Special Olympics News 2003

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Martina Walsh shows her Bowling Ball to the junior classes of Scoil na mBuachaillí.

‘All six parish national schools helped three athletes enjoy and participate fully in the special Olympics World Summer Games’ writes Teresa Neylon.

The 11th Special Olympics World Summer Games took place in Ireland from the 21st to the 29th of June. Our country hosted 7,000 athletes with learning disabilities representing over 160 countries. One of the major funding initiatives for this event was the “The Support an Athlete Programme”.

This Programme allowed people to engage with an individual athlete, learn the success story behind their participation and their progress during the games. It cost €1,000 to sponsor an athlete for this big event.

“Share a feeling”

The staff of Scoil Chroí Naofa decided to invite all primary schools in the Athenry Parish to “Share a Feeling” by supporting an athlete for the games. We received a wonderful response from all schools. Coldwood National School, Scoil na mBuachaillí, Lisheenkyle and Scoil Chroí Naofa had a “No uniform day”. St Oliver Plunkett National School had a Sale of Work and Carnaun National School fundraised via Sponsorship cards.

Team Ireland Bowling Team with their Head Choach, Veronica Murray, far right in white, awating the bus to the Closing Ceremony

The following is an account of money fundraised in the Parish to support an Athlete for the Special Olympics World Summer Games:

Carnaun National School – €500.00

St. Oliver Plunkett’s National School, Newcastle – €363.00

Scoil na mBuachaillí’ – €172.00

Coldwood National School – €200.00

Lisheenkyle National School – €100.00

Scoil Chroíi Naofa – €736.00

The grand total of €2,071.43 was forwarded to the Support an Athlete Programme, Special Olympic Fund from the Athenry Primary Schools. Head Office informed us that we were allowed to sponsor three athletes.

Athletes’ visit

The staff of Scoil Chroí Naofa was very fortunate to have a member of the staff, Veronica Murray, as head coach for the Ireland Bowling Team. The Athenry Primary Schools sponsored the following three athletes on her team, Martine Walsh, Padraic Maher and Teresa Keane,

The three athletes and two of their colleagues on the Irish Bowling Team, Ciara Joyce and Padraic Mulroy visited Scoil Chroí Naofa on the 9th June.

Representatives of staff and pupils from all schools were invited to “Share the Feeling”. It was an historic occasion.

Warm welcome

The Athletes were accompanied by: Teresa Ward, Chairperson of the Special Olympics in Connacht and Linda Herity, Assistant Coach. Our visitors received a wonderful welcome to Athenry. The Medieval Town Band greeted them. Sr. Leo, Chairperson of the Board of Management of Scoil Chroí Naofa, Canon King and Joe Shaughnessy, Photographer from the Connacht Tribune, were amongst the crowd. Veronica Murray interviewed each of the athletes and everybody got to know them. All the staff and children sang the “The Fields of Athenry” and the Athletes Song “May we never say Goodbye”. The Parents Council of Scoil Chroí Naofa very kindly funded this occasion. Each of the athletes and Veronica Murray were presented with certificates as mementoes of their visit to Athenry. it was a memorable day.

The Athenry Primary Schools  wished the Athletes and their coach, Veronica Murray, every success in the Special Olympics World Summer Games 2003

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About this record

Written by Teresa Neilan

Published here 02 Feb 2024 and originally published Summer 2003

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