Padraig Harrington meets the Team Ireland golfers at the Portmarnock Links Hotel in Portmarnock.

Southside golfers get some top advice before teeing off

Irish golf legend captain Padraig Harrington meets the Team Ireland golfers at the Portmarnock Links Hotel in Portmarnock.

FOUR Southside golfers received the opportunity of a lifetime recently when they met with Irish golf champion, Padraig Harrington, as they prepared to tee off in Abu Dhabi for the 2019 Special Olympics World Summer Games.

Visiting the Portmarnock Links Hotel for the occasion were Mark Claffey (29) from Blackrock; John Keating (26) from Templeogue; Andrew Simmington (30) from Dalkey and playing partner, Phyl Kelleher (80) from Rathfarnham. 

In a moment that every golfer would wish for, the Irish golfing legend offered some words of wisdom to the team, who are in the final stages of preparation for their unforgettable trip to Abu Dhabi in March.

Wishing the golfers luck, he also took the time to sign the golf balls that Team Ireland will use in the World Games.

There are high hopes for the team, not least due to the soaring interest in golf as a result of the continuing success of Irish golfers on the world stage. Irish golfer Shane Lowry recently won the championship in Abu Dhabi, setting the bar for success for Team Ireland.

The Southsiders are part of a 91-strong Team Ireland squad that will compete on the world stage at the Games. Taking place between March 14 and 21 , Abu Dhabi 2019 will be the largest sporting and humanitarian event in the world this year.

Supported by a volunteer management team of almost 40, Team Ireland will join 7,000 Special Olympics athletes from 170 countries at the Games. 

Padraig Harrington, a long-time supporter and worldwide ambassador of Special Olympics, said Irish golfers are now rated as some of the best in the world.

“This March, all eyes will be on Abu Dhabi when our inspirational Team Ireland athletes will be teeing off to achieve personal bests on a world class golf course,” Padraig said.

“To represent Ireland is a phenomenal achievement and I would like to wish all of the athletes the very best of luck at the World Games.” 

Special Olympics Ireland is first and foremost a sports organisation and charity that supports children and adults with intellectual disabilities.

As the World Games gets closer, Special Olympics Ireland is calling on the business community and individuals to help them raise much-needed funds to send the athletes to Abu Dhabi. To cover the cost of sending Team Ireland to the Games, Special Olympics needs to raise a total of €455,000 (€5,000 per athlete). 

Matt English, CEO Special Olympics Ireland, said: “2019 is shaping up to be a huge year for our athletes, having worked so hard over the past three years to qualify for these Games. Meeting Padraig Harrington and hearing his words of support was a huge boost to our athletes as they prepare to compete on the world stage. 

“As the build up to the Games continues, we still have a funding gap to bridge.

“The support we receive from our partners at eir and Gala Retail Services is invaluable. I urge companies large and small to come forward to show their support for Team Ireland by visiting and getting involved in our Support an Athlete campaign. The Irish community has been so generous towards us and we are calling on you again to play your part and help make the dreams of our athletes come true.”

To keep up to date with Team Ireland’s preparations for the Special Olympics World Summer Games in Abu Dhabi, follow Special Olympics Ireland on Twitter @SOIreland and Facebook, and follow the hashtag, #TeamIreland.

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