PICS: Excitement at Dublin Airport as Team Ireland fly out for Special Olympics Games

An 88-strong Irish contingent have left Dublin this morning to represent the country in the Special Olympics World Summer Games in Los Angeles.

PICS: Excitement at Dublin Airport as Team Ireland fly out for Special Olympics Games

An 88-strong Irish contingent have left Dublin this morning to represent the country in the Special Olympics World Summer Games in Los Angeles.

Taking place from July 25 to August 2, 6,500 athletes and 2,000 coaches will represent 165 countries in the Games, along with 30,000 volunteers and an anticipated 500,000 spectators.

Team Ireland athletes will compete in 12 sports: Aquatics, Athletics, Badminton, Basketball, Bocce, Bowling, Equestrian, Football (5 & 11-a-side), Golf, Gymnastics, Kayaking, Table Tennis.

Team Ireland athletes and coaches gather for a selfie. Picture credit: Ray McManus/SPORTSFILE

The Opening Ceremony, to be held on July 25 in the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum - site of the 1932 and 1984 Olympic Games - is expected to attract 80,000 spectators.

The Irish athletes, accompanied by more than 150 volunteers, flew out from Dublin Airport this morning, with scores of well-wishers there to cheer them on.

Team Ulster members ahead of departure. Picture credit: Ray McManus/SPORTSFILE

21 July 2015; Team Ireland’s Laura Ahern, a member of Owenabue Special Olympics Gymnastics Club, from Glanmire, Co Cork, is kissed by her mother Rena. Picture credit: Ray McManus/SPORTSFILE

The team received messages of support from around the country as they headed off to what will be the largest sports and humanitarian event anywhere in the world in 2015.

Team Ireland’s Peter Malynn, a member of St Hilda’s Work Therapy Unit, from Mullingar, Co Westmeath, coach Jackie Monaghan, from Galway, and Team Ireland’s Anne Hoey, a member of Drogheda Special Olympics Club, from Drogheda, Co Louth. Picture credit: Ray McManus/SPORTSFILE

Best of luck to everyone on the team - we will be cheering you all the way!

Team Ireland’s Timothy Morahan, left, a member of South Dublin Special Olympics Sports Club, from Rathmines, Dublin, and one of an 88 strong team. Picture credit: Ray McManus/SPORTSFILE

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