Sunday 2 August 2015

Special Olympics athletes light up Limerick with carnival atmosphere

Published 12/06/2014 | 20:22

1,500 athletes and supporters paraded along O’Connell Street before the opening ceremony in The People’s Park. Photo: Sean Curtin Fusionshooters.
1,500 athletes and supporters paraded along O’Connell Street before the opening ceremony in The People’s Park. Photo: Sean Curtin Fusionshooters.
At the parade is Seamus Feeney, Munster Photo: Sean Curtin Fusionshooters. Photo: Sean Curtin Fusionshooters.
At the parade are Eilish Griffin and Catherine Mulkerrin, team Connacht. Photo Sean Curtin Fusionshooters.
Athletes receive a first class welcome to Limerick. Photo: Sean Curtin Fusionshooters.
Special Olympic athletes Hannah Warner ,11, from Island Bridge [swimming] and Anto Scully, Swords [ Basketball] pictured in the drivers cab of the Limerick train. Photo: Frank Mc Grath
Special Olympic athletes, Gavin Kinear [Basketball] from Crumlin with Robert Larkin [Basketball] Lucan and Alahanna Connolly [Bocce] at Heuston station. Photo: Frank McGrath
Special Olympic athlete Tony Ryan from Wicklow Town [swimming ] takes some photos of his team mates before they boarded the Limerick train at Heuston station yesterday. Photo: Frank McGrath
Special Olympic athlete Hannah Warner, 11 from Island Bridge [swimming] pictured in the drivers cab of the Limerick train. Photo: Frank Mc Grath
Special Olympic Athletes Aisling Beacom, from Wicklow [swimming ] with David Johnstone, Cabinteely [Basketball ] and Nicole Redmond, Dundrum [Ten Pin Bowling] pictured before they board the Limerick train. Photo: Frank Mc Grath
Special Olympic athlete Ian Maguire from Greystones [Golf]. Photo: Frank Mc Grath
Special Olympic athletes Lorcan Tully from Lucan and Jonathan Smith from Clondalkin, [both Track and Field athletes]. Photo: Frank Mc Grath
Special Olympic Athlete Sam Kratschmar from Lucan [Basketball] pictured dancing with FlorenceOlufemi-Ojo and Michael Chanda, both members of the Discovery Gospel Choir. Photo: Frank Mc Grath
Special Olympic Athlete Sam Kratschmar from Lucan [Basketball] pictured dancing with CoCo [ Rema Majceol ] and FlorenceOlufemi-Ojo from the Discovery Gospel Choir before he boarded the Limerick train at Heuston station. Photo: Frank Mc Grath
Special Olympic athletes Gavin Kinear [Basketball] from Crumlin with Robert Larkin [Basketball] Lucan and Alahanna Connolly [Bocce] Lucan pictured before they boarded the Limerick train at Heuston station. Photo: Frank Mc Grath

Limerick the City of Culture has thrown its arms open to host the Special Olympics Irish games this weekend.

And the carnival atmosphere in Limerick equals anything the Brazilians can do.

Over 1,500 athletes marching under the banners of the four provinces were given a heroes’ welcome this evening, and their arrival brought traffic to a standstill on O’Connell Street.

Thousands of people lined the streets to give them a loud welcome.

The competitors marched to the People’s Park led by the 40-man strong Special Olympics Torch Run Team made up of members of An Garda Siochana and the PSNI.

Soccer-mad athlete Eoin Gouldsbury (18) from Clondalkin didn’t want to be anywhere else only Limerick this weekend - not even in Sao Paolo.

“No, I’d rather be in Limerick playing five-a-side soccer and to win a gold medal,” he said.

It is his first time to compete in the National Special Olympic Games and he travelled to Limerick with 13 other athletes from his club, the United Warriors in Rathcoole.

Marching bands and street performers added to the festive atmosphere tonight.

In the People’s Park the crowds were entertained by the Munster Rugby Supporters’ Choir and the Shannon Gospel Choir, followed by Kila and Paddy Casey as Limerick native and 2FM’s Will Leahy acted as MC.

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