Five Laois athletes are in line to represent Ireland at the Special Olympics in 2019 following phenomenal performances at the national Games over the weekend.
Tomás White from Portlaoise, Sean Conlon from Stradbally, Alan O’Hanlon from Abbeyleix, Steven Hayes from Portlaoise and Ballyfin’s Edward Coughlan won a stack of medals in Santry.
The quintet reprsented team Leinster in competitions at the Games in Dublin from Thursday 14 June to Sunday 17 June.
The five Laois men progressed through the regional games which were held in Kilkenny in 2016.
In 2017 they successfully competed against strong competition in the Leinster games which were again held in Kilkenny.
At the National Games, Stradbally’s Seán Conlon emerged with two Gold medals, in the shot put and the relay, along with a Bronze in the 100 metres sprint.
In Equestrian, Abbeyleix’s Alan O’Hanlon excelled with two Gold medals.
Portlaoise’s Steven Hayes took part in the same event and came home with two Silver medals.
While Edward Coughlan and Tomas White also returned home to Laois with multiple medals.
Edward won Gold for the 100 metres sprint, Silver for shot putt and Bronze for relay.
While Tomas won Silver medals in both the 100 metres sprint and shot putt before adding a Bronze in the relay.
It truly was a remarkable feat by all five men who are now in with a real chance of being selected to take park in the Special Olympics next March.
Athletes that are successful in the 2018 Ireland Games will have the opportunity to represent Team Ireland in the Special Olympics World Games in Abu Dhabi from 14 to 21 March 2019, where they will join with athletes from 170 nations.
Tomás, Sean, Alan, Steven and Edward are all members of Laochra Laoise Special Olympics Sports Club, which meets every Monday evening in St Mary’s Hall, Portlaoise from 7pm to 8pm.
The five are expertly trained by club coach Stephen O’Toole, who also attends the Leinster training sessions with them.
Margaret Conlan and Helen Coughlan were volunteers for the weekend and the whole team stayed in Maynooth. The events were on in Santry.
Well done to all five and see a selection of pictures from the weekend below: