PRESS RELEASE                        2.7.17
The 27 members of Transplant Team Ireland can take pride in their performances at the 21st World Transplant Games in Malaga both on and off the competitive field as they returned home to an informal homecoming reception greeted by a large gathering of family, friends and supporters at Dublin airport today, Sunday (Terminal One Arrivals Hall, 6pm approx.). The Irish team won a total of 32 medals while at the same time demonstrating their zest for life, team spirit, sportsmanship and infectious goodwill while honouring their organ donors. The Irish team’s impressive medals haul includes 14 Gold, 7 Silver and 11 Bronze from various sporting events.
Team member, Dubliner Deirdre Faul, (a liver transplant recipient), managed to break two world records in the swimming pool on her way to winning 4 gold medals, including her 6th world title in Squash.
The main objective for Team Ireland members, who range in age from 30 to 79, when taking part in the Games is to embrace life and promote organ donation. The team includes 4 liver transplant recipients and 23 kidney transplant recipients. Four newcomers joined the Irish team for the games and Michelle Reinhardt McCabe a kidney transplant recipient from Smithboro Monaghan, won 2 Gold medals in athletics at her first ever transplant games. Galway native Sinead McGowan travelled from Australia, where she now lives, to join the team and put in outstanding performances in track and field events clinching 2 Gold and 2 Silver medals.
The 21st World Transplant Games involved 1000 competitors from 51 countries and every athlete who competed will have received a kidney, liver, heart, lung, pancreas or bone marrow transplant. This was the second largest gathering of transplant recipients for the biennial World Games event, next to when they were held in Gold Coast, Australia in 2009. The standard of competition this year was at unprecedented levels with numerous world records falling. Daily temperatures in the mid 30s added an extra challenge for athletes and supporters but Team Doctor, Claire Kennedy, ensured that everyone kept well.
In contemplating the competition they would face during the week, team members knew that it was about the training put in and delivering a performance on the day. With a number of personal bests achieved across a variety of events the team showed their mettle. Darts featured in the Games for the first time and Cork man Charlie Ryan (from Cobh) added a world title to his 5 European titles and took home with him 2 Gold medals as well as 1 Bronze which he won along with Dubliner Lenny Ryan and fellow Cork man Mike Keohane in the Darts triples event. Mike also won two Silver medals for the Discus and 5k race walk event. Wicklow man Garry Campbell won 2 Gold for Gold singles as well as in the Golf pair’s event with Dubliner Michael Dwyer. Marie O’Connor from Lahinch in Clare also won a Gold medal for Golf along with a Bronze medal for Petanque. The oldest member of the team John McAleer, (age 79) from Antrim, also won a medal in in Golf, a bronze, and the youngest member of the team Rachel Eagleton (30) from Bettystown, Meath won a Silver medal in Tennis.
The Irish Kidney Association is responsible for coordinating and managing Transplant Team Ireland’s participation at European and World Transplant Games events. Colin White, the National Projects Manager of the Irish Kidney Association is the Ireland Team Manager. In reflecting on this year’s Games Colin said, “Team members, competitors and supporters alike, should be proud of their performance throughout the week. We continued our long held record of winning medals on every day of competition at a World Transplant Games. Equally, this year’s team built on our reputation for a sense of fair play and support for all. Our athletes are truly inspirational as they show others affected by organ failure what can be achieved post-transplant. I would like to think that the public will also have been inspired by our athletes as they have shown the life transforming impact of saying YES to organ donation and making sure that family know your wishes”.
Four members from the current team (Dubliners Deirdre Faul, Peter Heffernan, Kieran Murray from Donegal and Tony Gartland, Carlow) took part in the previous World Transplant Games in Argentina in 2015 and between them, with a much smaller team, they won 13 medals including 7 Gold, 4 Silver and 2 Bronze. 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 competed 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.
For more information on World Transplant Games and the Irish athletes visit the Irish team blog<> Visit the Games website<>
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<> You can now download the IKA’s new digital donor card by visiting<> 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.

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