Monday 24 October 2016

Irish Olympic heroes to fly home and help young boy, 2, walk

Published 20/04/2015 | 07:54

Olympic medallists Michael Conlon and Paddy Barnes are preparing for Rio 2016
Olympic medallists Michael Conlon and Paddy Barnes are preparing for Rio 2016

Olympic bound Paddy Barnes and Michael Conlan will fly home from Venezuela this week to help a young child walk.

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Barnes and Conlan qualified for Rio 2016 with victories over Finol Rivas and Jose Diaz respectively in Venezuela on Friday night and there first appearance back in Ireland will be on TV3's Ireland AM.

Rory Gallagher is a brave two-year-old kid who has cerebral palsy spastic diplegia and he faces life in a wheelchair unless he undergoes an expensive operation in America.

Sligo Rovers, whose captain Gavin Peers is a cousin of Conlan's, have been active campaigners for Sligo native Rory and now Conlan himself and Barnes will offer their support for the youngster.

Young Rory with his mam Shauna
Young Rory with his mam Shauna

Rory's mother Shauna told the Irish Daily Star: "When we were told that Rory would be in a wheelchair by age three we launched our own search and discovered a leading neurosurgeon in St Louis, Missouri, Dr T S Park, who specialises in treating children with cerebral palsy.

"The surgery he does is not available in Ireland. Rory will be the youngest child from Ireland to undergo the surgery."

And Shauna praised the good work already done by Sligo Rovers and is delighted that two-time Olympic bronze medallist Barnes and London bronze winner Conlan will now back this campaign.

"Because of the Sligo Rovers link to the charity, Michael Conlan, who is the captain's cousin, became involved and Paddy Barnes joined him in the campaign.

"We are so delighted the two are making a meeting with Rory one of their first priorities when they arrive back in Ireland after qualifying for the Olympics.

"Rory is a little battler. He knows he has to make a special effort to walk."

Anyone who wants to help Rory's campaign can text FEET 57802 to donate €2 or log on to

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