independent

Wednesday 24 April 2019

'It's amazing to have the medal ...everyone is asking to see it!'

Bray men Paul Condren (front, second from left) and coach Graham Hillick (standing, far left) from the bronze medal-winning soccer team celebrate at Dublin Airport as Team Ireland arrive back in Dublin Airport last Friday following a very successful Special Olympics World Games in Abu Dhabi.
Bray men Paul Condren (front, second from left) and coach Graham Hillick (standing, far left) from the bronze medal-winning soccer team celebrate at Dublin Airport as Team Ireland arrive back in Dublin Airport last Friday following a very successful Special Olympics World Games in Abu Dhabi.

Mary Fogarty

Goalkeeper Paul Condren (30) was one of the athletes to return to a hero's welcome at Dublin airport last Friday, after the Special Olympics World Games in Abu Dhabi. Also from the north of the county was Delgany's Rukky Atiyota (18), who represented the country in basketball.

Bray man Paul and his team won bronze in the football, after some exciting games, great sportsmanship, and the experience of a lifetime.

'It was a great experience,' said Paul, who was out there for two weeks in total.

In the division section of the tournament, they beat Germany twice, two-nil and one-nil, and were defeated by Aruba one-nil.

In the group stages, it was Ireland 3-1 to Aruba and 1-0 to Estonia, and they took a three-nil blow with Iceland.

They were all thrilling games and it was great being out there with all the lads.

Man United fan Paul unfortunately missed some of the reds games during the Special Olympics as they were on in the middle of the night over there.

Paul insisted on getting back to work on Saturday, where his proud employers at SuperValu in Greystones had a banner up to congratulate him.

'Everyone was asking to see the medal,' said Paul. 'It's amazing to have the medal and it was my first time ever getting to the world games.'

For months prior to the games he didn't think he made the squad, but was delighted to answer the call when it came and to don the green jersey for his country.

'I got called up late,' he said. 'It was a very exciting experience. I got along with all the other football players on the other teams and made loads of friends.'

His dad Mick and Mick's wife Catherine went out to cheer him on in Abu Dabi, and at home his sister Yvonne and brother David couldn't have been more proud of their talented brother.

'We are all absolutely thrilled for him and the team,' said Yvonne. 'We are super proud of all of them.'

On returning home after an eight-hour journey, Paul was exhausted so the celebrations extended to a trip to McDonalds and a well-earned rest

'We are all over the moon,' said Ann Daly at SuperValu in Greystones. 'It is fantastic. Everyone in Greystones loves Paul. He brought in his medal on Saturday and every customer wanted to see it.'

Paul is a member of Lakers, where team coach Graham Hillick also works. The staff, volunteers and members are all thrilled that Paul has brought home a medal and represented the club, Bray and his family so tremendously.

Bray People

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