PRESS RELEASE                                                                            29 August 2017

On day four of the 21st World Transplant Games, which are being held in Malaga, Transplant Team Ireland has bagged three Gold medals and one Silver in Golf, Swimming and a Tennis event.

The Irish team’s golfers, Garry Campbell from Greystones, Wicklow and Michael Dwyer from Cabinteely, Dublin clinched a Gold medal each today in the Golf pairs competition at Malaga’s Guadalhorce Golf Club beating pairs from Canada and South Africa to first place. This was Garry’s second Gold in Golf having also won one in the golf singles event which was held two days previously.

At her first and only event of the Games, the youngest member of the team Rachel Eagleton (30) from Bettystown, Co Meath faced strong competition and secured a Silver medal after her Italian rival won out.

A delighted Michael Dwyer said after winning his gold in golf said, “It was slightly cooler on the course than it was on Tuesday. I got great encouragement from Garry and the rest of the team. It’s a fabulous golf course, the staff were so helpful and friends which made everything easier. I am delighted. I don’t have the worlds to describe how I feel about this achievement. Only for my donor and their family I wouldn’t be here. Everyone needs to get a donor card as this is proof that organ donation works”.

Garry Campbell echoed Michael Dwyer’s sentiments in expressing gratitude to his donor while saying “it was very enjoyable playing with Mick”.

After winning his first Gold in the golf singles event two days previously, Campbell said, “I was exhausted at the end of the event but I am delighted. I was surprised to have won the Gold. I wouldn’t have made it around if it wasn’t for my son Gavin caddying for me. He kept me hydrated and in the shade. It was a great day. I met up with old friends on the golf course. I am really looking forward to the rest of the week. I would like to acknowledge my son, daughter and their partners and my grandson who are out here this week supporting me. I would also like to thank Karl Holmes at Greystones Golf Club for helping me prepare for the games.   My donor is of course at the forefront of my mind.”

Team Ireland athletes, John McAleer, Michael Kiely, Kieran Murray, Tony Gavigan, Connie Brosnan, Marie O’Connor and James Nolan also competed in the Golf pairs event today, each athlete thoroughly enjoyed the course.

Earlier today the unstoppable Dubliner Deirdre Faul secured her fourth Gold medal at the Games and in the process broke a second world record in swimming for the 400m freestyle at the Games. The Dalkey woman’s other world record time was achieved yesterday in the 200m Freestyle event for which she won Gold and later went on to win another gold in the 100m breaststroke event. Earlier in the week the Deirdre won her first gold medal at the Games in another sport, Squash singles retaining her world champion status in this event at six consecutive world games’.

After her victory today, Deirdre said, “I didn’t realise I was swimming so fast. Two world records and four gold medals this week, I’m ecstatic! I smashed all of my personal bests too. I’m thrilled with my performance. Thanks to Otter Swimming Club and Dublin Swimming Clun for their support, coaches Matthew McCusker and Brian Conroy and also to Claire O’Dwyer and Hamish Barrie for their support. A special thanks also to my dad and my sons for their loving support and especially to the family of my donor for making all this possible”.

Tipperary natives Sheila Gregan and Orla Hogan, Sinead McGowan (Galway) and Peter Heffernan from Dublin all competed in swimming events today achieving speedy times in their respective categories. Following the 400m Freestyle Sheila said, “it is incredible to complete it, I am thrilled. I have now completed the virtual triathlon, mission accomplished.” Sinead McGowan, a kidney transplant recipient from Galway now living in Australia commented that it was a tough race but that she is delighted to complete it and is looking forward to the athletics tomorrow. Sinead will compete in the 400m sprint, 1500m sprint and the relay tomorrow.

This Friday and Saturday will see many members of the 27 strong Transplant Team Ireland compete in various track and field events and the games come to a close on Sunday 2nd July.

The Irish team of 27 athletes are competing among close to 1000 transplant recipients form over 50 countries. Every athlete at the World Transplant Games will have already received a kidney, liver, heart, lung, pancreas or bone marrow transplant.

The Irish team includes four newcomers. Although the main objective for team members is to embrace life and promote organ donation, some returning team members are also contesting World titles. Keen to build on their medal successes at the previous World Transplant Games in Argentina in 2015, Deirdre Faul, Kieran Murray, Tony Gartland and Peter Heffernan have trained hard for the Malaga games.  Between them, the much smaller team of four won 13 medals including 7 Gold, 4 Silver and 2 Bronze in Argentina.  Two years previously at the World Transplant Games in Durban, South Africa 2013, the Irish team of 24 athletes scooped 34 medals including 12 Gold, 10 Silver and 12 bronze with 50 competing countries.

Athletes compete in their respective age categories in the following events: badminton, cycling, darts, golf, petanque, squash, swimming, table tennis, ten pin bowling, tennis, mini-marathon, and track and field.

The Irish Team will return home on Sunday 2nd July and their Ryanair flight is expected to land in Dublin airport at 17.30 hours.  An informal homecoming reception by family, friends and supporters will take place in the Arrivals Hall (Terminal One) as the team are expected to come through after collecting baggage at approx. 18 hrs.

For more information on World Transplant Games and the Irish athletes visit the Irish team blog www.transplantteamireland.ie     Visit the Games website   www.wtgmalaga2017.com/en


THE FULL IRISH PANEL IS AS FOLLOWS (and their individual ‘athlete profiles’ are on the team blog):-

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

CORK: Mike Keohane, Clonakilty (liver); Charlie Ryan, Cobh (liver); Michael Kiely, Mitchelstown, on the Limerick border (kidney); Pat O’Sullivan, Mallow (kidney)

CARLOW: Tony (Patrick Anthony)Gartland, Hacketstown(liver), first liver transplant person in Ireland

CLARE: Marie O’Connor, Lahinch (kidney)

DONEGAL:  Kieran Murray, Ramelton (kidney)

GALWAY:  Sinead McGowan, Renmore    (living in Australia)

KERRY:  Con Brosnan, Killarney (kidney)

KILDARE: James Nolan, Kilcullen (kidney)

MEATH: Tony Gavigan, Navan, a native of Lanesborough, Longford (kidney transplant and father of deceased donor);      Rachel Eagleton, Bettystown (kidney) – youngest member of the team

MONAGHAN: Michelle Reinhardt McCabe, Smithboro (kidney)

TIPPERARY: Orla Hogan, Nenagh (kidney); Sheila Gregan, Nenagh (kidney)

WICKLOW: Garry Campbell, Greystones (kidney)

DUBLIN: Ron Grainger, Castleknock, D.15 (kidney); Harry Ward, Team Captain, Baldoyle, D.13 (kidney); Paul Prendergast, Santry, D.9 (kidney); Anthony Byrne, Artane (kidney); Angela Sherlock, Greenhills (kidney); Peter Heffernan, Skerries (kidney); Aoife Murray, Clonsilla, (liver);

Michael Dwyer, Cabinteely (kidney); Leonard Ryan, Tallaght, D 24 (kidney); and Deirdre Faul, Dalkey (liver).

Team Manager, Colin White from Balbriggan, Dublin

Team Doctor, Claire Kennedy, from Lucan and living in Clontarf, Dublin


For organ donor cards Freetext DONOR to 50050 or visit website www.ika.ie/card  You can now download the IKA’s new digital donor card by visiting www.donor.ie on your smartphone.Your wishes to be an organ donor can also be included on the new format driving licence which is represented by Code 115. 


NOTE:   Transplant Team Ireland’s return flight on Ryanair is expected to land at Dublin airport Terminal One on Sunday July 2nd at 17.30 hours. An informal homecoming reception by family, friends and supporters will take place in the Arrivals Hall (Terminal One) as the team are expected to come through after collecting baggage at approx. 18 hrs. Photographer Conor McCabe will be covering this homecoming event (no repro fee) tel. 085 7057255



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



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