20 years ago, Laochra Laoise Special Olympics Sports Club was set up by the Sports Section of Laois County Council. Since then the club has been run by trained volunteers while the club are also especially grateful to Transition Years from St Mary’s CBS and other volunteers who have helped out over the past 20 years.
The club gives the athletes a chance to meet their friends, get fit and learn new skills. Nowadays 40 athletes train and compete in athletics, bowling, floorball and horse riding. They train at St Mary’s Hall, Roll n Bowl, Portlaoise College Track and Kylebrook Equestrian Centre.
Over the years our athletes have competed and been very successful at regional and The Ireland games. Athletes can also take part in the Athlete Leadership Programme, which develops athlete’s leadership skills.
We are also very busy with our Christmas party, Summer party, Sports’ Day and marching in the St Patricks’ Day Parade.
Our 20 year anniversary party is postponed, but at least we are getting to rock our new club tracksuits. Many thanks to assistance from FORSA Laois and Laois County Council.
We are closed at the moment (apart from horse riding), following Covid guidelines but we are looking forward to getting together again soon. The committee would like to express our thanks to members of the community that have supported our bag packing, church gate collection and other fund raising activities. New athletes and volunteers are always welcome. Contact secretary Helen Coughlan, 087 2272128.
Testimonies from Laois warriors;
Eimear: “I like going to the bowling because I get to meet everybody.”
Jim’s Dad Conor: “Special Olympics means a lot to Jim as he gets to meet new people and make new friends. He also gets to play new sports.”
Alex: “I love my club because all the people there are so nice and since its special Olympics everything we do is different and I feel like I’m part of a team that supports each other.”
Edward: “I have lovely friends and I feel like I’m part of the team that supports each other.
Maryclare: “I can’t wait to go back again.”
Sean: “Thanks to Stephen O’Toole and all the coaches for helping with training and giving advice.”
Stephen: “I love Special Olympics because I love basketball and floorball. I like reading the bowling scores with my buddy Alex.”
Moira: “Sports with Special Olympics gives me confidence to be the best I can. It helps me use up some of my energy. I love it.”