North Cork trio to fly flag for Ireland at Transplant Games
The North Cork area will be well represented at the 2019 World Transplant Games, with a trio of athletes from the region set to 'go for gold' in the UK next month.
Pat O'Sullivan and Mick O'Shea from Mallow and Michael Kiely from Mitchelstown will be among 39-strong Transplant team Ireland who will be flying the Tricolour at the games, which will take place in Newcastle from August 17-24.
The largest Irish transplant team ever to travel abroad, they will be among 2,000 competitors from more than 60 countries participating in the games.
Kidney transplant recipient Pat, the former manager at Mallow railway station, will be competing in the 100m, 200m, long jump and golf singles and team events in the 50-59 years age category.
He is no stranger to big competitions, having represented Ireland at the 2017 world games in Spain and the 2018 European Transplant and Dialysis Sports Championships in Italy.
The married father of two began suffering from kidney problems in 2002 and although able to manage his condition for over a decade, he eventually had to go on dialysis and received a kidney transplant in 2015.
He said he was looking forward to taking part in the games and meeting new people while at the same time raising the profile of organ donation and transplantation.
"Transplant Team Ireland is like having another family that you can rely on. There is a bond and a friendship in the team that goes beyond just being together at the games," said Pat.
"Growing up I was always interested in sport but between work and my illness, I retired from any active sport when I was just 24. My transplant and involvement in the games has allowed me to get my competitive juices flowing again."
Mick O'Shea, who received a heart transplant in 2017, will compete in cycling (10km time trial & 30k road race), 100m, ball throw and petanque singles events in the 40-49 age category.
A keen sportsman who recently qualified as a PT and fitness instructor, will be taking part in his first games under the Irish flag.
"I can't wait to represent my country in Newcastle. This will be a massive achievement and I want to say a big thanks to my donor family for giving me this opportunity. I'm, delighted to be a part of this very inspirational Transplant team Ireland," he said.
Like Pat, Michael Kiely represented Ireland at the 2017 World Transplant Games competing in golf, swimming and petanque events.
The owner of a successful haulage business, he and his sister Annette Beston underwent a living donor Kidney transplant in 2002 at Dublin's Beaumont Hospital after undergoing three years of dialysis.