Padraig Harrigtn meets Team Ireland golfers in the lead up to the 2019 World Summer Games


06 Feb 2019
Press Releases

Team Ireland golfers met up with the 2020 Ryder Cup Captain today ahead of their competition in the 2019 Special Olympics World Games in Abu Dhabi this March

It’s a moment every golfer would wish for, today eight Special Olympics Ireland golfers got the chance to meet with 2020 Ryder Cup Captain, Padraig Harrington, before they tee off in Abu Dhabi as they compete in the 2019 Special Olympics World Summer Games this March.

Hailing from across Ireland, the Team Ireland golfing squad features John Keating, Mark Claffey, Andrew Simmington and Mairead Moroney from Co Clare; Simon Lowry from Co Galway and Jill Connery from Armagh.

Dublin’s Phyl Kelleher and Jean Molony from Clare will also join the team as playing partners, and they will be paired with athletes in the alternative shot team play event. 

The golfers are part of a team of 91 Special Olympics Ireland athletes who will compete on the World Stage in Abu Dhabi amongst 7,000 Special Olympics athletes from 170 countries. In addition a volunteer coaching and management team of 39 will support Team Ireland.

There’s high hopes for the team, not least due to the soaring interest in golf, thanks to the continuing success of Irish golfers on the world stage with Irish Golfer Shane Lowry having just won the championship in Abu Dhabi recently.

“Irish golfers are now rated as some of the best in the world. This March, all eyes will be on Abu Dhabi when our inspirational athletes from Team Ireland will be teeing off to achieve personal bests on a world class golf course.

“To represent Ireland is a phenomenal achievement and I would like to wish all of the athletes the very best of luck at the World Games,” commented 2020 Ryder Cup Captain, Padraig Harrington. Harrington is a long-time supporter and world-wide ambassador of Special Olympics and was on-hand to offer some advice and wisdom to the golfers ahead of their trip of a lifetime to Abu Dhabi.

Special Olympics Ireland is first and foremost a sports organisation and charity that supports children and adults with intellectual disabilities. As the World Games gets closer, Special Olympics Ireland is calling on the business community and individuals to help them raise much-needed funds to send the athletes to Abu Dhabi. To cover the cost of sending Team Ireland to the Games, Special Olympics needs to raise a total of €455,000 (€5,000 per athlete).

Matt English, CEO Special Olympics Ireland, said: “2019 is shaping up to be a huge year for our athletes having worked so hard over the past three years to qualify for these Games. The support we get from our partners at eir and Gala Retail Services is invaluable. We still have a funding gap to bridge and I urge companies large and small to show their support for Team Ireland by visiting and getting involved in our support an athlete campaign. The Irish community have been so generous towards us and we are calling on you again to play your part and help make the dreams of our athletes come true.”