Our team prepares for Poland…

On Sunday July 6th our squad for this year’s European Transplant & Dialysis Sports Championships received their team kit at a session in the ALSAA Sports Complex. Our guest speaker on the day was Dublin Senior Football Manager, Jim Gavin. His talk was inspiring and he was wonderfully generous with his time. A big thank you to team member, James Nolan, for all his work in arranging for Jim to attend.

Click on the image below to see photos from the day:


Below is the press release that was issued on the day…

PRESS RELEASE                                                                      6th July, 2014             

 Former Ireland sports stars join Irish Team for 8th European Transplant & Dialysis Sports Championships in Poland

 Showcasing the importance of organ donation, 34 athletes will represent Ireland at the 8th European Transplant & Dialysis Sports Championships in Krakow, Poland next month (16th – 23rd August). Members of Transplant Team Ireland, which includes three former national and international mainstream sports stars, travelled from the four corners of Ireland to a photo-call and motivational talk by Dublin Senior Football Manager Jim Gavin which was held at ALSAA Sports Complex, Dublin airport on Sunday 6th July, 11.30am.

The Irish Team, which comprises 25 men and 9 women ranging in age from 16 to 76, includes 29 transplant recipients (5 Liver, 22 Kidney, 1 combined Kidney/Pancreas, 1 Bone Marrow) as well as 5 people who are receiving dialysis treatment.

In a previous role with the Air Corps Dublin Senior Football Manager, Jim Gavin flew many missions involving the retrieval of organs and the movement of patients for transplant operations. Delivering a motivational talk to the team Mr. Gavin said, “I feel humbled and privileged to be in the presence of such a large group of inspirational people. You have all experienced huge health challenges with uncertain outcomes. However, your resilience and determination to embrace life through sport is commendable and seeing you represent your country surely gives comfort to donor families as well as promoting to the public the indisputable importance and success of organ donation. Your participation in sport as a team shows solidarity in your conviction that organ donation works and that sport benefits mind and body and unites people.”

At the team gathering, Team Manager, Colin White, said, “This year sees our largest ever travelling team for a European Championships including ten newcomers. I have great admiration for the motivation shown by all of our team members in preparation for our trip to Poland. Not only have they been training hard for their respective competitions, they also pay the majority of the costs involved. As well as personal goals, our athletes are very much driven by a passion to showcase the importance and success of organ donation and transplantation.”

“We are delighted to welcome two former international sports stars on to our team including former Garryowen, Munster and Ireland rugby player Richard Costello who received a kidney transplant in 2012 as well as Mary Sheehan who in the 1980s represented Ireland for several years in Table-tennis. Another accomplished sportsman joining our team is bone marrow transplant recipient Sean Marshall who, prior to being diagnosed with cancer in 2009, was ranked Ireland’s No.1 Darts ace. Just yesterday, Sean, who is embracing life since his transplant from his donor brother Paudie, took part in the Ring of Kerry Cycle.”

Team Manager Colin White, a Councillor on the World Transplant Games Federation recalled, “In 2007 our squad returned from the World Transplant Games in Thailand to an invitation to meet then President, Mary McAleese. When addressing the team she captured the power of transplant and dialysis sports to send out strong messages to so many different people. She spoke of the affirmation donor families would feel when reading of the achievements of the team, the encouragement that people newly diagnosed with organ failure would draw from the example being shown by team members and the inspiration that the general public would take on realising that we each have the potential to transform lives if we say yes to organ donation and discuss our wishes with family.”

The 8th European Transplant & Dialysis Games will be held in Krakow, Poland from 16th – 23rd August and will involve close to 500 participants from 30 countries throughout Europe. Every athlete at the Games will either have already received a kidney, liver, heart, lung, pancreas or bone marrow transplant or are on dialysis.

Team Captain Harry Ward from Baldoyle, Dublin has represented Ireland at numerous international Games events both as a dialysis patient and in more recent years as a transplant recipient thanks to his kidney transplant which he received in 2007. Oldest member of the team John McAleer from Antrim, who took part in the European Games two years ago as a dialysis patient, is now looking forward to representing Ireland as a transplant recipient thanks to being called off a golf course for his kidney transplant last year.

Also travelling with the team will be Team Medical Director, Dr. Yvonne Ryan, a Limerick native, who has been on the panel since the Games were held in Dublin in 2010.

Athletes will compete in badminton, tennis, cycling, darts, golf, petanque, swimming, table tennis, ten pin bowling, tennis, volleyball, mini-marathon, track and field and for the first time this year a summer biathlon event.

At the previous European Games which were held in Zagreb, Croatia in 2012, with a smaller team of 26, Ireland was placed in third place on the medals table after France and Slovenia out of 24 participating countries after securing an impressive medals haul of 14 Gold, 15 Silver and 21 Bronze.

For more information on the European Transplant & Dialysis Sports Championships and the Irish athletes visit the Irish team blog www.transplantteamireland.ie or visit the Games website www.etdsc2014krakow.pl

The full Irish panel is as follows:-

Antrim: John McAleer, Newtownabbey (oldest member of the team)

Cork: Mike Keohane, Clonakilty; Charlie Ryan, Cobh;

Clare: Eoghan O’Neill, Newmarket-on-Fergus; Mary Sheehan, Parteen;

Marie O’Connor, Lahinch

Donegal: Hugo Boyce, Clonmany; Kieran Murray, Ramelton

Galway: Linda Waters, Athenry; Zimile Brown, Athenry (native of New Orleans)

Kerry: Sean Marshall, Tralee

Kildare: James Nolan, The Curragh.

Laois: Robbie Lyons the Swan, via Athy.

Limerick: Richard Costello, Limerick city; John Loftus, Clarina;

Thomas Doherty, Bruff; Madeline Donaghy, Knockalong.

Team Doctor Yvonne Ryan from Ballyneety, Limerick

Longford: James Hannon, Edgeworthstown

Offaly: Edward McAuliffe, Portarlington

Sligo: Bridie Nicholson, Sligo town.

Tipperary: Vincent Bradshaw, Cahir;Sheila Gregan, Nenagh; Orla Hogan, Nenagh

Andrew Duncan, Clonmel (youngest member of the team)

Westmeath: John Connell, Cape Town, South Africa, formerly from Mullingar

Wicklow: Philip Kavanagh, Arklow

Dublin: Ron Grainger, Castleknock, D.15; Harry Ward, Team Captain, Baldoyle, D.13; Paul Prendergast, Santry, D.9; Chikoyo White, Balbriggan; Peter Heffernan, Skerries;

James Reynolds, Tallaght, D.24; Michael Dwyer, Cabinteely; Deirdre Faul, Dalkey.

Team Manager, Colin White

For an organ donor card Freetext the word DONOR to 50050 or visit website www.ika.ie It is also possible to download an organ donor card on smartphones by searching for ‘Donor ECard’ at the iphone store or android market place. Your wishes to be an organ donor can also be included on the new format driving licence which is represented by Code 115.



For more information contact:

Colin White, Team Manager Tel. 353 1 6205306 mob. 353 87 6843644 Email: colin@ika.ie

Gwen O’Donoghue, Media co-ordinator. Mob. 353 86 8241447 Email: gwenodonoghue1@gmail.com

Harry Ward, Team Captain mob. 353 85 2137512 Email: hwharryward@gmail.com


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