Three athletes from the Clonakilty Special Olympics Club are eagerly looking forward to the Ireland Games in Limerick which take place between June 12 and 15 next. Teenagers Patrick Battersbury and Gerard Crowley, both students at Clonakilty Community College, and Leo (Teddy) Buckley from Bandon but working at the Clonakilty COPE Workshop, will participate in Level 1 Golf Skills. Cionnaith Ó Súilleabháin reports.
Leo and Patrick have been members of the club since it was founded in 2005, and Gerard joined about five years ago. All three have already got vast experience competing in Special Olympics Regional Games over the years. They have made huge strides over the years as they hadn’t been golfers before joining the Clonakilty Special Olympics Club, which was founded by people who were involved when Clonakilty was Host Town to the Danish National Team during the 2003 World Games which were held in Dublin that year.
Patrick, Gerard and Leo are well used to the golf courses at Charleville, Ennis and Fota over the years.
Founding Manager and Chairperson of the Clonakilty Special Olympics Club, Rose Dempsey said that the club is extremely proud of the three lads going to the Ireland Games in June. “While we do not want to raise any unrealistic expectations, we believe that Leo, Patrick and Gerard are as good as any other SO Golfers in Ireland and it would be a great honour and boost for us if any one of the three progressed to represent Ireland in the World Games in Los Angeles in August 2015,” she said.
She paid tribute to the athletes and the volunteers who have been the backbone of the Clonakilty Special Olympics Club since it was set up nine years ago. The club committee is constantly trying to provide better support and facilities so that the athletes can attain their maximum potential.
Over the years, Golf Pros Christy O’Donovan, Ian Stafford and Mark Tobin have all provided training support at the weekly Training Sessions at the Rosscarbery Driving Range.
Club Treasurer, John Brosnan, (no mean golfer himself!), takes the Bandon-based club athletes to training sessions at the Bandon Golf Club outside of the Saturday training sessions at Rosscarbery where he is also a great tutor. John’s training with Leo, Gerard and Patrick has intensified at Bandon over recent months as the three athletes up their game in advance of the Irish Games in Limerick.
The athletes will be accompanied by Parents’ Representative Joan Stapleton as Chaperone at the Limerick Games as well as a number of other club members.
Rose Dempsey thanked the local community for their ongoing support for the Special Olympics Club. “The generosity of the people of Clonakilty and surrounding areas to our club is great. It takes a lot of money to keep our club on the road. Our aim at all times is to provide the best facilities and opportunities we can for our great athletes. We are indebted to among many local groups and organisations. This year the Clonakilty GAA Club donated €2,420 from their St. Stephen’s Day Walk this year. Committee member Anthony McDermott has been running a very successful Pub Rings Tournament for the last five years, which realises around €3,000 annually. And last year, Iain O’ Drisoll of Absolute Health and Fitness and Roger Adams of the F1 Fitness Centre combined to produce a fundraising calendar which raised around €4,000. Donal O’ Dwyer of Courtmacsherry, and brother of club athlete Kevin, raised €260 by running in a marathon. More recently a Table Quiz in Nyhan’s Bar, Bandon raised €1,030 to support their ‘local man’ Leo in his bid for glory at the Ireland Games next month.
While the contributions are very generous and we are very grateful to all for their support, our outgoings can also be quite substantial, particularly when athletes are in competitions away from home.
We are lucky to live where we do and to have such generosity and goodwill both financially and morally, with a great team of volunteers and athletes who compliment each other so well,” Rose concluded.
The club always welcomes to participation of new athletes and volunteers. If interested, please contact Manager Rose Dempsey on 087-1189764.
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