20th August 2014
Irish eyes were smiling today on Transplant Team Ireland as the swept the boards on their fourth day at the European Transplant & Dialysis Sports Championships in Krakow, Poland with an outstanding medal tally of 10 Gold, 6 Silver and 3 Bronze. These successes were achieved at the Tennis, Golf and Bowling events which were held at different venues around Krakow.
At the tennis competitions today Limerick kidney transplant recipient Madeline Donaghy secured a bronze in the Tennis singles competition. This is Madeline’s first time competing with Transplant Team Ireland and she was thrilled with her success.
Clonmel Teenager Andrew Duncan was successful yet again despite particularly stiff competition from the Italian and Hungarian teams, in an 18-29 age category. Andrew took the Silver medal in the tennis singles competition, and was delighted with the result. Andrew’s father Malcolm Duncan donated his kidney to Andrew in spring 2012. Following Andrew’s win, Malcolm said, “Andrew was delighted with his success and we are very proud of him. He played exceptionally well throughout, especially in the final against an excellent Italian competitor.”
Team Ireland fared exceptionally well at the Bowling Competitions today. James Reynolds, Zimele Brown, Chikoyo White, Linda Waters, Thomas Doherty, Hugo Boyce, Charlie Ryan, Paul Predergast, Orla Hogan and James Hannon all competed and collectively secured 3 Gold, 2 Silver and 1 Bronze medal.
Zimele Brown, originally from New Orleans but currently living in Athenry was competing in the bowling events for the first time with Team Ireland today. He played a blinder and bowled strike after strike; as a result he secured a well deserved Gold. Zimele was delighted with the result, “I am extremely excited with how I did today I beat my own personal best.” Zimele is enjoying his first Games experience, “I am having lots of fun, everyone has something in common and everyone is very friendly.”
Also competing in this category was Thomas Doherty of Bruff, Limerick. Thomas is also a newcomer to Team Ireland and secured a bronze in the same competition. Both newcomers are proving to be fantastic additions to Transplant Team Ireland! Thomas thoroughly enjoyed the day, “it was great fun altogether, my happiness is immeasurable, The Games are a brilliant experience and I am delighted to be here.”
In the Doubles Bowling Irish pairs; Zimele Brown and Dublin man James Reynolds, and a team of Longford man James Hannon and Thomas Doherty went head to head in the same category. Despite facing tough competition from teams from Cyprus and Hungary the Irish teams came out on top with Zimele and James taking the Gold and the team of James Hannon and Thomas Doherty taking the silver.
In an act of good will Athenry woman Linda Waters stepped up to the mark when a Slovenian competitor was missing her doubles partner. Linda played very well and was awarded a Silver medal for her efforts.
Nenagh woman Orla Hogan & Chikoyo White also joined together in the Bowling Doubles event today and successfully secured Bronze for Ireland. Orla said, “It is great day here at the bowling. The craic is mighty and I’m really enjoying it. I even was lucky enough to get a leg massage between matches!”
Transplant Team Ireland proved to be unstoppable in the golf events today with a staggering 7 Gold, 3 Silver and 1 Bronze medals secured by the Irish in various Golf handicap bands against their main competition, the Spanish, the Germans and Finns at the picturesque Krakow Valley Golf and Country Club located on the outskirts of the city
One of the golf stars of the day was newcomer to the team Vincent Bradshaw from Cahir, Co Tipperary who had the best score of the day in Golf and came first in his handicap band. Playing off a 10 handicap, the Liver transplant recipient had a net score of 73 and beat off stiff competition from two Spanish golfers who were placed in second and third. Following his win Vincent said, “It was a tough course. I am absolutely delighted with the outcome. Only for my donor I wouldn’t be here. I found the experience very emotional”.
Also winning Gold in the female category for her gross score was the only Irish female golfer Marie O’Connor from Lahinch (with her 16 handicap), outdoing two Germans who came second and third. Following her success she said, “I am over the moon thanks to the gift I got from my donor, whoever they are, sixteen years ago. Its great to be back with Transplant Team Ireland as the last time I competed with the team was in 2010 when Dublin was the host city.”
Coming first also in Golf for their Gross scores were Donegal man Kieran Murray and Eoghan O’Neill from Newmarket on Fergus. After the competition Eoghan reflected on how greatful he is to his donor, “”I want to thank my donor for the opportunity they have given me to live life to the fullest. Winning a Gold medal in Krakow is fabulous. I am looking forward to taking part in track and field events this Friday despite a knee injury and spending the rest of the week with my extended family that is Transplant Team Ireland in this beautiful city of Krakow”
In an interesting twist Consultant Ron Grainger from Castleknock and his patient James Nolan competed in the same handicap competition which resulted in Ron securing Gold and James securing Silver. Speaking about the golf event, James Nolan, said, “the Irish played brilliantly today in Golf. I was delighted with my second medal at the Games after winning a Bronze in the Summer Biathlon the day before. James who received a kidney from his donor sister 27 years ago said, “I was paired with my consultant Ron Grainger. I was chuffed to see him win the Gold as he is a wonderful surgeon, brilliant doctor and absolute gentleman.”.
Gold medals were also won by members of the team for their net scores including Edward McAuliffe from Portarlington, Dublin and Philip Kavanagh from Arklow. Winning Silver for their net scores were Michael Dwyer, Cabinteely and John McAleer, Antrim. Limerick man and former international rugby player Richard Costello was placed third in his golf handicap category winning a bronze medal for his gross score.
Team Ireland is comprised of 34 athletes including 25 men and 9 women ranging in age from 16 to 76 years and includes 29 transplant recipients (5 liver, 22 kidney, 1 combined Kidney and Pancreas, and 1 bone marrow transplant), as well as five people who are receiving dialysis treatment.
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 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.