OLIVER Doherty (38) from Buncrana has just been unveiled as one of the Special Olympics athletes who will be representing Ireland in Golf at the World Summer Games, which are taking place is Los Angeles in July.
Playing golf for almost 30 years, Oliver won gold in Dublin in 2003. He’s a keen sportsman and also likes to play bowls, darts and pool.
One of Ireland’s most successful golfers, Christy O’Connor Junior, and three-time Olympian and former 5,000m World Champion, Senator Eamonn Coghlan joined Oliver at the launch of the Team Ireland Golfing Squad this week, where it was also announced that Gala, one of Ireland’s foremost convenience Groups, has joined Special Olympics as one of Team Ireland’s Official Sponsors.
Hailing from across Ireland, the full line-up for the Team Ireland golfing squad is: Margaret Carr from Sligo; Rosemary O’Reilly from Meath; Trudy Hyland from Cork, Paul Kirrane from Ennis, Oliver Doherty from Buncrana, Leo Brien from Rathdrum, Co Wicklow and from the North, Jill Connery from Armagh.
Ennis’s Patrick Rutherford and Ursula McDonnell from Belfast will also join the team as playing partners, and they will be paired with athletes in the alternative shot team play event.
There’s high hopes for the team, not least due to the soaring interest in golf, thanks to the continuing success of Irish golfers on the world stage.
“To represent Ireland is a phenomenal achievement and I would like to wish all of the athletes the very best of luck at the World Games,” commented legendary European Tour player and Ryder Cup hero, Christy O’Connor Jr who is a long-time supporter and patron of Special Olympics.
Gala, the convenience retailer with 200 stores in Ireland, joined Special Olympics Ireland CEO, Matt English, at the launch to announce the Group’s six figure commitment in helping Irish athletes travel to and compete at the Games.
Matt English, Chief Executive, Special Olympics Ireland adds: “Without the support of our sponsors, it would be financially impossible to fund 88 Irish athletes’ participation in the World Summer Games in LA. This is our first initiative with Gala and we’re thrilled with the partnership, as there’s a natural synergy with local retailers championing their local athletes.”
All of Gala’s stores, including those in Donegal, will be decked out to cheer on Team Ireland at the end of July and exclusive updates from the Games will be delivered via Gala’s social media channels as part of the convenience group’s #GalaSpecialMoment campaign.
From 23rd July – August 2nd, 88 athletes from across the country will be representing Ireland at the 2015 Special Olympics World Summer Games. They will be supported by a 40 strong management team, 200 Irish volunteers, as well as hundreds of family members and supporters who will cheer the athletes on as they compete in Los Angeles.
Team Ireland will join 7,000 Special Olympics athletes from 177 countries for the Games which promise to be one of the sporting highlights of this year. Team Ireland will compete in 12 sports: aquatics, athletics, badminton, basketball, bocce, bowling, equestrian, football (5 & 11-a-side), golf, gymnastics, kayaking and table tennis.