independent

Sunday 20 April 2014

Helen to be honoured by GAA

Dunlavin's Helen Kearney will collect an award for her outstanding achievements at the Wicklow GAA banquet later this month.

TRIPLE MEDAL winner at London's Paralympics Helen Kearney is to have her outstanding achievements recognised by Wicklow GAA.

At the GAA banquet honouring its sports stars of 2012, the Dunlavin equestrian champion will receive the committee award reserve for a high achiever from another sport.

Helen, who took the equestrian events at the Paralompics in September by storm, joins the pantheon of 'outside'sports stars honoured by the GAA including boxer Katy Taylor, athlete Fionnuala Britton, former international rugby player Shane Byrne, and soccer boss Pat Devlin from Bray.

The 23-year-old Dunlavin lass brought great honour to her county as she performed superby and was one of Ireland's highest achievers and top medal winners at the Paralympics as she garnered a silver medal and two bronze medals in dressage events.

She secured the silver in individual dressage where her personal best score of 76.7 lifted Ireland's dressage team on to the Olympic podium to be presented with bronze, and she completed her medals hat-trick with another bronze in the free-style competition, bucking what had been a frustrating day for the Irish team.

Helen from Boherboy, Dunlavin, was competing in the Paralympics for the first time and was not in awe of the occasion as she took the Games in Mister Cool's stride.

She had prepared well for the event, had the experience of competing at the highest level of competitions in Britian, France and Belgium, trained at Barbard Delahydes's famed Marlton training centre in Wicklow and she had the temprament to match that of her horse Mister Cool.

Her Paralympic successes won the hearts and admiration of county and country.Despite having been diagnosed with Friedreichs Ataxia, a degenerative neuro muscular disorder, courageous Helan continued to pursue her passion for horse riding, combining her love of equestrian sports with her educational studies, which resulted in her graduating from UCD with a commerce degree.

Ten days ago Helen Kearney and her Paralympic equestrian team were one of the nominees for RTE's sports team award for 2012. The award went to Donegal's All-Ireland football winners.

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