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Bridie Nicholson wins big at European Championships

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Sligo's Bridie Nicholson enjoyed great success at the recent European Transplant & Dialysis Sports Championships in Finland.

Bridie won a bronze medal on the opening day of the tournament in her age category in darts.

That wasn't all though, as there was much more success to come for Bridie who is a long standing member of Team Ireland.

ON Tuesday, defending her winning title was Bridie Nicholson, a kidney pancreas transplant recipient from Sligo who was pipped to the post by another Ireland athlete competing in the 50-59 years age category, Marie O'Connor, a kidney transplant recipient from Lahinch who secured gold with Bridie coming in second place and adding a silver medal to a large haul she has accumulate over previous European & World events over the past decade.

After the competition, Marie O'Connor said, "I am ecstatic. This Gold is for my donor.

"A big thanks to them for giving me the opportunity to be here. It's brilliant to be part of this wonderful team. It's great to beat the world champion Bridie. It was a very close match."

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Bridie Nicholson said of the Petanque qualifiers and final, "I am delighted to have won the silver.

"They were all very tough matches. It is a privilege to be representing the pancreas/kidney patients. It's a time to remember my donor, the medical people that look after me and other members of the team.

"I've met a lot of people at other transplant games events over the years and it's nice to reconnect with them here in Vantaa."

The pair may have played one another earlier in the day, but they put that aside later on.

The unstoppable duo, Bridie Nicholson and Marie O'Connor took first place together in the Petanque Doubles event securing a gold medal each.

On Thursday, Tallaght man Lenny Ryan and youngest Team Ireland member Matthew McNeive (age 18) from Mayo, Sligo's Bridie Nicholson and Linda Waters from Athenry all put in fantastic performances at the Bowling event and thoroughly enjoyed the day.

Transplant Team Ireland which comprises 22 men and 6 women includes 22 transplant recipients (4 liver, 17 kidney and 1 combined kidney/pancreas) and six athletes that are receiving dialysis treatment.

The 9th European Transplant & Dialysis Sports Championships involve close to 500 participants from 25 countries throughout Europe. Every athlete at the Games will either have already received a kidney, liver, heart, lung, pancreas or bone marrow transplant.


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