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Wednesday 30 July 2014

Limerick rivals Rio for fun as the Special Olympians parade

Majella O'Sullivan

Published 13/06/2014|02:30

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84-year-old Limerick woman Maureen Cross kisses the hand of Jack Conneely, wishing him luck in the games. Picture: Sean Curtin Fusionshooters.
84-year-old Limerick woman Maureen Cross kisses the hand of Jack Conneely, wishing him luck in the games. Picture: Sean Curtin Fusionshooters.
The 1500 strong athletes and supporters paraded along O’Connell Street before the opening ceremony in The People’s Park, which kick-starts the three days of Games.
Picture: Sean Curtin Fusionshooters.
The 1500 strong athletes and supporters paraded along O’Connell Street before the opening ceremony in The People’s Park, which kick-starts the three days of Games. Picture: Sean Curtin Fusionshooters.
Andrew Murray, Eastern Team. Picture: Sean Curtin Fusionshooters.
Andrew Murray, Eastern Team. Picture: Sean Curtin Fusionshooters.

The carnival atmosphere in Limerick this weekend equals anything the Brazilians can do, as the City of Culture opens its arms to the Special Olympics.

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More than 1,500 athletes marching under the banners of the four provinces were given a hero's welcome when they brought traffic to a standstill on O'Connell Street last night.

Thousands of people lined the streets clapping and cheering on the competitors, who marched to the People's Park led by the 40-man Special Olympics Torch Run Team, made up of members of An Garda Siochana and the PSNI.

They represented clubs and communities from all over Ireland and shared a common goal – to have the time of their lives and hopefully even bring home a medal.

Andrew Murray (22), from Blackrock Flyers, couldn't wait to play his first game of golf today, while Athlone's James Carr (25) was flying the flag for Team Connaught as part of its basketball team.

Barry O'Regan, from Ennis, is a seasoned Olympian, while soccer-mad Eoin Gouldsbury (18), from Clondalkin in Dublin, didn't want to be anywhere else but Limerick this weekend – not even in Sao Paolo. Swimmer Alva Kilberd, from Stewarts in Palmerstown, said her priority was to enjoy the games.

Liam Fenton is a proud Limerick man this weekend, and is representing the Brothers of Charity in the host city in the golf competition. Special Olympics chief Matt English thanked the people of Limerick for their extraordinary support.

Irish Independent

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