*Mairead Moroney at the 2019 Special Olympics World Games in Yas Links, Yas Island, Abu Dhabi. Photograph: Ray McManus/Sportsfile

A Clare woman who warmed hearts “with her bravery and determination” and won a silver medal at last year’s Special Olympics has died.

O’Callaghans Mills born, Mairéad Moroney died peacefully at her sister’s residence on Friday, just over a year after bringing home a silver medal from the Special Olympics at Abu Dhabi. She has been remembered as a kind, gentle and generous lady.

Mairéad was the oldest participant at last year’s Games but it didn’t deter in any bit. Alongside playing partner, Jean Molony, they won silver on Yas Links Abu Dhabi Golf Course.

She first took up golf in 2012 and speaking to The Clare Echo from Abu Dhabi last year, Mairéad outlined, “I’m very happy to be representing Ireland, it’s a great privilege and an honour. It gives me great independence and confidence in myself”.

In recognition of her success and that of swimmer, Emma Barrett, Clare County Council held a civic reception in May which also honoured Kilkishen’s Noel McNamara who was Head Coach of the Irish U20 team that won their first Grand Slam since 2007.

A memorial mass for Mairéad will be held at a later date. In line with current Government and HSE guidelines, the funeral and burial will be strictly private. She is survived by her sister Máire, brothers Fr Martin and Liam, sisters-in-law Carmel and Pauline, brother-in-law Tomás, nieces, nephews, relatives and many friends in the Brothers of Charity, Ennis. She is predeceased by her brother Joe.

CEO of Special Olympics Ireland, Matt English stated, “We were all so proud of Mairead and her achievements as a valued member of Team Ireland at the Special Olympics World Games in Abu Dhabi just over one year ago. Mairead warmed all our hearts with her bravery and determination”.

Kitty Morris of Ennis Special Olympics commented, “Mairead was a very special member of Ennis Special Olympic Golf Club and she will be greatly missed by all who had the privilege of knowing her”.

Tributes have been paid online to the Clare golfer. Principal of O’Callaghans Mills NS, Sharon Brady noted that Mairéad’s visit to the school last year was a memorable one. “Mairead visited us this time last with her Olympic medal, showed us some of her golfing skills and answered lots of questions. It was a very special day for all the children. We remember her fondly”.

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