Sunday 20 August 2017

'If you don’t fall off you’ll never learn' - Equestrian Patrick Monaghan on his Special Olympics dream

Patrick Monaghan taking part in the Special Olympics Eastern Regional Equestrian Event
Patrick Monaghan taking part in the Special Olympics Eastern Regional Equestrian Event
Allison Bray

Allison Bray

Patrick Monaghan is a strong believer in the old adage "if you fall off your horse, get right back on".

And true to form, he dusted himself off and got right back on his horse again after taking a tumble during the  equestrian regional  finals for next summer’s Special Olympics Ireland event.

"I love falling. It’s great when you fall and get up and do it all over again," he said as after taking part in the independent riding and walk, trot and canter event at the Cherry Orchard Equine Centre in West Dublin today.

Despite the glitch, he is hoping to be selected for the equestrian team which will compete in the Irish games taking place across Dublin next summer.

"I’ll keep my fingers crossed that I’ll get to compete," said the 57-year-old native of Ballyfermot.

He has already won gold, silver and bronze medals in previous summer Special Olympics games in Beijing and Paris for swimming, running and basketball.

And he hopes to add more hardware to his collection if selected for the equestrian event.

"I’ve never done it before. But please God, if I get picked, I’d have a go at it," he told Independent.ie.

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And he doesn’t mind any bumps along the way.

"I don’t mind coming off. It’s great fun. If you don’t fall off you’ll never learn even though the first time can be a bit scary. But once I’m up, I’m happy as Larry," he said.

Communications Minister Denis Naughten, who handed out 16 medals to participants at the event yesterday, said he is happy to lend his support to the charity as a member of cabinet.

"It’s important that we recognise Special Olympics the same way we do with other sports. There is a great affinity right across the country with Special Olympics on foot of the 2003 World Games that really got everyone involved."

And coming from the West of Ireland where he  grew up with ponies in the yard,  he said he was especially delighted to lend his support to the equestrian athletes, who range in age from 13 to middle-age.

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