22 Medals at the British Transplant Games

Irish transplant athletes including 7 adults and 3 children showed their mettle with an impressive sweep of 22 medals including 10 Gold, 9 Silver and 3 Bronze at the British Transplant Games which were held in Newport, Wales over the weekend (25th-28th July, 2019).

Two Irish liver transplant children, Tara Madigan (age 12) from Castleconnell, Limerick and Laura McDowell (age 10), from Dalkey, Dublin,  seized 5 Gold and 1 Silver medal between them under the banner ‘the Dublin Transplant Children’s Team’. On their team, and a liver transplant recipient also, was welcome newcomer Elliott Richards (age 12), from Killiney Co Dublin. 

The British Transplant Games competition is based on teams from transplant centres across the UK. Ireland is also invited to participate, represented by the Dublin Transplant Children’s team and the Dublin Transplant Adults’ team (both teams come under the banner of Transplant Team Ireland, which is the sports programme organised by the Irish Kidney Association). The seven adult members on the team will be among the 38 athletes representing Ireland at the World Transplant Games which will be held in Newcastle Gateshead in a few weeks time (17-24th August).

Colin White,  Manager Dublin Transplant Adults Team Manager and Transplant Team Ireland said, “the two Irish teams performed fantastically well at the Games and with each of its adults also competing in next month’s World Transplant Games in Newcastle, it was a great test event! The weather in Newport was fantastic. The opportunity to meet so many other transplant recipients, as well as donor families, was humbling. It was great to have an opportunity to promote the fact that we are hosting the European Transplant & Dialysis Sports Championships in Dublin next year (August 2nd-9th) and we look forward to extending the same warm welcome that we have always received at the British Transplant Games.   This year the Irish Children’s team welcomed new team manager, Aoife O’Gorman and the future is looking bright for the children’s team with a concerted drive planned to recruit new families in preparation for next year’s Games in Coventry. Families who are interested can contact me at the Irish Kidney Association for more information.”

In her 12-14 year age category Tara Madigan proved unbeatable in the 3km and Long Jump events for which she was rewarded with 2 Gold medals while just being pipped to the post in the 100m track race where she won Silver. Her teammate Laura McDowell competing in the younger 9-11 year age category reigned supreme in all of her three events seizing 3 Gold medals for knocking her competition out in Tennis, Long Jump and 3km run.

There were seven members on  ‘Dublin Transplant Adults Team’ including three Corkmen, Mike Keohane, Rosscarberry, Charlie Ryan, Cobh (both liver transplant recipients) and first timer at the British Transplant Games kidney transplant Pat O’Sullivan from Mallow who have between them taken back 5 Gold medals between them to the Rebel county. In his 40-49 age category Mike Keohane was champion in three events taking Gold medals for Shot Putt, Discus and 5km Race Walk. Pat O’Sullivan, a kidney transplant recipient, was competiting in the 50-59 year age category when he took Gold in the Long Jump event while veteran Charlie Ryan won his Gold in the Ten Pin Bowling event. 

Trevor Lynch, a bone marrow transplant recipient from Cappamore, Limerick and now living in Buckinghamshire in the UK competed in the 50-59 year age category bagging three Silver medals for coming 2nd place in th 5km run the 1500m and 800m race.

In Swimming events Dubliner Peter Heffernan, a kidney transplant recipient from Skerries, secured 3 Silver and 1 Bronze medal in his 60-69 year age category with his Silvers earned for the 100m and 200m freestyle and 50m backstroke events and Bronze for the 50m Freestyle.   Westmeath’s Noel Marsden, a kidney transplant recipient from Athlone, won 2 Silver and 2 Bronze medals in the 30-39 year age category. His silver were for  50m Backstroke and 100m breaststroke event and he took bronze for 50m Breaststroke and 100m freestyle. Also putting in a respectable performance in swimming was kidney transplant recipient Orla Hogan from Nenagh, Co Tipperary.  

The Irish Kidney Association is working with Children’s Liver Disease Ireland and Heart Children Ireland to establish a transplant children’s sports programme that will offer opportunities for all transplanted children, and their families, to engage in sport and events such as the British Transplant Games.


Laura McDowell (Dalkey, Dublin): 9-11years

Tennis                 Gold

Long Jump         Gold

3km Run             Gold

Tara Madigan (Castleconnell, Limerick): 12-14years

3km Run             Gold

Long Jump         Gold

100m Track        Silver

Elliott Richards Killiney, Co Dublin: 12-14years

No medals won

Mike Keohane: 40-49years

5km Race Walk               Gold

Shot Putt                          Gold

Discus                               Gold

Charlie Ryan: 70+years

Ten Pin Bowling               Gold

Pat O’Sullivan: 50-59 years

Long Jump                        Gold

Trevor Lynch: 50-59years

5km Run                           Silver

1500m                               Silver

800m                                 Silver

Peter Heffernan: 60-69years

200m Freestyle                Silver

50m Backstroke              Silver

100m Freestyle                Silver

50m Freestyle                  Bronze

Noel Marsden: 30-39years

50m Backstroke              Silver

100m Breaststroke         Silver

50m Breaststroke           Bronze

100m Freestyle                Bronze

Orla Hogan: 40-49 years

No medals won.

Medal Summary:

Children:             5 Gold                 1 Silver

Adults:                5 Gold                 8 Silver                3 Bronze

TOTAL                 10 Gold               9 silver                3 Bronze             (22 medals)

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