Fantastic start for Transplant Team Ireland on first day of events in Krakow

On their first day at the the 8th European Transplant & Dialysis Games in Krakow, Transplant Team Ireland has fared exceptionally well securing 3 Gold, 1 Silver and 6 Bronze in the Mini-marathon and Petanque events.

Veteran to the Games Charlie Ryan from Cobh came first in the 60-69 year age category in the Petanque event. Charlie, a liver transplant recipient, was delighted to receive a Gold medal and said,  “It was outstanding. I beat the French at their own game, up the rebels!”

In the ladies Petanque events dialysis category, Chikoyo White from Balbriggan, Dublin secured her first Gold medal and her teammate Linda Waters from Athenry was placed second in the same event winning a Silver medal. Chikoyo and Linda went head to head in the final and both performed very well. Chikoyo said “I’m so excited to have won gold. I am thoroughly enjoying my Games experience and am really looking forward to the week ahead.”

Double transplant recipient Bridie Nicholson from Sligo won a Silver medal in the Petanque event. Bridie also shared a Bronze medal with teammate Marie O’Connor from Lahinch, in the Petanque doubles event.Delighted with her first day’s event, Bridie Nicholson,a kidney/pancreas transplant recipient said, “there was stiff competition. I’m surprised but delighted with the result”.

Newcomer to the team Eddie McAuliffe from Portarlington, Co Laois, was delighted to secure a Bronze medal in his age category 40-49 years and his younger teammate Tallaght man James Reynolds also secured the same colour Bronze in the 18-39 year age category. Eddie McAuliffe, who received a kidney from his donor sister Anne,said “I am really enjoying my first Games.It’s competitive but great craic at the same time. It was a long but really enjoyable day. There was great sportsmanship. It’s my first time ever picking up a Petanque ball in competitive sport so I’m delighted with my bronze “

Team Ireland was well represented at the Petanque events and all the athletes played exceptionally well despite stiff competition. Team Captain Harry Ward, newcomer to the Team Zimele Brown, James Hannon, Games veteran Paul Predergast, Philip Kavanagh and Hugo Boyce all competed in the Petanque Singles Event. Bridie Nicholson of Sligo and Clare woman Marie O’Connor secured silver in the women’s Petanque Doubles event. The Men’s Petanque Doubles Event had a dream team of past Team Captain Mick Dwyer and current Team Captain Harry Ward. Mick and Harry worked well together on the Petanque field, narrowly missing out on a spot in the final. Also competing in the doubles event were; John Mc Aleer & Charlie Ryan, Paul Predergast & Hugo Boyce and Zimele Brown & James Hannon. Each team put on a terrific performance and thoroughly enjoyed the day.

The 5k Mini-marathon event was held at another location in Krakow and the Irish Team once again secured great success. Donegal man Kieran Murray, a newcomer to Transplant Team Ireland, got off to a great start at his first games securing a Gold in the race. In the ladies event Orla Hogan from Nenagh, Co Tipperary was rewarded with a Bronze medal for her efforts in her age category. Her teammate and fellow Nenagh woman Sheila Gregan, a triathlete, won a  Bronze medal in another age category. Sheila said, “I am ecstatic to have gotten the Bronze. The competition was stiff but I am delighted with the outcome.” Sean Marshall also put on an excellent performance at the 5km mini marathon. Sean is a bone marrow transplant recipient from Kerry. He was overwhelmed following the race, he stated, “it was emotional to cross the finish line. It was my first ever 5km and now I have a Personal Best to improve upon.” 

Hopes are high for further success for the 34 strong Transplant Team Ireland at the European Transplant & Dialysis Championships before they make their journey home from Krakow next Saturday. 

At the previous European Championships which were held in Zagreb , Croatia in 2012, with a smaller team of 26, Ireland was placed in third position on the medals table after France and Slovenia out of 28 participating countries after securing an impressive medals haul of 14 Gold, 15 Silver and 21 Bronze.

The European Championships involve over 500 athletes from 24 European countries. Throughout the Championships which run from 16th – 23rd August, athletes will compete in badminton, tennis, cycling, darts, golf, petanque, swimming, table tennis, ten pin bowling, tennis, volleyball, mini-marathon, track and field and for the first time this year a biathlon event. 

The Irish Kidney Association is responsible for the coordination and organisation of Transplant Team Ireland’s participation in the European Transplant & Dialysis Sports Championships.

For more information on the European Transplant & Dialysis Sports Championships and the Irish athletes visit www.transplantteamireland.ie or the Games website www.etdsc2014krakow.pl

The full Irish panel is as follows:-

Antrim: John McAleer, Newtownabbey (oldest member of the team)

Cork: Mike Keohane, Clonakilty; Charlie Ryan, Cobh;

Clare: Eoghan O’Neill, Newmarket-on-Fergus; Mary Sheehan, Parteen;

Marie O’Connor, Lahinch

Donegal:  Hugo Boyce, Clonmany; Kieran Murray, Ramelton

Galway:  Linda Waters, Athenry; Zimele Brown, Athenry (native of New Orleans)

Kerry:  Sean Marshall, Tralee

Kildare: James Nolan, The Curragh.

Laois: Robbie Lyons  the Swan, via Athy.

Longford: James Hannon, Edgeworthstown

Offaly: Edward McAuliffe, Portarlington

Sligo: Bridie Nicholson, Sligo town.

Tipperary: Vincent Bradshaw, Cahir; Sheila Gregan, Nenagh; Orla Hogan, Nenagh

Andrew Duncan, Clonmel (youngest member of the team)

Westmeath: John Connell, Cape Town, South Africa, formerly from Mullingar

Wicklow: Philip Kavanagh, Arklow

Dublin: Ron Grainger, Castleknock, D.15; Harry Ward, Team Captain, Baldoyle, D.13; Paul Prendergast, Santry, D.9; Chikoyo White, Balbriggan; Peter Heffernan, Skerries;

James Reynolds, Tallaght, D.24; Michael Dwyer, Cabinteely; Deirdre Faul, Dalkey.

Limerick: Richard Costello, Limerick city; John Loftus, Clarina;

Thomas Doherty, Bruff; Madeleine Donaghy, Knockalong.

Team Doctor Yvonne Ryan from Ballyneety, Limerick

Team Manager, Colin White from Balbriggan, Dublin

For an organ donor card Freetext the word DONOR to 50050 or visit website www.ika.ie  It is also possible to download an organ donor card on smartphones  by searching for ‘Donor ECard’  at the iphone store or android market place. Your wishes to be an organ donor can also be included on the new format driving licence which is represented by Code 115. 

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