Games Spotlights – Open Water Swimming

Ten brave athletes took to the water in Seapoint, Dun Laoighaire on Saturday 16th June, day 2 of Ireland Games, to compete in the very first Ireland Games Open Water Swim competition.

Until now, open water swimming has been a non competitive sport in Special Olympics Ireland. The swim on Saturday was the first time it was included in the 13 sports of and Ireland Games and it is qualifier for the World Summer Games 2019 in Abu Dhabi where Open Water Swimming athletes of Team Ireland will take to slightly warmer waters!

All 10 athletes started together to massive cheers from the gathered crowd. Supported in the water by the Civil Defence and volunteer kayakers and paddle boarders they faced in to a 1000m swim. They were supported from shore by the Seapoint Lifeguards of Dun Laoighre Rathdown and volunteer spotters who kept a close eye on them for the duration of the race.

Heading clockwise around a series of 3 buoys the crowd followed their progress through binoculars and cheered them home from the last buoy.

Three members of the 8th Port Scout Group were on hand to help present the medals along with guests Peter Keegan, CEO Bank of America Merryl Lynch, Gina Quinn, President of National College of Ireland and Sybil Mulcahy from TV3.

Just after the Special Olympics Athletes emerged from the water 3407 swimmers from Leinster Open Sea took part in the annual Garda Swim Club Special Olympics Charity Race.

This event takes place each year to raise funds for Special Olympics Eastern Region, and this year €3,000  was raised.  A special thank you to David Campbell, Clodagh Kiernan and Cathal Middleton from the Garda Swim Club who stepped into management roles for both the fundraising swims and the official Ireland Games swim and ensured that all athletes and swimmers had a safe and enjoyable swim.

After a glorious few hours in Seapoint and spectacular swims from all the athletes they headed back to the National Aquatic Centre to regroup with their fellow teammates and take part in the pool relays.


Name Surname Club City Delegation
Christopher Heverin Cluainin Day Centre Ballina Connaught
Keith Butler Viking Swimmers Special Olympics Club Dublin 12 Eastern
Eoin Donohoe Phoenix Flyers SO Club Swords Eastern
Patrick Egan D6 Special Olympics Club Dublin 14 Eastern
Aisling Beacom  Blue Dolphins Special Olympics Club Wicklow Town Eastern
Eoin Tully Viking Swimmers Special Olympics Club Lucan Eastern
Tony Ryan Blue Dolphins Special Olympics Club Wicklow Town Eastern
Nicole Redmond D6 Special Olympics Club Dublin 16 Eastern
Brendan O’Connell Kerry Stars SO Club Tralee Munster
Connor McClorey Newry City SOC Newry Ulster


Farewell Ireland Games 2018

After 4 days of non-stop action, athletes are travelling back to the four corners of Ireland with medals and memories galore, as the  2018 Special Olympics Ireland Games draws to a close.  There were smiles, tears and many tired bodies as the athletes, coaches and delegations boarded buses home.

Athletes competed in 13 sports and Motor Activities Training, including Athletics, Aquatics, Badminton, Basketball, Bocce, Bowling, Equestrian, Football, Golf, Gymnastics, Kayaking, Pitch & Putt and Table Tennis. 

A total of 2,144 medals (959 gold, 667 silver and 518 bronze) were awarded over the course of the four-day Games, with countless personal bests achieved by athletes from each of the five regions – Connaught, Eastern, Leinster, Munster and Ulster. 

Every single person who attended the Games in any of the venues will have their own stand out moments, their experience that sums up what it means to be part of the most prestigious sporting event of the year and to spend 4 full days with such inspiring people. In the words of President Michael D Higgins,

“you have embraced the expectation that you can succeed, aspire to live the life of your choice, have your voice heard, your talents respected and be defined by your skills and abilities”. 

Commenting as the Games drew to a close, Matt English, CEO, Special Olympics Ireland said:  “A huge thank you to each and every volunteer who went above and beyond their roles this weekend to make sure that our athletes had the time of their lives. And to our athletes, you are the reason for everything we do and it’s no less than you deserve, I hope you are going home happy and proud.” 

Photos from #IrelandGames can be viewed on Flickr

Sunday Schedules

Today is the last day of competition for all our athletes. Some sports have finished up and the athletes have received their medals. There is still a lot of action however so don’t despair!!

Below are the schedules for Day 3. Have a great day and keep tagging us in your photos and stories 🙂

Special Olympics games day 3, Sunday 17th of June 2018. Basketball – Team Connaught Female 1 winning the final

Table Tennis

Athletics Day 3_Athletics Track Schedule
Badminton Day 3_Badminton
Basketball Day 3_Basketball
Bocce Day 3_Bocce
Bowling Day3_Bowling Doubles_Recap_sheets Day3_Bowling Doubles
Football Day3_Football Sunday
Golf Day 3_Golf Schedule
Gymnastics Day3_ Rhythmic Gymnastics Finals
Swimming Day 3_Swimming Schedule
Table Tennis Day 3_Table Tennis Mxd Doubles


Saturday Schedules


What a day we had yesterday! Divisioning is now finished and below are the schedule of events for Day 2 Ireland Games

Tune in to our dedicated Twitter accounts to keep up to date with each sport during the day and also @SOIreland will have all the action as it happens.

Have a great day everyone 🙂

Athletics Athletics_Field_Schedule_16082018


Basketball  SO BASKETBALL Games Day 2 Appointment timetables
Bocce Bocce_Day 2 schedule
Bowling Bowling Team Event_Individuals_Day 2

Bowling Team Divisions_Day 2

Bowling Singles_Day 2

Bowling Singles Condensed Heat Sheets_Day 2

Equestrian Equestrian_Day 2
Football Football sat & Sun – Division 1-4


Football sat & Sun Golf Schedule

Golf Golf Schedule



Gymnastics Draft Rhythmic Schedule _Day 2
Kayaking Kayaking_
Pitch & Putt Day 2 Pitch & Putt
Swimming Swimming Condensed Heat Sheets

Swimming_Day 2

Table Tennis Saturday Timetable TT (2)

Badminton Ireland Games Schedule Badminton

Friday Schedules


The Games are in full swing! In all venues across Dublin athletes are impressing everyone with their skills and joy. Even after a late night at the Opening Ceremony everyone is in flying form and rearing to go here!

The majority of activity today is divisioning with a few finals in some sports . Once divisioning is complete, the Results Team will collate all the results and prepare the schedule for Saturday and Sunday which will be released first thing Saturday morning.

Schedules will be on display in each sports venue and also here on our dedicated Games website.

Please click on the link below to see the full detailed schedules for Friday 15th June.


Athletics Draft Athletics Schedule
Badminton TBC
Basketball TBC
Bocce Draft Bocce Schedule
Bowling Draft Bowling Schedule
Equestrian Draft Equestrian Schedule
Football TBC
Golf Draft Golf L5

Draft Golf L2

Draft Golf L4

Draft Golf Skills Schedule


Gymnastics Draft WAG Schedule 150618 Draft MAG Schedule 150618
Kayaking Draft Kayaking Schedule
MATP Draft MATP Detailed Schedule
Pitch & Putt Draft P&P Schedule
Swimming Updated Swimming Schedule
Table Tennis TBC

Extraordinary Energy at Team Eastern Launch

Making your way towards the National Indoor Arena, something seems different. The natural solitude and general calm of the area on a normal Wednesday afternoon feels disordered. There is a new energy in the air, and it’s getting stronger the closer you get to the state of the art sporting facility. Something is happening. Something big. Something blue. Something special. The closer you get, the clearer the white print across the light blue flags becomes. “Special Olympic Eastern Region”, it reads. And it dawns on you, between the high fives and excited ‘hellos’ amidst an incredibly friendly atmosphere that you have arrived at the fourth Special Olympics Ireland Games team launch.

Team Eastern held their launch Wednesday evening, in the Sport Ireland National Indoor Arena. 401 athletes from Team Eastern attended with their coaches, chaperones and family members. The event is the first time the whole delegation were together for the first time as a group and kitted out in their Team Eastern gear. They were first directed to a professional photo shoot, were a photographer took their pictures in their various sports groups before some of them were interviewed  to reveal some insight into their training, preparations  and excitement of representing their Region at Ireland Games in a mere 2 weeks on June 14th.  The consensus amongst all interviewees, appears to be ‘to have fun’ and try your best.

Before the speeches the delegation took part in a few dance routines, led by their ever energetic and enthusiastic coaches, chaperones and volunteers. Many of whom impressed with their moves, YMCA and the Cha Cha Slide were serious crowd pleasers!

Mick Feehan, Regional Chairperson for Eastern Region was the guest MC at the event and he got the 401 athletes engaged and making enough noise to raise the roof of the Arena!

Mayor of Fingal, Mary McCamley was present and took the opportunity to acknowledge the vital work of the volunteers of Special Olympics Ireland. In her capacity as Mayor she has been promoting 2018 as the year of the volunteer and the effort put in to the launch event, let alone the 80 Team Eastern training sessions over the past few months.

Also speaking was Rebecha McAuley. A badminton player on Team Eastern Rebecha has also been supporting the marketing and PR side of the Games in her capacity as “Athlete face of the Games”. She has attended many events and given plenty of speeches spreading the word about the Games. Speaking to her fellow team mates two weeks out from the biggest sporting of the event of year was no bother to this strong and personable sports star.

Quotes were shared during the speeches, from some of the athletes that will be attending then Games in June. Lorcan Byrne who will be competing in football was quoted by Head of Delegation Lorraine Bracken “Go out as a team, play as a team and come back as a team”. Inspiring words that were received by hundreds of nodding heads and cheers of agreement from everyone in the hall.

As the night drew to a close the realisation started to settle in that the next time we are all gathered back on the National Sports Campus it will be Friday 15th June and competition will be starting. The excitement felt at Team Eastern launch will no doubt carry through to Opening Ceremony and the weekend of the Games.

1,600 inspiring athletes will storm the Dublin venues to participate in 13 sports this summer. Launches similar to this one in the National Sports Campus, have taken place across the country.

Special Olympics Ireland would like to extend an invitation to the people of Ireland, to come visit the Games in June. The largest sporting event in Ireland in 2018 will run from Thursday 14th until Sunday 17th of June. This family friendly event is completely free and take place in venues all across Dublin. For more information please visit

Launch Fever Let Loose in Leinster

A sea of dark blue shirts and jerseys flooded the amazing facilities at the Tallaght Stadium on Wednesday morning. The football arena and the surrounding community got a preview of what to expect on the 14th June, when the opening ceremony for the Ireland Games takes place. 267 athletes from all across the Leinster region descended upon the stadium for the launch of Team Leinster. The event was an opportunity for photos to be taken of the athletes and coaches and for everyone to get together in their uniforms for the first time!

30 May 2018; Members of the Soccer team with former Irish International Kevin Doyle during the Special Olympics Ireland Team Leinster Launch at Tallaght Stadium

In true Special Olympics fashion the launch featured some all-star guests. Leinster rugby stars, GAA heroes and soccer legends were some of the individuals that arrived to support the athletes on their launch day. As the speeches began, the sporting celebrities became the centre of attention among the guests.

That is until the LETR Flame of Hope made its way to the stage, accompanied by members of an Garda Siochana and Leinster athletes. The athletes welcomed the ceremonial torch with a huge round of applause. This energy did not drop at any point during the event. Leinster athlete Jenna Carthy received a similar reception as she took to the stage, standing at the podium positioned in front of a row of balloons spelling out ‘L-E-I-N-S-T-E-R’.

Shane Lowry, Irish professional golfer, lent his voice at the event. “Enjoy every moment”, he advised through the speakers of the room. Again, an amazing response from the excited athletes and delegation. Once speeches concluded, it was time for the photos. Athletes and coaches were separated into County and Sport.

The event itself then came to a close. However, there was one last amazing surprise in store for the already ecstatic athletes. Kevin Kilbane, former professional footballer along with some members of the ‘Off the Ball’ production team, treated the football athletes to some world class tips and tricks in a football masterclass. Team Leinster footballers happily seized the opportunity to play a short match with the Off the Ball team and were not shy in giving Kevin the run around!

And thus, the ceremony eventually came to a close. It is clear that the excitement for the Games are growing by the day.

1,600 inspiring athletes will storm the Dublin venues to participate in 13 sports this summer. Launches similar to this one in Tallaght, have taken place across the country.

Special Olympics Ireland would like to extend an invitation to the people of Ireland, to come visit the Games in June. The largest sporting event in Ireland in 2018 will run from Thursday 14th until Sunday 17th of June. This family friendly event is completely free and take place in venues all across Dublin. For more information please visit

Connaught Catches Crazy Launch Fever



Harry Hasson, the youngest athlete set to represent Connaught in the upcoming Ireland Games at just 9 years old.

Team Connaught was the second delegation to host their Ireland Games launch last Friday 18th May. The fantastic facilities at the Athlone institute of technology hosted 227 athletes along with 104 coaches and delegations. The launch took place on the college’s campus, for the Connaught Ireland Games launch.

Friends, family, guests and volunteers cheered athletes from Galway, Leitrim, Longford, Mayo, Roscommon, Sligo and Westmeath.

John Mulligan from Galway Bay FM, who has an active history with the Special Olympic Ireland organisation, hosted the event. The athletes were led out by local sports stars who made an appearance at the launch.

Westmeath footballer Dessie Dolan, Longford middle distance runner Cian McPhililps, Leitrim footballer Maeve Quinn, Sligo long distnace runner Mary Cullen and Mayo boxing champion Shannon Sweeney, lead their counties athletes to their seats.

The athlete oath, read confidently by Mark Bolger, unsurprisingly recieved an incredible response form the athletes and guests. “Let me win, but if I cannot win, let me be brave in the attempt”, encapsulates the conscientious  shared amongst Mark and his Connaught teamates as the 14th of June draws near. Mark, who is from Galway, will be participating in tenpin bowling during the Ireland Games.

Following the speeches, and some inspiring words from Ireland Games athletes, the Connaught launch followed the Special Olympic spirit, and turned into a huge party.

Local trad band Celtic Cru played some high octane Irish tunes for the audience. The athletes proved that they aren’t just talented in sport, as the athletic track turned into a packed dancefloor.

If the Ireland Games, running from the 14th – 17th June, is anything like the launches preluding the event, then you can expect an incredible weekend of fun.

1,600 inspiring athletes will storm the Dublin venues to participate in 13 sports this summer. Launches similar to this one is Munster, will take place across the country. They will demonstrate the energy and excitement building as the countdown accelerates towards the event.

Special Olympics Ireland would like to extend an invitation to the people of Ireland, to come visit the Games in June. The largest sporting event in Ireland in 2018 will run from Thursday 14th until Sunday 17th of June. This family friendly event is completely free and take place in venues all across Dublin. For more information please visit

Monday Munster Madness

All smiles ahead of the Munster Launch


Last Monday Cork City town hall welcomed the Special Olympics Munster team, to the first official regional launch, in the run up to the Special Olympics Ireland Games in June. 382 athletes from all over Munster traveled to the event along with their delegation and honored guests.

Arriving to the venue, the faces of the athletes encapsulated the joy and excitement felt by each and every person involved in the launch. The ‘Munster’ letters shone brightly on stage as the traditional Irish band played and the athletes entered the main hall. Cork, Kerry, Limerick, Clare, Tipperary and Waterford athletes all took their seats as the show began.

To begin the launch, the Special Olympic Flame of Hope made its way from Anglesea Street Garda Station to the stage, escorted by members of the Law Enforcement Torch Run. A quick word from the deputy Lord Mayor warmed up the crowd, who’s deafening cheers and applause provided a glimpse of the atmosphere that will flood the Dublin Venues in June.

The MC for the night, Keith Cunningham, invited athletes to the stage to discuss their training and love for the Special Olympics. Their teammates and associates screamed with excitement and support as the athletes took to the stand.

Head of delegation Julie Dwyer, representing the Special Olympic staff and volunteer team, turned up the energy when she spoke to the crowd of 800 people, inviting the audience to cheer for Team Munster.

With that, the microphone stand was removed creating a dancefloor for the athletes. Singer Keith Hanley performed some classic rock hits like ‘Guns and Roses, Paradise City’ and ‘The Cranberries, Zombie’. Casadh O’Thuaidh, a young traditional Irish band followed. The athletes jumped at the opportunity to dance the Seige of Ennis and flooded the dance floor. The enjoyment and happiness radiated through the hall, as the volunteers, staff, family members, coaches and officials were shown exactly what the Special Olympics does for the athletes.

You too can become part of this excitement. There are still some volunteer  roles available for the Special Olympic Ireland Games

If you are a resident of Ireland aged 16 or over and are available on the 14th, 15th, 16th and 17th of June 2018, then you can volunteer.

Check out the following link if volunteering in the Ireland Games interests you

Officials needed for gymnastics, athletics & aquatics


All of the athletes competing at the Ireland Games this June have qualified through a comprehensive advancement programme from Area Games in 2016, Regional Games in 2017 and many will hope to qualify for the World Games in Abu Dhabi in March 2019.

Such a prestigious sporting event needs top level officials and this is where you can play your part!

We are urgently looking to recruit sports officials to oversee the competition in Athletics, Aquatics and Gymnastics.

By volunteering to officiate Ireland Games 2018 you will be at the heart of the action, experiencing the

skill, determination and joy of the athletes as they compete at the biggest sporting event of the year.

Athletics will be held in Morton Stadium and with over 300 athletes competing in track and field events it will be a hive of activity. Aquatics will take place in the world class National Aquatics Center and gymnastics will take place in Gymastics Training Center of the Sport Ireland National Sports Campus.


Sport Role  Qualification Needed
Athletics Timekeepers No experience or qualifications needed
 Athletics Starters Starters Licence required
Aquatics Time Keepers Timekeepers Level 1
 Aquatics Stroke Judges Official Level 2
Gymnastics Artistic Judges Artistic Judges qualification
 Gymnastics Rhythmic Judges Rhythmic Judges qualification