Celebrations for Ormond Special Olympics athletes after impressive medal haul

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Celebrations for Ormond Special Olympics athletes after impressive medal haul

Nenagh Ormond Special Olympic athletes proudly display their awards from the Munster Regional Advancement Athletics Competition

Thirteen athletes from Ormond Special Olympics Club celebrated a great day of competition in the athletics arena at Cork Institute of Technology. They were competing in Track and Field events against over 230 Athletes from other Special Olympics Clubs throughout the province in the Munster Regional Advancement Athletics Competition.

Thankfully the recent showery weather held off  for the day, and our local athletes took full advantage of the favourable conditions to produce some tremendous performances.  Between them they brought home a haul of 11 Gold medals, six Silver, three Bronze and six Place Ribbons, as well as some Personal Best results. They were supported and cheered all the way by their Head Coach, Pauline Nugent, Assistant Coaches, family members, friends and volunteers, as well as a large crowd of spectators in the stadium on the day.

The 100 metre divisions saw Diarmuid Boyle finish in 4th place behind James Brennan who powered into the Gold Medal position. Kieran Doughan also won Gold in his Division with a focused sprint  in what his Coach, Pauline Nugent, said was his best ever performance. William Ryan had a tough draw in a big division but achieved a commendable Place Ribbon by finishing in 6th place. Darragh McKenna ran a tremendous race in his 100m and headed the field all the way, but remained delighted with a Silver Medal after being narrowly pipped at the post in a photo finish.

In her 100m division Aisling Maher produced yet another powerful sprint to win Gold, with strong competition all the way from Moira Moran who finished in the Silver Medal position. Later Niamh Slattery shot away from the start line and maintained her form all the way to the Gold Medal position on the podium. Michelle Costello was in a particularly strong division and was just out of the medal positions with a great 4th place finish. In her first year of competition at this distance, Aife Dalton performed with distinction and was delighted to win a Silver Medal, just behind Gold Medallist Saoirse O'Halloran who ran brilliantly, leading from the gun and dominating the race throughout. In her division Rebecca Johnston was cheered on by the large crowd of spectators in the stands who saw her win the Bronze medal in a very competitive field.

In the 400 metres Rachel Ryan again won the Gold Medal, and against strong opposition also achieved Silver in the 200m.

In the field events, there was another range of great performances. The Turbojav event saw Saoirse O'Halloran and Aife Dalton again competing against each other, but this time Aife reversed the Medal order by taking Gold, with Saoirse in the Silver medal position. Aisling Maher dominated her Turbojav division with some tremendous throws leading to another Gold Medal achievement. A series of consistently good throws from Michelle Costello were rewarded with a well deserved Silver Medal. Rebecca Johnston again had to compete in a very competitive division but still achieved a very commendable 6th place.

In their respective Turbojav divisions Diarmuid Boyle threw his way to a Bronze Medal, while James Brennan took 5th place as the weather conditions began to deteriorate in a blustery wind. William Ryan, however, did not let the conditions deter him from some great throws, and entirely deserved the Gold medal he achieved. In a very strong division, Kieran Doughan won a performance ribbon with some great efforts.

Meanwhile in the Shotput, Darragh McKenna was again producing some very consistent throws to add a Bronze medal to the Silver he had won earlier in the sprints.

In their respective Long Jump divisions, Moira Moran and Niamh  Slattery produced some of the best performances of the day. Moira saved the best to last with her final jump when she soared to within a few centimetres of her Personal Best distance, ensuring she would celebrate winning the Gold Medal in the process. Niamh Slattery also refused to be deterred by the long day of competition by winning the Gold in her division with a series of outstanding distance leaps, one of which established a new PB.

Overall it was one of Ormond Club's most successful days. Head Coach Pauline Nugent said later " We have some 30 Athletes in our Club, all of whom train weekly throughout the year. Not all of them were lucky enough to be selected to compete in CIT this year, but they all continue to give their very best efforts. I am so proud of the whole team after such a brilliant day's competition. This group of Athletes and those in the Club who were not competing today are an absolute pleasure to work with. They put so much into every training session and this stands to them in competition. But it is not only their athletic ability which is there to be admired, they show such great sportsmanship in defeat as well as victory."

"I would also like to thank all our assistant Coaches, Jean McKennedy, Brid Mackey, Aileen Nolan, Annagh Roche, Marguerite Costello, Paul Nugent, Padraig Doughan, Aine Maher and Helen Brennan, as well as all the other coaches, volunteers and family members who support us all in both training and competition. I would also like to say a special thanks to two of our Athletes, Lucy O'Neill and Aisling Nolan, who although they were not competing today, volunteered their services to help out with the competition admin as part of their Athlete Leadership Programme work".

All of the Club Athletes who were winners in their divisions now go forward to potential selection for Team Munster to represent our province in The Ireland Games in Dublin in 2018. Further success in the Ireland Games may lead to selection to Team Ireland in the Special Olympics World Games to be held in United Arab Emirates in 2019.