Johnson & Johnson Hosts Special Olympics Athletics at C.I.T
There was great excitement and some fine performances in evidence when the Special Olympics Munster Regional Athletics competition was held at the Cork Institute of Technology track on Saturday 11th. June. 250 athletes from 20 clubs throughout Munster competed in a range of athletics events. Local groups competing included COPE Foundation, Leeside Legends Special Olympics Club, Bandon S.O. Club, Muskerry S.O. Club and Doneraile Rockets S.O. Club.
Following a parade led by members of Carrigaline pipe band, the event was officially opened by the Lord Mayor of Cork, Cllr. Micheal O’ Connell, who welcomed the teams to the fantastic facilities at C.I.T. and thanked the many volunteers from the Johnson & Johnson group of companies for their efforts in organising and running this event. Local Athlete, Gerard Whealey, from COPE Foundation, read the Special Olympics Oath. Other distinguished guests who attended and presented awards included Cork Footballer, Nicholas Murphy , hurlers Tom Kenny and Eoin Cadogan, and Cork Ladies Football star, Juliet Murphy.
There was a high standard of competition in evidence with some excellent performances across a range of events. Event manager, Jackie Ryan, said that she was extremely pleased with the number of athletes taking part which was up on previous years and in particular the number of competitors in middle/long distance track events and in some of the more technical field events. Jackie felt that these positive developments were as a result of the hard work that had been put in over the last twelve months in growing the programme in Munster.
Staff from local companies, Janssen Biological, Janssen Chemical and Depuy had been working on the organisation of this event for the last number of months. They are part of the Johnson and Johnson group who for the seventh consecutive year have come on board as “Friends and Supporters” of Special Olympics Munster. This initiative known as the J&J Special Achievers Club has seen staff from Janssen Biological, Janssen Chemical, Depuy and their sister companies Cordis in Cashel and Vistakon in Limerick playing key roles in the organisation of a number of Special Olympics events throughout Munster over the past six months. Speaking at the opening ceremony Managing Director Janssen Ireland Kyron Johnson, thanked the staff who had volunteered for their commitment and dedication to this project and said that the Johnson and Johnson group of companies were again proud to be associated with this unique initiative which was such a rewarding experience for all involved.
Speaking during the event Ger Deegan, Regional Director, Special Olympics Munster, thanked the many groups and individuals who contributed to making the event a huge success. He acknowledged the ongoing support of Special Olympics Ireland premier sponsors, Eircom and in particular the involvement of staff from local Johnson & Johnson companies who played a key role in the organisation and running of the event.