Big wins at Transplant Games for Irish heroes
IRISH athletes have netted 50 medals -- including 14 golds -- at the European Transplant and Dialysis Games in Croatia.
The 26-strong team was met with a rapturous welcome on Saturday night by family, friends and supporters, days before the London Paralympics begin.
"The Irish team kept its cool to pull off some great performances," team manager Colin White said.
"The experience goes beyond simple sports competitions. The bond between competitors from all countries was palpable and the united desire to express appreciation to organ donors and their families was humbling.
"Just as our Olympians on their return from London 2012 wished us good luck and success, we would also like to pass on our best wishes to our Paralympics Team at the games which commence later this week."
The games are open to people who have received organ transplants or are undergoing dialysis. They aim to promote organ donation, and more than 300 athletes from 28 countries took part. Only France and Slovenia netted more medals than the Irish team which ranged in age from 18 to 74 years.
Team newcomer Alison Honner was revealed as 'Best Female Athlete on Dialysis' at the Games' Gala Dinner closing ceremony.
Last held in Dublin in 2010, the games are open to athletes who received organ transplants including heart, lung, liver, kidney and pancreas as well as people on dialysis.
They competed in badminton, tennis, cycling, darts, golf, petanque, swimming, table tennis, ten-pin bowling, volleyball, mini-marathon and track and field events.