Good Times for Cork’s Charlie, Dublin’s Golden Girl Deirdre, Navan Darts Duo and other members of Irish team on Day 4 of World Transplant Games

Transplant Team Ireland enjoyed continued success on a very busy Day 4 of competition at the World Transplant Games 2019 in Golf, Swimming, Darts, Tennis and Triathlon events with 5 Gold, 6 Silver and 4 Bronze on the same day.The first medal of the Day 4 of competition in Newcastle Gateshead was a Gold for Deirdre Faul as in the 400m freestyle event as she broke a second world time record for the second day in a row for swimming and then went on to win a Silver medal in her final event at the games, the 50m breaststroke, bringing her incredible medals haul tally for Squash and Swimming to 3 Gold and 2 Silver. Also stroking his way to success at the swimming pool another Dubliner, Peter Heffernan won a Bronze medal, his second Bronze at the games in Newcastle. 
Galway’s Sinead McGowan who lives in Australia won her second Silver medal at the Games today for the virtual triathlon event for her combined times in swimming, cycling and 5k race.
Charlie Ryan, a retired skipper from Cobh, Co Cork won two Gold medals today, a Gold  for Darts singles and later his third Gold at the games in the Darts Triples event with Corkman Mike Keohane and Jerome Lyness from Meath. It was a great day also for three Navan natives. Jerome Lyness and the youngest member of the team, Jack O’Brien (16), both from Navan, Co Meath, each won a Silver medal in their Darts singles events at St.James Park while at another venue, Close House Golf Course, Navan man Tony Gavigan won a Bronze medal and Ron Grainger from Dublin each won a Bronze medal  in the Golf team event.GOLF 

The Irish team’s twelve golfers were enjoying the outdoors today at Close House Golf Course where the Golf Team events were being played. Kidney transplant recipients Tony Gavigan, who plays with Headfort Golf Club Kells, and Ron Grainger, from Castleknock, Dublin and a member of Bush Golf Club Dunshaughlin each were rewarded with Bronze medals (for 19 to 28 handicap) for their nett score of 53 in the two person team event while competing against close to 50 teams. 
Both Tony and Ron won medals for their nett scores in individual events two days previously when a Silver was won by Tony and a Bronze by Ron as it was the second time this week that the Irish golfers enthusiastically made their way around the same golf course. On Monday the golf team swept the decks winning 3 Gold, 2 Silver and 2 Bronze medals for their individual golf scores and had the pleasure of meeting international golfer Lee Westwood at his local club.  Adding the two Bronze won at Golf today all the winning golfers were presented with their medals by Graham Wylie, who is Chairman of the World Transplant Games 2019 committee and owner of the prestigious championship golf course.   

For their individual scores on Monday the golfers earned their medals as follows: GOLD for Garry Campbell from Greystones Wicklow for his Gross Score in 60-69 year age category (Garry has a handicap of 6.2);SILVERfor John McAleer, the oldest member of Transplant Team Ireland, from Newtownabbey Antrim for his Gross Score in 80+ age category (handicap 26.5); GOLD for Marie O’Connor, from Lahinch, Co Clare for her Nett score (Handicap 16-26);BRONZE for Eoin Hurley from Waterford for his Nett Score (20-29 years – Handicap 0-10);GOLD for Michael Dwyer,Cabinteely, Dublin for his Nett score (Handicap 19-28); TWO MEDALS for Tony Gavigan, Navan, Co Meath SILVERfor his Nett Score (Handicap 19-28) and BRONZE for team match;  2 BRONZE MEDALS for Ron Grainger, Castleknock, Dublin BRONZE for his Nett Score (Handicap 19-28) and BRONZE for team match.  Also playing with the golf team were Corkmen Pat O’Sullivan and Michael Kiely and James Nolan from Kildare, Kieran Murray, Donegal and Philip Kavanagh, Wicklow.
Deirdre Faul earned her Golden Girl mantle as she broke a second world transplant time record in swimming at the World Transplant Games 2019 and  winning 3 Gold medals and two Silver medals  over the past three days. An extraordinary achievement for the 51 year old liver transplant recipient and mother of two from Dalkey,  Dubliin as earlier in the week she won her her first Gold medal at the games for Squash and her seventh in a row champion title since first winning the Squash event in 2007.  On Tuesday she broke another World Transplant time record and won Gold  for one swim event and a Silver for another. Today in the 400m freestyle swimming event with a finish time of 6.34.09  Deirdre smashed the previous record of 6.48.7 set at the previous World Transplant Games in Malaga in 2017.  A few hours later she swam her way to futher success in her final event at the World Games, winning a Silver medal in the 50m breaststroke coming second with a time of 47.56 after the overall winner, an Australian lady.  
After her very physically demanding few days Deirdre said, “I’m really pleased with my games experience this year, swimming was good with personal bests in the pool and breaking the record. I’m exhausted now, but the Squash and 400m were the ones I wanted to win and everything else was a bonus. I’m looking forward to a rest and something to eat now. I’d like to thank Swim Ireland’s Carol Finlay and Peter Conway, Aquasphere for sponsoring our swimmers this year, my transplant team and Aer Lingus coach  and my family for putting up with me. And of course always thanks to my donor.”
Peter Heffernanfrom Skerries said after winning a Bronze today in the 100m backstroke, “I’m delighted with the result of the two days swimming with a bronze in the 50m backstroke yesterday and then another in the 100m Backstroke today. I’m very grateful to my donor and their family for one, being able to participate, and two, the ability to train throughout the year to participate. Equally, it’s great coming to the games to mix with the team and all the other lovely people. Everyone is very friendly and encouraging, full of support and absolutely great craic.”  

Also today at the Swimming Pool, Sinead McGowan from Renmore, Galway and now living in Australia was presented with a Silver medal for the virtual triathlon. The virtual triathlon includes the times from three individual events, swimming, cycling and running added together.  The 5k was held on Sunday, a 10km time trial cycle took place on Monday and a 400m freestyle swim event today. Sinead said after her swim event, “I’m really happy with my performance today, I am least confident about swimming out of the three triathlon events. My time was faster than in Malaga two years ago so I’ve improved. I’d like to thank my brother Seamus, who was my donor in October 2009, ten years ago. Also, my parents, my partner Phil for coming to support me, and my other brother Colm who flies out tomorrow for my next events. I’m delighted to win a silver medal for the triathlon and am looking forward to track and field events.”
Rachel Eagleton from Bettystown, Meath was rewarded for her very gruelling day in Tennis with a Silver medal. The kidney transplant recipient first competed in two round robin matches before winning a place in the semi final against a German and then the final where she was beaten by an Italian. After receiving her Silver medal, Rachel underwent a  kidney transplant when she was a child and celebrated her 33rd birthday this week in the company of the Irish team. She said after winning her Silver, “It was great to win a Silver medal as it has been a really long and tiring day. It’s at times like this that I think of my donor who has made this possible. I thank my family for supporting me and all the team also. I am looking forward to competing in the Tennis Doubles event tomorrow (Thursday) with Sheila Gregan. 
Also competing in Tennis today was newcomer to the team Aodhagan Cullen from Cavan. This is Aodhagan’s first time competing at the World Transplant Games, Aodhagan said, “it was an enjoyable day, there was very tough competition from Australia and Argentina.”
DARTSCompeting in Darts at St. James’ Park which is home to Newcastle United, two Navan natives, Jerome Lyness and the youngest member of the team Jack O’Brien (age 16) played their way into the finals and both of them won a Silver medal and Jerome going on to win a Gold later in the Darts triples event. Jack O’Brien underwent his kidney transplant when he was two years old. He travelled to the Games with his family including his donor mother Cassandra.  
There was an interesting turn of events in the 70-79 year age category when two of the Irish team were pitched against one another as the played their way into the Darts final having beat off competition from other countries in the heats.  In the end it was Charlie Ryan, a liver transplant recipient from Cobh, Cork who won the Gold and teammate Paul Prendergast from Santry, Dublin came second winning Silver.  Later Charlie enjoyed further success when he along with Mike Keohane from Cork and Jerome Lyness from Meath won the Darts Triples event  earning a Gold medal each for their skill and beating 3 South Africans. This was Jerome’s second medal of the day having won a Silver earlier in his Darts singles event and Charlie’s third Gold at the Games with his two for Darts singles and triples and a Gold for Petanque earlier in the week.
Charlie said, “I’m delighted with my two Golds today, three Golds this week. For Darts I am undefeated since the Darts event was introduced to the World Transplant Games two years ago when I got the Gold in Malaga. The Triples event with Jerome and Mike was very enjoyable. A big thanks to all the supporters. They have been fantastic. Thanks to everyone in Jack Doyle’s bar for all their support with my darts preparation”.
Delighted with his success, Jerome Lyness, a first timer to the Transplant Sport said after winning his first medal “the event was brilliant, without my donor I wouldn’t be here. I have to think of them and my country today. This is my first time at the Games and it’s very enjoyable so far. My wife has been here looking after me this week and my whole life! Also the team doctor Ayanfe has been fantastic at looking after me and the rest of the team so a big thanks to him”.
Jack O’Brien won his Silver in the Darts match playing against a Thailand transplant recipient. Jack said after receiving his Silver medal,  “Team Ireland is a great team and I’m delighted to be here with them and to have my family over here supporting me. I’m really looking forward to competing in my athletics events on Thursday and Friday.”
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 and athletes are 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.   
This year the team has gratefully received support from Swim Ireland, Athletics Ireland and Irish Squash. The on-going coaching support from Swim Ireland has been particularly welcomed. Astellas Pharma Ltd. has again provided some sponsorship towards the costs of running the team. 
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: JohnMcAleer, Newtownabbey (kidney) (oldest member of the team)

CAVAN: Aodhagan Cullen, Cavan (kidney)

CLARE: Marie O’Connor,Lahinch (kidney)

CORK: MikeKeohane, 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:  AnnaPokojska,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: TommyMarrett, Ardee (kidney)

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

MEATH: TonyGavigan, 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: TomasFlannery, 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: RonGrainger, 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 fromBalbriggan, Dublin

TEAM DOCTOR AyanfeObilana

For organ donor cardsFreetext 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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