Stars come out to support Special Olympics Ireland as 3,000 volunteers mobilise for annual collection day
Sporting legends from a host of different spheres have come together to support Special Olympics Ireland's annual collection day taking place right around the country.
Up to 3,000 volunteers will be dotted around the country hoping to raise up to €500,000 to help in hosting the national games in Limerick this summer.
The organisation has enlisted the support of some of Ireland's most recognisable sport stars to encourage people to dig deep for such a worthwhile cause.
The funds raised today will also help to maintain their programme of sport and competition for people with an intellectual disability.
Among the people to lend their support is Leinster and Ireland juggernaut Sean O'Brien who knows first-hand what Special Olympics does for those with intellectual disabilities.
His cousin Richard Costello (25) is a Carlow based athlete who has been training with Special Olympics Ireland for more than nine years.
“My cousin Richard is an athlete with two clubs, Delta Centre and Carlow Special Olympics Clubs, and his sports are athletics and bowling," O'Brien said.
"I see how important training and competing is to him and what he gets out of it, the confidence, enjoyment and all the friends he has made. I want to help and support Special Olympics as much as I can because it really does change lives and I find the athletes very inspiring."
O’Brien has called on the sport-loving Irish public to dig deep and support Collection Day, which is sponsored by eircom and sees more than 3,000 volunteers taking to the streets of towns and cities across Ireland.
“Collection Day, sponsored by eircom, is the biggest annual fundraising drive for Special Olympics and I would urge everyone to give what they can to support," he added.
"The generous support of the Irish public means that the thousands of athletes who are currently involved in the Special Olympics programme can continue reap the benefits of participation in sport in their local communities."
Independent.ie also spoke to injured Kerry star Colm Cooper, Dublin legend Brian Mullins, All-Ireland winning manager Mickey Harte, All-Ireland winning captain Anthony Daly and Irish golfer Shane Lowry who spoke of their admiration for the work of Special Olympics Ireland.
The public can support Special Olympics on Collection Day by donating to one of the on-street collectors or by texting the word SPECIAL to 50300 to donate €2. 100 per cent of donation will go to Special Olympics Ireland. Donations can also be made online at www.specialolympics.ie.