Ulster’s Team Ireland skiers were in competition on the slopes for the first time at the Special Olympics World Winter Games in Schladming, Austria today (Monday 20th March 2017).
Ulster skiers Caolán McConville (13) from County Antrim; Sean McCartan (16) from Carryduff, Co. Down and Cyril Walker (46) from Markethill, Co. Armagh came safely through their divisioning rounds, along with fellow Team Ireland teammates, Lorraine Whelan (Co. Wicklow), Laoise Kenny (Dublin) and Niall Flynn (Dublin).
Caolan McConville (Co. Antrim), Lorraine Whelan (Co. Wicklow) and Sean McCartan (Co. Down) took on the intermediate slope at 1138m altitude. Meanwhile Cyril Walker (Co. Armagh), Laoise Kenny (Dublin) and Niall Flynn (Dublin) skied at novice level on Slope Schwaigerhof. The Giant Slalom finals take place on Tuesday morning.
Team Ireland’s Floorballers also put in huge performances. Ireland’s Team 2 rounded off the day with a 4-4 nail biter against Argentina in Graz. The South Americans salvaged a draw with two late goals, but Team Ireland Coach Michael Lynch had nothing but praise for his side.
“That was their best performance of the day,” he said. “These guys are all new to the game. They are improving and have taken away huge experience from this.”
Earlier in the day they fought out a close encounter with Germany before Lorcan Byrne netted a hat trick in defeat to hosts Austria.
Team Ireland Floorball Captain, Thomas Caulfield from Dublin added: “I just want to thank the managers, Michael, Mark and Michael again, and all the Irish fans and Irish Special Olympics athletes for helping us all the way.”
Team 1 had an encouraging day in the competition’s top division. They pushed Switzerland all the way in their second game with Clive Healy (Co. Waterford) to the fore.
The Special Olympics World Winter Games is the largest sports and humanitarian event in the world in 2017. Team Ireland are competing with their largest ever delegation of 26 athletes.
Floorball Round Robin Results – Monday 20th March:
Team 1: Ireland 0-14 Czech Republic; Ireland 1-2 Switzerland 1; Ireland L-L Finland
Team 2: Ireland 3-4 Austria; Ireland 3-4 Germany; Ireland 4-4 Argentina.
To keep up to date with Team Ireland at the Special Olympics World Winter Games, follow Special Olympics Ireland and Special Olympics Ulster on Twitter, @SOIreland @SO_Ulster and on Facebook, www.facebook.com/SpecialOlympicsIreland and www.facebook.com/SpecialOlympicsUlster and search the hashtags, #TeamIreland #Austria2017
Special Olympics Ulster is a year-round sports training organisation and is supported by Sport Northern Ireland.