Local golfer, Simon Lowry from Loughrea, Co Galway, received the opportunity of a lifetime to meet with Irish golf champion, Padraig Harrington as he prepares to tee off in Abu Dhabi for the 2019 Special Olympics World Summer Games this March.
It was a special moment when Harrington offered some words of wisdom to the team members who are in the final stages of preparation for their trip to Abu Dhabi. Wishing the golfers luck, he also took the time to sign the golf balls that Team Ireland will use in the World Games.
Hailing from across Ireland, the Team Ireland golfing squad also features Dubliners, Mark Claffey (29 ) from Blackrock; John Keating (26 ) from Templeogue; Andrew Simmington (30 ) from Dalkey and playing partner, Phyl Kelleher (80 ) from Rathfarnham; Mairead Moroney (69 ) and her playing partner Jean Molony (73 ), both from Ennis, Co Clare; and Jill Connery (33 ) from Scarva, Co. Armagh.
The golfers are part of a 91-strong Team Ireland squad that will compete on the world stage at the Games. Taking place between 14-21 March 2019, Abu Dhabi 2019 will be the largest sporting and humanitarian event in the world this year. Supported by a volunteer management team of almost 40, Team Ireland will join 7,000 Special Olympics athletes from 170 countries at the Games.
Special Olympics Ireland is first and foremost a sports organisation and charity that supports children and adults with intellectual disabilities. As the World Games gets closer, Special Olympics Ireland is calling on the business community and individuals to help them raise much-needed 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 ).
“As the build up to the Games continues, we still have a funding gap to bridge. The support we receive from our partners at eir and Gala Retail Services is invaluable and I urge companies large and small to come forward to 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.”
For further information about Team Ireland and the Support an Athlete programme, visit www.specialolympics.ie To keep up to date with Team Ireland’s preparations for the Special Olympics World Summer Games in Abu Dhabi, follow Special Olympics Ireland on Twitter @SOIreland and Facebook,facebook.com/SpecialOlympicsIreland and follow the hashtags, #TeamIreland and #PlayYourPart.