Golden year for Special Olympians
Members of Wexford Special Olympics Sports Club are in celebratory mood at the end of a successful year of tough competition.
Ten athletes including Dean O'Connor, Darby Power, Jennie O'Brien, Shannon O'Farrell Molloy, Ruby Hardie Brown, Colleen Flood Power, Katie Dixon, Lisa McKegney, Carima Murphy and Sarah Herlihy competed in the regional final of the aquatics competition in the Curragh bringing home six ribbons and two bronze, four silver and six gold medals along with a gold medal in the relay event for Ruby, Sarah, Katie and Dean.
The club's Bocce players - Carole Ryan, Jenna Carty, Colleen and Marian Flood, Meadhbh Scallan, Caroline Ferguson, Darby Power, Philip Clancy, Chris Nolan and Thomas Whitty - who have been Leinster champions for the past two years, competed in the South Leinster league.
Bocce is a sport like bowls or French Petanque and was first played in ancient Rome. In an effort to include more athletes, the Bocce coaches hope to move in the near future to a larger venue which will accommodate two courts. Bocce is a sport for all ages which people can play during their whole lives.
A total of 19 members of the Artistic Gymnastics team vied for honours in the Leinster competition earlier this month in Dublin. They ranged in age from the youngest team member Charley Kelly (8) who was competing for the first time up to the most experienced member Paul Keane who represented Ireland at the World Games in Los Angeles last year.
The club has been involved in gymnastics from the beginning 11 years ago but this competition saw the highest ever number of athletes taking part at three levels -beginners at Level B to intermediates at Level I and 2.
The girls did floor, vault, beam and assymetric bars while the boys did vault, parallel bars and pommell with Paul Keane and Nathan Ferrick also doing rings and high bar.
The gymnasts had to really push themselves physically and remember different routines and they won an array of medals much to the delight of their coaches and family supporters.
Among the competitors were, Level B: Charley, Kelly, Dean Foley, Rebecca Eydt; Level 1: Nathan Ferrick, Dean O'Connor, Kevin Kinsella, Darragh Moran, Ella Doyle, Carima Murphy, Katie Dixon, Shannon O'Farrell, Colleen Flood, Rosie Murphy, Jennie O' Brien, Lisa Redmond, Claire Meaghar and Lisa McKegney; Level 2: Jenna Carty and Paul Keane.
Next year, the club will train for more Leinster events in basketball, athletics, rhythmic gymnastics and pitch and putt.
Wexford Special Olympics is an active club providing training across six sports for people with an intellectual disability.
Athletes, coaches, volunteers and family members work closely together to ensure that each athlete has fun and achieves their potential in their chosen sport.