Nine Irish golfers ready to tee-off at Special Olympics in US
Nine Irish golfers will be coming out swinging for Ireland at the Special Olympics in Los Angeles in July.
Golf legend Christy O'Connor Junior and former 5,000m World Champion Senator Eamonn Coghlan met the team at Carton House yesterday to wish them the best of luck.
"To represent Ireland is a phenomenal achievement and I would like to wish all of the athletes the very best of luck at the World Games," said Ryder Cup hero O'Connor, a patron of the Special Olympics.
Representatives of convenience retailer Gala joined Special Olympics Ireland CEO, Matt English, at the launch to announce a significant six-figure sponsorship deal to help the Irish athletes travel to the US and compete.
"Without the support of our sponsors, it would be financially impossible to fund 88 Irish athletes' participation in the World Summer Games," said Mr English. "This is our first initiative with Gala and we're thrilled with the partnership as there's a natural synergy with local retailers championing their local athletes."
Some 7,000 athletes from 177 countries will compete in the games in July and August.
The Team Ireland golf squad members include Leo Brien from Rathdrum, Wicklow, Rosemary O'Reilly from Meath, Margaret Carr from Sligo, Trudy Hyland from Cork, Paul Kirrane from Ennis, Oliver Doherty from Buncrana and Jill Connery from Armagh.
Ennis's Patrick Rutherford and Ursula McDonnell from Belfast will join the team as playing partners, and they will be paired with athletes in the alternative shot team play event.
Gala CEO Gary Desmond said the company was committed to assisting the athletes participate in a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.