IN March, nine Cork athletes will travel to Abu Dhabi to compete in the 2019 Special Olympics World Summer Games.
Part of a 91-strong Team Ireland squad, these athletes will represent their country at the highest level of sporting competition for Special Olympics athletes.
The road to Abu Dhabi started four years ago; this week, the final preparations began in earnest for Special Olympics athletes across the country, with the official launch of Team Ireland for the 2019 World Games.
Taking place between 14-21 March 2019, Abu Dhabi 2019 will be the largest sporting and humanitarian event in the world this year.
Supported by a volunteer management team of 39, Team Ireland will join 7,000 Special Olympics athletes from 170 countries at the Games.
The Cork athletes will represent Team Ireland in four sports.
In athletics, long distance runner Brendan Maguire (38) from Castlemartyr will hope to go the distance in Abu Dhabi, while Roy Saville (27) from the Mayfield suburb of Cork city will compete in his first World Summer Games, having previously competed in floorball for Team Ireland at the Special Olympics Winter Games in 2017 (Austria) and 2013 (PyeongChang, South Korea).
The Team Ireland 7-a side football squad features a strong Cork contingent with Thomas O’Herlihy (34) from Churchfield; Wayne O’Callaghan (25) from Vicarstown; David Dunlea (27) from Douglas; James Hunter (23) from Mallow and Steven O’Leary (28) from Fermoy all on the team.
Meanwhile, Aoife McMahon (39) from Clonakilty, Co. Cork will represent Team Ireland in Table Tennis and Rosarie McCarthy (53) from Togher, Cork city will compete in Tenpin Bowling.