Last week UCC honoured several athletes who represented the College and Ireland at this year’s Special Olympics in Los Angeles. Sean Coleman, a current UCC student and UCC graduates Aoife O’Sullivan and Colm Monaghan were welcomed to the College alongside their families on Wednesday to mark their achievements.
Sean Coleman won a silver medal for swimming coming second in the 25m Backstroke and in the 25m Freestyle. Coleman managed to knock an impressive five seconds of his personal best in the 25m Freestyle to collect his second medal at the games. Coleman also competed in the Irish Swim Relay team.
Aoife O’Sullivan was another to perform very strongly as part of Team Ireland’s nine strong Gymnastics squad earning herself three medals including a Gold and well as two Bronze medals.
Colm Monaghan helped Team Ireland’s soccer team to an impressive fifth placed finish. The side lost out in their opening group game against Bangladesh, but a series of strong results saw them finish the tournament well. Republic of Ireland international and LA Galaxy striker Robbie Keane was on hand as an ambassador to all of Team Ireland, mainly sticking to his expertise with the Soccer team.
UCC President Michael Murphy and Director of Sport and Physical Activity Declan Kidney were in attendance to congratulate the three athletes and discuss their experiences of the Special Olympics. All three athletes have been involved with the University’s CCL (Certificate in Contemporary Living) course with Coleman currently enrolled and Monaghan and O’Sullivan having already graduated.
It total Team Ireland had eighty eight athletes competing at the Special Olympics in Los Angeles supported by a coaching team of forty. The massive efforts of the athletes and volunteers paid off hugely with Team Ireland coming home with forty one placement ribbons and eighty two medals in total. The medal haul included twenty six Gold medals, twenty eight Silver medals and twenty eight Bronze medals. The games also spurred on Team Ireland athletes to best thirty one personal bests.