Transplant Team Ireland return to Dublin Airport and heroes welcome

Transplant Team Ireland has flown back into Dublin Airport after an unforgettable week at the World Transplant Games in the UK.

Transplant Team Ireland return to Dublin Airport and heroes welcome

Transplant Team Ireland has flown back into Dublin Airport after an unforgettable week at the World Transplant Games in the UK.

There was a rousing welcome from family, friends and supporters as the team arrived home with 50 medals - 17 Gold, 18 Silver and 15 Bronze.

Competing for Transplant Team Ireland were 29 men and 9 women ranging in age from 16 to 81.

They have all received transplants including 1 heart, 1 lung, 1 bone marrow, 4 liver and 31 kidney.

Bone Marrow transplant recipient Trevor Lynch from Limerick enjoyed a very successful week at his first World Games taking a bronze in the 1500m race and a Bronze for the 800.

He said “running with the Irish Transplant Team is such an honour, the team is one big family and I love it.”

John Moran, 61, a kidney transplant recipient secured a remarkable five medals including three Gold and two Silver.

John this year celebrates the 34th anniversary of the living donor kidney transplant from his brother Frank.

Golden girl Deirdre Faul, a liver transplant recipient also won five medals at the Games.

She broke two World Transplant time records in Swimming at the 100m Breaststroke and the 400m freestyle events and she also was awarded with a Silver in the 50m Breastroke and 200m Freestyle.

The 51-year-old defended and won her World Transplant title in Squash, her seventh in a Row since her first win at the 2007 games.

The youngest Team Ireland member was 16-year-old Jack O’Brien from Navan, Co Meath who bagged three medals, a Silver in Darts, a Bronze in the long jump and another Bronze in the 200m sprint achieving a personal best time of 26.53 seconds.

Jack said, “This week has been great, it’s been brilliant to be a part of Team Ireland at my first World Transplant Games and it’s certainly been great craic.”

Having already won Gold in Golf earlier in the week Marie O'Connor leaped to secure a second medal, a Bronze in the Long Jump.

She said, "It was very unexpected. I'm so grateful, this medal is for my kidney donor. A huge thank you to everyone. I've really enjoyed meeting everyone and the support has been fantastic. It's great to have a second chance and to meet new and old friends."

The last medal won was a Silver by a newcomer to the team Thomas Flannery, a lung transplant recipient who came second in the Javelin event.

He also won a Gold medal in the Shot Putt event watched on by family.

After his final event he said, "When I stand back and think about everything I'm delighted as I think of the health journey I have travelled over the last few years."

Team Captain Harry Ward, a kidney transplant recipient competed in the Pétanque, Darts and Bowling events during the week.

As the Games came to a close Harry said, “it’s been a great week, the team spirit has been strong and the wonderful supporters have been willing and able to do whatever was asked of them at a moment's notice. Each and every athlete gave it their best and was ready to support the next team member that was up for competition.

"It was great to have all the newcomers to the team this year, and their supporters all joining us for the first time. They all slotted into the team like they had been here for years. It’s been wonderful to have my wife Mary here with me also. All the events were very well organised and all of the Team's nineteen volunteers and supporters were excellent.”

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