Wednesday 22 May 2019

Balbriggan manager leads transplant golf team to great victory

A jubilant Ireland team of five transplant recipient golfers led by a team manger from Balbriggan touched down in Dublin airport recently after winning the 5 Nations Transplant Golf Tournament which was held in Livingston, Scotland.

It was a timely victory for the Irish transplant recipients who all paid tribute to their organ donors after winning the overall team prize - the 5 Nations - for their combined score on the final day of Organ Donor Awareness Week 2019.

The team included one liver transplant recipient Philip Kavanagh from Arklow, Co Wicklow, and the remaining four are kidney transplant recipients, including Dubliners Michael Dwyer from Cabinteely and Ron Grainger from Castleknock and also Michael Kiely from Mitchelstown, Cork and Tony Gavigan from Navan, Co Meath.

Following their win four of the team thanked their deceased organ donors and Corkman Michael Kiely credited his living kidney donor sister Annette for making their victory possible. Supporting the men at the Games was their Team Manager, Colin White from Balbriggan.

Tony Gavigan won the warm up competition on the Friday. Tony's deceased son, Kyle's organs were donated and just a few years before Tony discovered he would require a kidney transplant and be reliant on a deceased donor. Ron Grainger, a retired consultant urologist, and Fit for Life Ambassador for organ donation, is no stranger to success as he has represented Ireland previously winning numerous medals at previous European and World Transplant Games events.

Michael Dwyer, who last month celebrated the 19th anniversary of his deceased donor kidney transplant, won the longest drive and finished 3rd in the individual competition on Saturday.

The annual 5 Nations Transplant Golf Tournament brings together teams from Ireland, England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland and is organised on a rotational basis by each country. This year's event was hosted in Livingston, Scotland at the Deer Park course with a warm up event on Friday April 5 and the 5 Nations on Saturday the 6th.

Speaking about the win, Ireland team manager and Balbriggan man, Colin White, expressed his delight at the result and was delighted with the team spirit. He said: 'It was a most enjoyable and well organised event and great competition experience for our golfers going to this year's World Transplant Games in Newcastle in August.'

Ireland will be hosting the next 5 Nations Transplant Golf Tournament and will also be hosting the European Transplant and Dialysis Sports Championships in August 2020.

The Irish Kidney Association are keen advocates for health and physical activity promotion. It is an important part of pre and post transplant care and an opportunity for the individuals to play an active role in their own health care.

This year's Organ Donor Week was to remind individuals to talk to their families about their organ donation wishes.

Fingal Independent