Monday 14 October 2019

McDonald retires from competitive sport

Wexford's most successful Paralympian has announced his retirement from competitive sport.

Gorey swimmer Darragh McDonald made his decision known via a Facebook post last week, having performed with distinction at the highest level for a number of years.

The 21-year-old U.C.D. student competed in the Beijing 2008 Paralympic Games and won a silver medal in the 400m freestyle. Four years later he went one better at the London Games, securing gold in the same event.

McDonald also held the title of world champion after winning gold in 2013 in Montreal. He was a bronze medal winner at the worlds held in Glasgow earlier this year.

His impressive array of medals also includes two silvers from the 2009 European Championships in Raykjavik for the 100m freestyle and 400m freestyle, along with a bronze from the 400m freestyle at the same event in Berlin in 2011.

'After over a decade of competitive swimming after much thought and deliberation over the last few weeks I've made the difficult decision to retire,' McDonald posted on Facebook.

'This decision hasn't been an easy one but following on from 2 years of arguments and countless broken deals (Think Billy Walsh x 10), I now have to walk away from the madness and focus on life moving forward and the real world.'

McDonald thanked everyone for their support over the years.

'As I've always said right from the beginning no one makes it anywhere on their own and I've had the opportunity to work with some great people over my career,' he added.

Special thanks were extended to his team-mates at UCD Swimming and Waterpolo Club, as well as current coach Earl McCarthy and former coach John Kealy.

He also thanked all at Coral Leisure Centre in Arklow, his sponsors Hegarty Financial Management Ltd., 'and of course my family and friends who have been there for me through it all'.

'Ultimately my goal in sport was never about medals, but was to leave Paralympic sport in a much better place than I found it, which if London 2012 and its aftermath is anything to go by my dreams were definitely achieved so I can truly walk away happy.'

McDonald concluded by thanking everybody 'for the support and the great memories' as he finishes his competitive career with a lot of special achievements to look back on.

Wexford People