Medals galore for Olympians

There were medals galore for all the Laois athletes at the Special Olympics in Athens, last week.

There were medals galore for all the Laois athletes at the Special Olympics in Athens, last week.

It was a nail-biting finish for Mark Whelan and Patrick Doyle, as their 5-a-side football final against Cyrpus went to penalties, but the green, white and gold eventually won out.

Although they faced tough competition from Cyrpus, Finland and East Timor, the Irish team sailed through to the final without conceding any goals.

And both Mark and Patrick played in the final.

“We are absolutely delighted,” Ann-Marie Byrne from the National Leaning Network said.

When contacted by the Leinster Express on Tuesday morning, Ann-Marie was en route to Dublin airport with the boys families to meet the athletes when they returned.

“The families are really looking forward to seeing them now.”

“They had a great time and apart from training they loads done. They went shopping and went travelling around and met a lot of celebrities.”

The two other Laois atletes also enjoyed medal success at the games.

Portarlington’s Darren Farrelly was part of the men’s 11-a-side football team that won bronze.

The team suffered 4-1 defeat to Turkey in the opening game but bounced back in style with a 5-1 victory over India which was followed by a hard-fought 3-2 win over Australia. Ireland’s 1-1 draw against Great Britain in their final game was enough to claim the silver medal.

Speaking on Tuesday afternoon, Darren said he played in all the games and was delighted with his win. He enjoyed the overall experience in Greece.

“We got one day off and we had a look around the city centre,” he said.

Meanwhile, Teresa Maguire representing the Moore Abbey club will be proud of her performance in the kayaking competition where she won bronze. Teresa will add this medal to the three other medals she won at the 2003 World Games in Dublin.