Messages of Support Roll in for Transplant Team Ireland as Gold, Silver and 3 Bronze medals were won and world record broken on Day 3 at World Transplant Games.

2 Gold, 1Silver and 3 Bronze medals were won this morning and can be added to Transplant Team Ireland medal’s haul on Day Three of competition at the World Transplant Games in Newcastle. Messages of support and encouragement continue to roll in for the team from well wishers including both the Department of Health’s Minister Simon Harris and Department of Tourism, Transport and Sport Minister Shane Ross, as well as tweets from the British Embassy, Cycling Ireland, the Confederation of Golf in Ireland and other Sports Governing bodies and para athlete Mary Fitzgerald. Video messages were sent to the Team by the Rose of Tralee’s Abu Dhabi Rose Karen Cashman whose younger sister Edel had a liver transplant. Irish soccer legend Niall Quinn also sent a video message to the team which he recorded in Newcastle before the games commenced. Members of the general public continue to send in good messages to the team on social media.

So far at the World Transplant Games members of the 38 strong Irish team, which ranges in age from 16 to 81 have won a total of 5 Gold, 5 Silver and 4 Bronze medals, and they will continue to compete in various sporting events throughout the week before returning home to Dublin airport’s Terminal One on Saturday 24th August.

Earlier today liver transplant recipient Deirdre Faul won a Silver medal in the 200m freestyle swimming event following up with a Gold in the 100m Breaststroke event a few hours later while smashing a world transplant swim record in the process with a time of 1.44 beating the previous record of 1.48. The unstoppable mother of two from Dalkey, Dublin beat off a second placed  Portugese contestant to win the 100m Breaststroke swimming event. 

Such a spectacular performance is even more noteworthy as only yesterday Deirdre seized her 7th in a Row Gold and World Transplant  Champion title in Squash since first winning the title at the 2007 World Transplant Games.  She will compete in two more swimming events tomorrow, the 50m Breaststroke and 400 m freestyle event, her final events at the World Transplant Games.

Deirdre’s completed her 200m freestyle swim with a time of 3.09.40 coming in second place just behind the overall winner, an American, who finished with a time of 3.01 and a Great Britain woman came third. Deirdre said after her first swim race, “I was truly pleased to come second. The games are going great so far. I am thoroughly enjoying the whole experience and can’t wait to compete in my second swimming event this afternoon.”

The Team Ireland’s swimming success did not end there with Westmeath man Noel Marsden and Peter Heffernan, Dublin, both taking Bronze medals in the 50m backstroke in their respective age categories.

Peter said, “ it was a great day, so great to be here, to participate is amazing. It’s fantastic to be here with transplant team Ireland and all the fantastic support. I couldn’t have done better today personally as I took the Bronze in one event and achieved personal best times in the other two events I completed in. These Games truly represent that organ donation works.”

Tipperary woman Sheila Gregan competed in 100m breaststroke today and tomorrow will compete in the 50m breaststroke and 50m freestyle events at the Sunderland Aquatic Centre.

Following his Bronze success, Noel reflected on the week so far saying, “it’s been a great week, great seeing old friends and meeting new friends. Hopefully I did my donor proud today. I’d like to thank my donor family and all donor families. My daughter told me to bring home a medal so hopefully she’s happy now. It’s great to take a medal for Westmeath!“

Also scooping her second medal at the World Transplant Games this morning was Anna Pokojska, a Bronze medal for the 30km cycling with a time of 1 hour and 9 minutes. A member of the Great Britain/NI team came first in the race and an contestant from Andorra came second. Anna, a Polish native came to live in Killarney in Kerry thirteen year ago  won a Silver medal on Sunday, the first day of competition for the team event in the 5km road race also with Sinead McGowan (from Galway) and Sheila Gregan (Tipperary). Speaking after her 30km race Anna said, “It has been wonderful.  Obviously I feel relieved to have finished my events now as I was anxious because it was my first ever transplant games but the whole team have been very supportive and I am finding the whole World Transplant Games experience amazing. I am delighted to be part of the Irish team. Without the team and my kidney donor  I wouldn’t be be here today and I would not have been able to do any of this before I received my transplant.”

Also competing in cycling today were kidney transplant recipients John Connell from Westmeath (and now living in South Africa) and John Moran from Dublin as well as heart transplant recipient Mick O’Shea from Mallow in Cork. John Moran (61) won a Gold yesterday in the 10km Cycling time trial and thanking his brother Frank for his ‘fast kidney’ which he received 34 years ago. John continued his success today bagging the Gold in the 30km cycling road race with a smashing time of 55.43 minutes.

At another venue in Newcastle several members of the team were competing in Bowling doubles with their events expected to conclude late in to the evening. The bowling doubles teams include Charlie Ryan (Cork who won a Gold in Petanque on Sunday) who will play with Paul Prendergast (Dublin),  Emma O’Sullivan (Kilkenny/Limerick), and Dubliners Harry Ward and Lenny Ryan.

Irish soccer legend Niall Quinn sent a video message from Newcastle where he met team member James Nolan in Newcastle recently and he said “I’m here with James Nolan from Transplant Team Ireland. I want to wish all of the other competitors who have gone through all of the hard work to get to those brilliant games that are on in August to wish you well, to congratulate you and also to send you a message of spirit and hope from the people like myself here who are very proud of what you are doing are proud of what you have done in your life and proud that you are showing that there is a great route forward after you have had the major traumas in your life that you guys have had

I would also like to say well done on getting people to donate because of course you know that value of that and if we can push a little further for organ donor subscriptions that would be great too. Have a great games  Represent your country. Feel proud. There is a lot of proud people here looking out for you.” 

Transplant Team Ireland includes 38 athletes who have each undergone transplants including bone marrow (1), heart (1), liver (4), lung (1) and kidney (31).  The team of 29 men and 9 women will return home to Dublin airport terminal one on Saturday, 24th August (Ryanair flight from Newcastle which is expected to land at 12.30pm).

The World Transplant Games will continue throughout the week with  athletes competing in their respective age categories in the following events: petanque, badminton, cycling, darts, golf,  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 Irish Kidney Association will host the European Transplant & Dialysis Sports Championships in Dublin next summer (August 2nd-9th 2020) and its primary goal is to promote the importance and success of organ donation for transplantation.  

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

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

CAVAN: Aodhagan Cullen, Cavan (kidney)

CLARE: Marie O’Connor, Lahinch (kidney)

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

Michael O’Shea, Mallow (Heart)

DONEGAL:  Kieran Murray, Ramelton (kidney)

GALWAY:  Sinead McGowan, Renmore (living in Australia) (kidney)

KERRY:  Anna Pokojska,Killarney,via Poland  Did the Ring of Kerry Cycle previous day (kidney)

KILDARE: James Nolan, Kilcullen (kidney) International award winning butcher – underwent a living donor kidney transplant 32 years ago (kidney)

KILKENNY VIA LIMERICK: Emma O’Sullivan (kidney)

LIMERICK via UK: Trevor Lynch, Cappamore, (Bone Marrow)

LOUTH: Tommy Marrett, Ardee (kidney)

MAYO via UK: Julie O’Neill, Westport- Award winning businesswoman, underwent living donor transplant from brother 37 years ago (kidney);

MEATH: Tony Gavigan, Navan & native of LONGFORD father of deceased donor (kidney);   

Jerome Lyness, Navan,(kidney);

Rachel Eagleton, Bettystown – youngest female on the team (33) (kidney);

Jack O’Brien, Navan, – youngest member of the team (16) (kidney);

MONAGHAN: Tomas Flannery, Tandarageebane (Lung);

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

WATERFORD via Dublin:  Eoin Hurley (age 25,  student at TCD)(kidney)

WESTMEATH: Finian Farrell, Mullingar (kidney); 

Noel Marsden, Athlone (kidney)

John Connell, Mullingar, living in South Africa (kidney);

WICKLOW: Garry Campbell, Greystones (kidney);

Philip Kavanagh, Arklow (liver);

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);

Peter Heffernan, Skerries (kidney);

Leonard Ryan, Tallaght (kidney);

Michael Dwyer, Cabinteely (kidney);

Deirdre Faul, Dalkey (liver);

John Moran, Glasnevin, celebrating 34th anniversary of living donor transplant from brother (kidney) .

TEAM MANAGER, Colin White from Balbriggan, Dublin

TEAM DOCTOR Ayanfe Obilana

For organ donor cards Freetext DONOR to 50050 or visit website    You can also download the IKA’s digital organ donor to your smartphone. Your wishes to be an organ donor can also be included on the new format driving licence which is indicated on the back of the card by Code 115. 



Colin White, Team Manager Tel. 353 1 6205306 mob. 353 87 6843644 Email:

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

Harry Ward, Team Captain mob. 353 85 2137512 Email:

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