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SportsAbility Seminar

SportsAbility Seminar an ENORMOUS SUCCESS.


This event was hosted by the Cork SportsAbility forum in association with Cork Institute of Technology on Wednesday evening February 24th. A special line-up of speakers were scheduled for those lucky enough to attend. The seminar opened with Ona McGrath from the Department of Sport, Leisure & Childhood Studies at Cork Institute of Technology saying "we are delighted to host this seminar at CIT in collaboration with Cork Sports partnership and Cork Sports-ability forum group. The seminar aims to bring together people with an interest in promoting sport, physical education and physical activity for individuals with varying levels of ability. It is a wonderful opportunity to network and see what is available in relation to inclusive sports and physical activity in Cork city and county". 

The first speaker of the night was Sinead Kane who is a visual impaired athlete and qualified solicitor. Sinead is a member of Leevale AC and spoke about her experience of participating in athletics events and the challenges she has overcome on her journey.   

Following Sinead came a “Road to Rio” questions and answers session. MC on the night Julie O’ Leary asked Paralympic Medallist Orla Barry and World Championship medallist Niamh McCarthy about their first experience of athletics and how preparations are going for this summer’s Paralympic Games. Niamh McCarthy stated “at the minute I am just focusing on qualifying for this summer’s Paralympic games. The team will be announced this July, until then I will continue to train hard and do my best to be selected”. Orla Barry was asked about her weekly training schedule, “I am lucky enough to be able to train full time, my coach is based in Wexford so I normally travel there a number of times each week along with my own gym programme”.       

The third speaker was former Cork Football player and manager Conor Counihan. He gave an insightful perspective into the importance of sport and how it brings the community together. He continued to say “in my own club we make every effort to include people of all abilities. The GAA is the heart of every community and having a culture where everyone is welcome is very important”.   

Photo Caption

Back Left to right, Colm Monahan, David Saunders, Conor Counihan, Trudy Hyland.

Front Left to right, Niamh McCarthy, Orla Barry (Sports Ability Forum Ambassador), Julie O’Leary, Sinead Kane.

The audience were very much engaged for the second interview session “World Summer Games Experience” with international athletes Colm Monahan (Football) and Trudy Hyland (golf). Here they spoke about their experience of representing Ireland at the World Special Olympics Games in Los Angeles in 2015. Colm began by telling the audience that his love for sport began when he joined the local gymnastics club and he later joined the Ballincollig Gunners Soccer team. He continued to say “I enjoyed playing in goal for my country in Los Angeles and meeting Robbie Keane”. Trudy Hyland played golf at the games, she stated “I enjoyed the nice weather and meeting other athletes from all over the world”. She continued to say “it is important for children to get involved in sport as young as possible”.

The final speaker on the night was Irish International Amputee Footballer David Saunders. Born in county Kerry, David began playing amputee football in October 2011 after an illness resulted in him having his left leg amputated. David captained the Irish Squad at the Amputee World Cup in Poland in 2012 and is currently working in Cork as a primary school teacher. He is keen to promote amputee football and explained the work of the Irish Amputee Football Association the development of the junior & senior squads. He informed the audience of a documentary “Leg Off, Game On” that will be aired on RTE on Wednesday March 2nd at 11:35pm.   

The next big event for the Sports Ability forum is the Cork Sports Ability Day which will take place on April 9th at the UCC Mardyke Arena Cork from 12 – 3:30pm. This promises to be an exciting day of sport come & try sessions and information stands. The organising committee are delighted to have Micheál O Muircheartaigh as our special guest. For anyone with an interest in sport the Sports Ability Day is not to be missed. For further information log on to www.corksports.ie    



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