Team Ireland to fore once again as Athens medal haul increases


TEAM IRELAND athletes were bowling people over, bending over backwards and horsing around yesterday at the Special Olympics Summer Games in Athens, picking up 11 medals over the day.

Two Irish men’s doubles bowling teams, one consisting of Paul Bridgman of Cobh, Co Cork, and Michael Hardiman of Tallaght, Co Dublin, and the other made up of Ciarán Mallon of Newry, Co Down, and Jonathon Griffin of Ballinasloe in Galway succeeded in securing gold medals in their respective divisions.

Meanwhile, gymnast Carole Ryan of Newtown, Co Wexford, won two golds following her artistic gymnastics routine while team-mate Laura Rumball from Dún Laoghaire brings home one silver and two bronze medals for her display.

Our equestrian athletes were also in action. John Loughane from Ballinasloe in Galway came fourth in his event while Conor MacGearailt of Athy, Co Kildare, Pamela Collins of Kanturk, Co Cork, and Sally Duffy all took silver.

Steven Yetman of Donaghadee in Co Down also secured a gold medal in his equestrian event.

In soccer, the men’s 11-a-side team put in a winning performance against India securing a 5-1 victory while, Ireland were also successful in the 5-a-side competition beating Finland 2 - 0.

The Irish haul now stands at a total of 34 medals: 10 gold; 19 silver and five bronze, an accomplishment which CEO of Special Olympics Ireland Matt English described as a “fantastic team effort”. He also paid tribute to all the coaches and volunteers who prepared the Olympians and who are supporting and cheering them on.