Team Ireland Golfers achieved huge success at Cagliari Golf Club today securing a phenomenal 5 medals, 3 Gold and 2 Silver, with each athlete taking home a medal.
John McAleer, from Antrim, at age 80, is the oldest participant overall at the 10th European Transplant & Dialysis Sports Championships out of 25 participating nations and was delighted to be rewarded for his golf round under the Italian sunshine with a Silver medal for his Net score. A day earlier, the retired university lecturer won a Bronze medal in the Petanque playing on the beautiful Poetta Beach. Following his day of Golf John said, “It was a long and hot day but while it was challenging, it was really most enjoyable and that was down to the very companionable golfers that I played alongside.”
Marie O’Connor, from Lahinch in Clare, the only female golfer on the Irish team, won Gold for her golf gross score. Earlier this week the two times kidney transplant recipient won two bronze medals for Petanque and in the Darts Triples event. Marie has secured Gold in Golf at every World and European Championships since she began competing with Team Ireland with the exception of the World Games in Argentina which she didn’t attend.
Marie was thrilled to take the Gold in the sport she loves, “It was very long and tough but it was brilliant. Golf is the sport I love and I am so grateful for the chance my donor has given me to do the things I love. This is my second chance at life and that is all down to my donor.”
Ron Grainger, a retired Urologist, from Castleknock, Dublin and a transplant recipient, won Gold for his Golf Gross Score at his first event at the European Games this year. Ron will also compete in the Long Jump, 100m sprint, 200m sprint and relay race over the coming days.
Father of three, Kieran Murray from Ramelton in Donegal, won Gold for his Golf Net score. This was Kieran’s 3rd Gold in a Row at the Golf event at the European Championships, Kieran said, “I am delighted to be the undefeated champion! It was one of the toughest medals I ever earned due to the heat, the length of the day and the tough competition. As always I want to thank my donor, my family and friends for all their support in the lead up and during these Games.” Earlier in the week Kieran, who also trains with Milford AC, won a bronze medal in the 5km mini marathon event.
James Nolan, an award winning butcher from Kilcullen, dedicated his Silver medal for his Golf Net score to his sister Catherine who donated a kidney to him 31 years ago and also to his wife Emma and young son Andrew James. James said, “the heat out there was the biggest obstacle, it was intense heat but it was a lovely atmosphere. I am so grateful to my sister Catherine for giving me this opportunity and to Emma and Andrew James for their constant support. The week has been extremely enjoyable so far.”
The Irish team of 10 women and 13 men ranging in age from 31 to 80 and includes 20 athletes who underwent kidney, pancreas or liver transplants as well 3 dialysis patients. The team are competing amongst competitors from 25 nations which for the first time in the Championships history includes Russia and Kazakhstan. The European Transplant & Dialysis Sports Championships are a celebration of life and showcase the value of sport and regular physical activity for people on dialysis and transplant recipients.
A homecoming reception for Transplant Team Ireland will take place at Dublin airport’s arrivals hall (Terminal 1) when the team arrives home on a Eurowings flight from Dusseldorf on Sunday 24th June around 3.15pm.
The Irish Kidney Association is looking forward to bringing the biennial European Games back to Ireland in 2020 after it successfully hosted the 6th European Transplant & Dialysis Games in Dublin in 2010 which attracted over 500 participants and supporters from 23 countries.
The Irish Kidney Association is the charity organisation which manages Transplant Team Ireland’s participation at British, European and World Transplant Games events.
For more information on the 10th European Transplant & Dialysis Sports Championships and the Irish athletes visit the team blog www.transplantteamireland.wordpress.com