Welcome home for Games medal heroes
IT'S a medal haul that many a nation would be proud of – these athletes arrived back from the World Transplant Games in Durban with 34 pieces of gold, silver and bronze.
The Irish team of 24 athletes received a rapturous welcome when they arrived in Dublin.
Among those in the welcome party yesterday was transplant surgeon David Hickey from Beaumont Hospital, who carried out kidney transplants on many of the participants.
TEAM MANAGER COLIN WHITE SAID: "OUR HOSTS PUT ON A SPECTACULAR WEEK THAT BROUGHT TOGETHER INSPIRING PEOPLE FROM OVER THE WORLD TO CELEBRATE THE GIFT OF LIFE THROUGH SPORT AND DEMONSTRATE THAT ORGAN DONATION AND TRANSPLANTATION WORKS".
Ireland finished 14th overall with 12 gold, 10 silver and 12 bronze medals.
The team, ranging from 12 to 68, included Tony Gartland (50) from Carlow who was the first person to undergo a liver transplant in Ireland.
He won gold in the 5000m race walk event, silver in the 5km road race, bronze in the 1500m race and another bronze in the 800m race.
John Moran (54), from Glasnevin, Dublin, was greeted at the airport by his family as well as his older brother Frank who donated a kidney to him 28 years ago.
Moran bagged three gold and one silver in cycling and track and field events.
The youngest team member, Oisin O'Gorman (12) from Waterford, secured gold in badminton and two bronze in the long jump and ball throw.
The Irish Kidney Association is responsible for managing Transplant Team Ireland's participation at the Games.