Extreme Temperature Doesn’t Deter Team Ireland

written by Sarah May,
23 August 2012

Day six of the 7th European Tranplant & Dialysis Games and temperatures reaching extreme heights, yet Ireland still securing huge medal haul.Transplant  Team Ireland consists of 26 members, 17men and 9women ranging in ages from 18 to 74.Today is their sixth day competing at the Games in Zagreb, Croatia and still, the Team are going strong securing today alone a staggering 14medals.

Today saw victories for Ireland at both the track and field and the petanque events. Petanque kicked off at 8 am with many members of Team Ireland competing. Five medals were secured in the singles petanque events.

James Reynolds of Tallaght competed in the 18-29 category James is a kidney transplant recipient(2009).  James achieved success despite stiff competition bagging bronze in his category. He spoke about the competition and of his delight at scooping a medal; “Today I have beaten two competitors that have beaten me in previous years at the European and World Games thus I’m delight with that achievement. I won Bronze in Dublin at the European Games in 2010 and wanted to defend this title, also I wanted to win a medal to bring back to Tallaght and I’m delighted I succeeded In doing  that.”

Monica Finn also achieved great success securing gold in her category. Monica is a kidney transplant recipient from Roscommon and is no stranger to
the Transplant Games. She was thrilled with her success. After tough competition in high heats she commented; ” It was a very tough match and the heat was terrible. I’m absolutely delighted I won. It  was one of the toughest matches I have every played. I’m so glad to have kicked ass.” Monica had to compete against fellow team member and friend Catherine  Murphy to  secure her Gold. Both ladies played a fantastic game but Monica achieved a slight edge receiving Gold while Catherine secured Bronze.

Doubles Petanque teams also played some fantastic games today. Doubles team of Team Captain Harry Ward and Lucan man Owen Kelleher played up a storm securing Bronze. Harry today discussed his delight and wants to wish  family friends well on their upcoming wedding; “I’m extremely happy to have done so well.Good luck to Ned and Janette getting married on the 25th, sorry I can’t be there.” Also putting in a fantatic performance at the doubles petanque was the teams of Charlie Ryan and Paul Prendergast, Catherine Murphy and Bridie Nicholson, and Monica Finn and Linda Waters.

Petanque doubles team Bridie Nicholson and Catherine Murphy secured Silver in their category. Both ladies were elated with their success after a difficult day of competition. Bridie commented “Since I started in the Games the competition has gotten extremely tough. I’m delighted today to win a medal to bring home to Ireland. I’ve made so many friends here over the past few years and its nice to catch up with them. Team Ireland has a great spirit and camaraderie, we are all like one big family.”

Meanwhile at the track Team Ireland blew other teams out of water bagging a total of  nine medals. Eighteen year old Megan Fahy is a kidney transplant recipient from Tonnaphubble, Co.Sligo. Megan secured Bronze in the 100metre sprint and Silver in the ball throw. Megan was elated at her success and today stated;”I was so thrilled to get Bronze in the 100metre today. I had some tough competition. It was very tough especially in the heat. I plan to relax this evening and rest up for tomorrow.”

Laois man Robbie Lyons also competing in the 18-29 category made some speedy victories today securing an overall Bronze in the 400m race, Silver in the 100metre long jump and Silver in the 100m sprint. Robbie was delighted with the win and is pumped for his next competition; “I’m absolutely delighted. I’m chuffed with the victories. Now I’m exhausted but looking forward to the next competition.

Track and field medals were also secured today by John Loftus , James Nolan and Mike Keohane. John the ‘bullet’ Loftus continued his title as undefeated Champion of the 100m sprint today which he has maintained for the past ten years, when he secured a Gold medal. John was delighted to live up to his name and continue his title. John stated ; “It was great to keep the title going. I do this because of the important message that is transplantation. I do this for my donor, I owe this to the person who gave me the gift of life. I love the team they’re like a family. We are all here through circumstance and as a result we have a unique bond. Thanks to my family, friends and my wife Trish for all the support I’ve received.”

James Nolan of Kilcullen secured Silver in his category the 400metre race. Despite soaring temperatures in the mid fourties James put on a magnificent ,speedy performance. Mike Keohane a liver transplant recipient from Cork also achieved success bagging Gold in the 5km walk and Bronze in the Shot Putt.

The Irish Kidney Association is responsible for managing Transplant Team Ireland’s participation in the games. To get an organ donor card Freetext DONOR to 50050 or visit website http://www.ika.ie It is now possible to download an organ donor card on smartphones by searching for ‘Donor Ecard’ at the iphone store or android market place.

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