*Athletes and Coaches from Co. Clare, back row, Frank Fitzgerald, left, and Jean Molony. Front row, Mairead Moroney, left, and Emma Barrett in attendance at the Special Olympics Ireland official launch Team Ireland for the 2019 Word Summer Games at the Carlton Hotel Tyrellstown in Dublin. Photo by Harry Murphy/Sportsfile
Two Clare athletes will represent Team Ireland at the 2019 Special Olympics World Games in Abu Dhabi.
In March, Ennis duo Mairead Moroney and Jean Molony will compete as part of a 91 strong Irish team flying the flag for their country at the highest level of sporting competition for Special Olympics athletes.
Abu Dhabi 2019 which runs from March 14th – 21st will be the largest sporting and humanitarian event in the world this year. Team Ireland has a volunteer management team of 39 people which includes athletics coach Frank Fitzgerald from Newmarket-on-Fergus. 7,000 athletes from 170 countries will be involved at the Games.
Team Ireland’s last residential training session has already taken place. Emma McMenamin, Head of Delegation said, “These athletes are extremely focused and determined and like any athlete facing into a major competition, they are putting 100% into their training. It was great to see how excited the athletes are to be part of this huge event. To represent Team Ireland and compete on the World Stage in Abu Dhabi is a big honour and one these Special Olympics athletes are not taking lightly.”
President Michael D Higgins has sent a message of support to Team Ireland, he told them, “Being chosen to represent your country on the international stage is a great honour indeed. It is a tribute, not only to your great talent as athletes, but also to your dedication, hard work and perseverance; qualities which make you inspirational role models and admirable ambassadors for Ireland. I thank you for your commitment to representing our country so proudly on the international stage and assure you that, as you travel to Abu Dhabi, you bring with you the support and goodwill of all of the people of Ireland. May I wish each and every one of you every success and many precious moments of enjoyment and happiness at the 2019 Games. May I also commend those who have encouraged and assisted you on your journey to date including your coaches and family members. I have no doubt that Ireland’s great reputation at the World Summer Games will be further enhanced by Team Ireland’s performance in Abu Dhabi, and that you will make us very proud indeed.”
As the countdown to the World Games gets under way, Special Olympics Ireland is calling on the business community and individuals to help them raise funds to send the athletes to Abu Dhabi. To cover the cost of sending Team Ireland to the Games, Special Olympics needs to raise a total of €455,000 (€5,000 per athlete).
Matt English, CEO Special Olympics Ireland, said: “2019 is shaping up to be a huge year for our athletes having worked so hard over the past three years to qualify for these Games. Companies large and small can show their support for Team Ireland by visiting www.specialolympics.ie and getting involved in our support an athlete campaign. The Irish community have been so generous towards us and we are calling on you again to play your part and help make the dreams of our athletes come true.”