Tallaght launching Special Olympics Ireland Games

TALLAGHT Stadium will today (Thursday) provide the backdrop to the official opening of the 2018 Special Olympics Ireland Games.

President of Ireland Michael D Higgins will perform the opening, which will mark the start of three full days of competition in what is set to be one of the largest and most prestigious sporting events to take place on these shores this year.

Mayor of South Dublin Co Coucil Paul Gogarty Special Olympics athlete and face of the 2018 Games Rebecha McAuley and singer Jake Carter

Mayor of South Dublin County Council Paul Gogarty, Special Olympics athlete Rebecha McAuley and singer Jake Carter in Tallaght Stadium

Indeed 1600 Special Olympics athletes, supported by 600 coaches and official delegates and 2500 volunteers, will take part in 13 sports and Motor Activities Training.

Returning to Dublin for the first time since 2002, the Special Olympics Ireland Games will see a huge number of local athletes participating.

Palmerstown Wildcats, who boasted three players on the Ireland squad that won gold in the 2015 Special Olympics World Games in Los Angeles, will have 18 in action over the weekend.

This year’s Games will also incorporate an Open Water Swimming event for the first time, and Team Eastern will have seven taking part, including Viking Swim Club’s Eoin Tully and his clubmate Keith Butler who represented Ireland in LA.

Among the other local clubs set to be represented in the Games will be Lucan Special Olympics Club, Cheeverstown House, Stewarts Care, South Dublin Special Olympics, Speisialta, Tallaght Tornadoes, South Dublin Strikers, United Warriors, Flying Trojans and Metro South.

And among the venues being used for the running of the various competitions will be Cherry Orchard Equine Centre in Ballyfermot and Salmon Leap Canoe Club.

Looking ahead to, what should prove, a fantastic weekend, Matt English, CEO Special Olympics Ireland said “We are looking forward to what promises to be our biggest and best ever Ireland Games as we celebrate our 40th anniversary”.

“The opening ceremony is set to be a colourful, energetic and inspiring event, helping to kick off Ireland’s biggest sporting event of the year.

“I would like to sincerely thank all of our special guests and performers for their ongoing and vital support. Most importantly, I wish all our 1600 athletes a most enjoyable and unforgettable few days in Dublin.”

The Opening Ceremony will feature exciting performances from well-known Irish acts such as Irish Folk Duo, Hudson Taylor and pop singer, Jake Carter.

Ireland’s Got Talent finalists, Xquisite Dance Group will also feature in an energetic performance and leading Irish DJ and record producer, John Gibbons, is set to raise the roof with a Decades Disco, celebrating 40 years of Special Olympics in Ireland.

During the weekend of the Games, various cultural and entertainment items will be organised, giving athletes, families, volunteers and the public an opportunity to experience a true Olympics-style event. 

The athletes will also be able to avail of a Healthy Athlete Screening Programme and participate in other health related activities throughout the weekend.

The public can keep up to date with the news on the Special Olympics Ireland Games 2018 on Twitter, following @SOIreland and the hashtag, #IrelandGames.

Further updates will be posted on the Special Olympics Ireland Facebook page,  facebook.com/SpecialOlympicsIreland/

For further information about Special Olympics Ulster and the Special Olympics Ireland programme, visit www.specialolympics.ie 

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