Irish Golfers thrive as they win 4 Gold and 4 Silver today at the European Transplant & Dialysis Sports Championships in Vantaa, Finland



Irish Golfers thrive as they win 4 Gold and 4 Silver today at the European Transplant & Dialysis Sports Championships in Vantaa, Finland


Transplant Team Ireland’s golfers have enjoyed phenomenal success in the Golf competition today, exceeding high expectations with each of the eight Irish golfers winning a medal. Their medals haul from the beautiful Golf Talma in Sipoo includes 4 Gold and 4 Silver medals at the European Transplant & Dialysis Sports Championships in Finland. Earlier today, an additional 3 Bronze medals were won by members of the 28 strong Irish team in the bowling singles event.


Marie O’Connor, a kidney transplant recipient from Lahinch, Co Clare won Gold for her Gross score in the Ladies open category, her third Gold at this year’s Championships. She said, “I am honoured and thrilled I wasn’t expecting the Gold. I played against women from Germany, Italy and Denmark, and all were lovely women. I want to say hello to all of my supporters at home. My donor is the person I compete for.” Marie won two gold medals on Tuesday in the Petanque singles and doubles event.


Ronald Grainger, an Urologist from Castleknock who works at St. James’ Hospital in Dublin and who has undergone a kidney transplant, was delighted to win a Gold medal for his net score in the 19-23 handicap. He said, “It was unexpected but I’m delighted. It was a fantastic day out which I thoroughly enjoyed.”


A patient of Ronald’s, James Nolan, from Kilcullen, who is also a kidney transplant recipient, won a Gold medal for his Gross score in the 0-18 handicap. James, won a Silver medal for Golf two years ago when the European Games were held in Krakow, and he said after today’s success, “I’m absolutely chuffed I played well. The first person I called is my sister Catherine as I wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for her (Catherine donated a kidney to James).  I had a hip replacement last year so I didn’t make it to the World Transplant Games in Argentina but I am so delighted to have made it to Finland. Kevin Walker told me he would get me here following my operation and he did. This is a brilliant reminder of how lucky we are in life. It was a beautiful day and a beautiful course. I would like to mention the fantastic support from my dear wife Emma and my small son.”


Oldest Team Ireland member, John McAleer from Antrim (age 78) won a Silver medal in the 19-23 handicap net competition. The retired university lecturer and kidney transplant recipient said, “I have won two medals this year, I have only ever won one medal before at two previous European Games events so this is really brilliant. I’m having a great week here in Finland.”


Donegal native Kieran Murray won Gold in the net, with his 23+handicap. The father of three is recovering from a chest infection said, “I really liked the course. It was a beautiful course and a really enjoyable game. I’m looking forward to my races tomorrow and Saturday.”  Kieran will compete in the 1500m race tomorrow and the 800m on Saturday.


Philip Kavanagh, a liver transplant recipient from Arklow won Silver for the gross 23 + Handicap. Philip said, “It was very unexpected but I’m absolutely delighted. I am really enjoying the week and delighted to be going home with a Silver.   There was strong competition from Finland, Austria, Britain, Germany and Switzerland but the Irish really held their own.”


Mick Dwyer from Cabinteely, Dublin won a Silver for his Net score, 0-18 handicap. Mick echoed the comments of his fellow golfers saying, “it was a fantastic course”. He added. The people who ran the event were wonderful/ It was a spectacular day, one of the best courses we have ever played. I’m glad to be back with the team. I’m so happy for both our team’s first timers and old timers and our supporters as well as our donors.”


Eddie McAuliffe, a native of Kildare and now living in Portarlington, Offaly also won a Silver medal for his gross score in the 0-18 handicap. The kidney transplant recipient said, “ I am delighted with the result. It was a tough course but I had a very strong finish.”


Earlier today in the bowling singles event, Charlie Ryan, a liver transplant recipient from Cobh, Cork as well as dialysis patients Chikoyo White from Balbriggan, Dublin and Zimele Brown from Galway (and a native of New Orleans) each won a Bronze medal in their respective events.


Transplant Team Ireland which comprises 22 men and 6 women includes 22 transplant recipients (4 liver, 17 kidney and 1 combined kidney/pancreas) and six athletes that are receiving dialysis treatment.


The 9th European Transplant & Dialysis Sports Championships involve close to 500 participants from 25 countries throughout Europe. Every athlete at the Games will either have already received a kidney, liver, heart, lung, pancreas or bone marrow transplant.


The Irish Kidney Association is responsible for the co-ordination and organisation of Transplant Team Ireland’s participation in the European Transplant & Dialysis Championships.


Transplant Team Ireland will return home to Dublin airport terminal 1 next Sunday (at 4pmapprox. airline  For more information on the 9th European Transplant & Dialysis Sports Championships and the Irish athletes visit the team blog or visit the Games website


For an organ donor card Freetext the word DONOR to 50050 or visit website  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: Gwen O’Donoghue,  Connect Communications, on behalf of the Irish Kidney Association, mob 086 8241447 email

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