Thousands to line streets as Special Olympics begins

Thousands will line the streets of Limerick this evening to greet torch bearers drawn from An Garda Síochána and the PSNI to herald the opening of the Special Olympics Ireland Games.

Thousands to line streets as Special Olympics begins

The 1,500 athletes from across Ireland will take part in a parade along O’Connell St ahead of the ticketed opening ceremony in the People’s Park.

The parade will begin at Shannon St at 6pm and progress along O’Connell St before making its way in to the People’s Park.

The ceremony, presented by 2FM DJ Will Leahy and featuring traditional music act Kila among others will start at 6.30pm.

Welcoming the team into St Joseph’s Foundation was Gary Mulcahy with Michaela Moloney and Marion O’Grady. Pic: Sean Curtin

Special Olympics Ireland chief executive Matt English said: “The people of Limerick have shown extraordinary support to Special Olympics Ireland during the long build-up to the 2014 Games. From local businesses getting behind the fundraising drive, to people signing up as volunteers, every call to action has been answered.

“We are now very much on the home stretch and I would take this opportunity to invite the people of Limerick and further afield to come out and support all of the athletes taking park in the Games during the street parade. It will be a fantastic occasion and the perfect platform from which to launch the Games.”

In a first for the Special Olympics, athletes from each of the five delegations and the coaches that make up the 2014 Games will also take part in the parade.

Leading a torch run of bearers drawn from the Gardaí and PSNI across the bridge at Killaloe into Ballina was local hero Niall Healy. The games run from today until Sunday at venues in Limerick, Clare and Tipperary. Pic: Sean Curtin

The Garda/PSNI torch runners will also be joined by the Garda Mounted Unit and motorbike and mountain bike officers from North and South.

On reaching the entrance of the People’s Park, the Torch Run team will create a guard of honour as the 1,500 athletes parade through the city.

Over the course of the Games, which continue until Sunday, athletes will compete in 13 sports in venues throughout Limerick, Clare, and Tipperary.

University of Limerick will host athletics, aquatics, basketball, football, gymnastics, kayaking competitions, and the non-competitive motor activities training programme. Across the city, the Tailteann Sports Centre in Mary Immaculate College will host the badminton and table tennis while the Delta Sports Dome will host bocce.

The equestrian competition takes place in Clonshire Equestrian Centre. Ennis Leisure World will host the 10-pin bowling while Murroe Pitch & Putt and Ballykisteen Golf Club in Tipperary will host the pitch & putt and golf competitions.

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