2016 Paralympics: Meet the 48 members of Team Ireland

All you need to know about the 48 men and women chasing glory for Ireland in Rio

Ireland’s Helen Kearney with her bronze after success on Mister Cool. Photograph: Inpho

Ireland’s Helen Kearney with her bronze after success on Mister Cool. Photograph: Inpho

 

ATHLETICS

Orla Barry (Discus, F57): The 25-year-old has twice competed at the Paralympics, finishing fifth in Beijing (2008) and winning a bronze medal in London (2012). She is the current European champion.

Orla Comerford (Athletics, T13): She has just completed her Leaving Certificate at Loreto, St Stephen’s Green and wants to go to Art College. Turning 19 in Rio this is her first Paralympics.

Paul Keogan (400 metres, T37): He played Gaelic football and soccer with his school St Pat’s, Navan but at 17 got a knock in a match that caused him to have a brain haemorrhage. A former 100/200 metre sprinter, he won three medals at the Cerebral Palsy World Games in Nottingham last year.

Noelle Lenihan (Discus, F38): The 16-year old from Charleville in Cork is the world record holder in her category, a silver medallist at the IPC Athletics World Championships (2015) and the European champion.

Niamh McCarthy (Discus, F41): The 22-year-old Cork girl won a bronze at IPC World Championship in Doha (2015), won silver at the European Championships and is ranked third in the world.

Michael McKillop (1500 metres, T37, right): The triple Paralympics gold medallist - 80 metres in Beijing and 800 and 1500 metres in London - is also the world record holder at both distances. There is no T37, 800 metres in Rio.

Patrick Monahan (800 metres, Marathon, T53): Took up wheelchair racing in 2013, won the Dublin Marathons in 2014 and 2015 and is the Irish record holder at 1.29.44.

Deirdre Mongan (Shot Putt, F53, 54): She won a bronze medal at the IPC Worlds in Doha (2015) and a bronze at the recent European Championships in Grosseto, Italy. She works for the Health Research Board in Dublin.

Jason Smyth (100 metres, T13): Double Paralympics gold medallist at the Beijing and London games in the 100 and 200 metres, he was crowned “The Fastest Paralympian on the Planet” when the won the Rio One Year to Go celebration. Double world record holder, his PB, 10.22 is the second fastest time run by an Irishman.

Greta Streimikyte (1500, T13): One of triplets, she moved to Ireland from Lithuania five years ago, she won a bronze at the Europeans and then knocked almost six second s off her personal best at the AAI National Championships.

CANOEING

Patrick O’Leary (KL3): The 43-year-old lecturer in Organic Chemistry at NUI Galway is Ireland’s first ever representative at that discipline in the Paralympics. He won the B final at this year’s World Championships having previously claimed a bronze at the 2015 European Championships.

CYCLING

Eoghan Clifford (C3, Road - Road Race and Time Trial. Track - Individual Pursuit, C3): Introduced to Paralympic sport two years ago, at the world championships, he won the C3 road racein 2015 he won two world championships titles and a bronze medal.

Colin Lynch (C2, Road - Road Race and Time Trial. Track - Individual Pursuit): He missed out on a medal in London (2012) by one tenth of a second. He has won multiple world titles and this years at the world track championship 3k pursuit took the silver medal.

Katie-George Dunleavy, stoker/Eve McCrystal, pilot (WB Tandem, Road - Road Race and Time Trial. Track - Pursuit and B kilo): They won a silver medal in the world road championships in 2014 and a bronze in the Pursuit at the world track championships in 2015. They are ranked two in the world in the road category.

Damien Vereker, stoker/Sean Hahessy, pilot (Tandem B, Road - Road Race and Time Trial. Track - Pursuit and B kilo): Their best result is a gold medal in a road race and silver in the time trial at a World Cup event in May of this year. Vereker was a recreational cyclist three years ago.

Peter Ryan, stoker/Marcin Mizgakski, pilot (Men’s B Tandem Time Trial and the Men’s B Tandem Road Race): Ryan, a former Tipperary minor hurler and his pilot were a late addition to the Ireland team after an extra place was made available following the IPC’s decision to ban Russian athletes from the Games.

Ciara Staunton (H2, Handcycling Time Trial and Road Race): She was a member of the Irish Wheelchair rugby team before switching sports. Her form this year saw her ranked second.

Declan Slevin (H3, Handcycling Time Trial and Road Race): His initial para-sport was basketball following an accident 10-years ago but inspired by Mark Rohan he took up handcycling four years ago and is ranked fourth in the world.

EQUESTRIAN

Helen Kearney (Grade 1A, Dressage – Team test, Championship test, Freestyle test, above): At the London Paralympics, she won silver and bronze medals and a team bronze medal. She lost her horse Mister Cool to injury last year so she’ll ride Rock n Roll, a 12-year-old gelding.

FOOTBALL (Seven-a-side)

Luke Evans (capt): He plays with Glebe North in Balbriggan, has 50 caps and has scored in excess of 20 goals including the vital one against Argentina that secured Ireland’s place in Rio.

Cormac Birt: The midfielder plays with Realta na Cromoige and will make his debut in Rio.

Tomiwa Badun: The striker is studying sports recreation and exercise at Drogheda Institute of further education and would like to play college football in America.

Peter Cotter: He made his international debut at 16 and now four years on the Corkman is an important member of the squad.

Joseph Markey: Vice-captain and left back, the Monaghan native plays with TEK United in south Dublin and is a credit analyst at Bank of Ireland. He is the most capped player in the squad.

Carl McKee: From Bray in Wicklow the St Fergal’s AFC midfielder is Ireland’s top scorer.

Brian McGillivary: The goalkeeper has won nearly 40 caps and plays his football with Firhouse Clover.

Ryan Nolan: He is the second Bray native who plays with the St Fergal’s club and the striker has a dozen caps and several goals to his name.

Eric O’Flaherty: The 21-year-old is the only player from Connacht and his interests outside of football include training greyhounds.

Aaron Tier: Playing with Limerick’s Star Rovers he is studying Business Studies and Sports Management at Limerick IT.

Dillon Sheridan: He scored eight goals, including two hat-tricks, in the pre-Paralympic tournament in Salou in May. He plays with Ballyfermot FC.

Conor Tuite: The Boyne Harps clubman is studying sports, recreation and exercise at the Drogheda Institute of Further Education.

Ryan Walker: The midfielder is another making his debut in Rio and hopes to qualify as a personal trainer.

SAILING

John Twomey/Ian Costello/Austin O’Carroll (3-person keelboat, Sonar): John is setting a record by competing in his 11th Paralympics, making his debut in the games in the Discus in 1976 and winning bronze (1984) and gold (1988) medals before turning to Sailing in 2000. Ian, from Killorglin, is sailing in his second Games. Austin is a Dublin GP and Dublin GAA star Rory O’Carroll is his nephew; it’s his first Paralympics.

SHOOTING

Seán Baldwin (10m Air Rifle standing, Prone, 50m Free rifle prone and 50m rifle 3x40): A Member of the Irish Defence Forces, he was Ireland’s first Palaympic shooter in London 2012.

Philip Eaglesham (10m Rifle Standing, 10m Rifle prone): The ex-Royal Marine contracted chronic Q fever on a tour in Afghanistan in 2011. He secured his Rio qualification at a World Cup event in Thailand in March.

SWIMMING

Ellen Keane (S9 100m Backstroke, S9 100m Butterfly, SB8 100m Breaststroke, SM9 200m Individual Medley, above): Just 21 years old, she is a two-time Paralympian, finishing sixth in the 100m breaststroke final in Beijing (2008) when 13. She reached three finals in London (2012) and is a world bronze medallist (2013, 2015).

Ailbhe Kelly (S8 100m Backstroke, S8 100m Freestyle, S8 400m Freestyle): The Castleknock teenager reached four finals and set five personal bests in this year’s European Para-Swimming Open championships in Portugal.

James Scully (S5 50/100/200m Freestyle): Fifth in the 200m Freestyle in London (2012) he has come fourth at the world and European championships, won a bronze at the worlds in 2013 and two further bronze medals at the 2014 Europeans.

Nicole Turner: (S6 50/100/400 Freestyle, SB6 100 Breaststroke, SM 6 200m Individual Medley, S6 50m Butterfly). From Portarlington, the Laois athlete, who turned 14 in June, caused a sensation at the Para-Swimming European Open championships in May when reaching six finals, setting nine personal bests and winning three medals, two silvers and a bronze.

TABLE TENNIS

Rena McCarron-Rooney (TT2, Singles): Coached by her husband Ronan, a five-time Paralympian, she won silver at the 2015 European Para Table Tennis Championships and is ranked fifth in Europe.

TRIATHLON

Catherine Walsh/Fran Meehan (Para-Triathlon, PT5): Catherine is a former Paralympic medallist at Pentathlon and Track Cycling, who since London 2012 has successfully transitioned to the Triathlon with her pilot Fran. The have medalled at a host of World Cup events.

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