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Cork four on transplant team

Thursday, 25th May, 2017 1:00am

Four Cork natives are members of the Irish transplant team that will compete at the World Transplant Games in Malaga this summer.

Twenty-nine Irish atheletes in total are set to travel to Spain for the games, which take place from 25 June–2 July. The four Cork atheletes are Michael Keohane, Patrick O’Sullivan, Michael Kiely and Charlie Ryan.

Liver transplant recipient Michael Keohane will be competing in the 40-49 category in discus, javelin, powerwalk, shotput and badminton.

Patrick O’Sullivan, who received a kidney tranplant in 2015, will compete in the 50-59 years age category in runing, long jump and golf.

Mitchelstown native Michael Kiely, who underwent a living donor kidney transplant in 2012 with his sister Annette Brosnan, is taking part in his first-ever games and he will compete in the 50-59 category in golf, petanque and swimming.

The fourth Cork team member, Charlie Ryan, is a liver transplant recipient and he will compete in the 70-79 age category in darts, petanque and bowling. At the forthcoming World Transplant Games, the 29 Irish competitors will join others from over 50 countries in what will be the biggest gathering of transplant recipients this year - almost 1000 competitors are registered.

Every athlete at the World Transplant Games will have already received a kidney, liver, heart, lung, pancreas or bone marrow transplant.

Colin White, who is the National Projects Manager of the Irish Kidney Association, said: “This year, the World Transplant Games Federation is celebrating 30 years and we can be proud of the tradition that our team has in the competition. Our team is known for its sense of fair play, as well as its sense of fun with both underpinned by a steely competitive edge.

“Our athletes are coming from across the country and their dedication and commitment is not only to their training, in practical terms, they also fund the vast majority of the costs involved.”

This week, members of Transplant Team Ireland were given a motivational talk by Kilkenny hurler Michael Fennelly. Fennelly shared his insights into Kilkenny’s winning ways and his knowledge as a graduate who holds an MSc in Sports Performance from UL.

He said: “It was a pleasure to spend some time with these inspirational athletes who will represent their country at the World Transplant Games.

“I have huge admiration for each and every one of them. Most of us take our health for granted, but these brave people have all faced uncertain futures.

“Their determination and great spirit is to be commended in taking on and enjoying competitive sport as a way of keeping fit, celebrating life and honouring their donors.”

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