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Profiles of Ireland's competitors at Paralympic Games in Rio

Orla Barry from Cork will be competing in her third Paralympic Games  

Orla Barry

Discus, F57
DOB: 21/09/1990
Hometown: Ladysbridge, Cork
Disability Group: Amputee

SET to compete at her third Paralympic Games, Orla took up athletics in 2006 and has since represented Ireland at two Paralympic Games, finishing a creditable fifth in Beijing in 2008 and winning a bronze medal at London 2012.

In 2013, Orla broke the World Record for the F57 Discus, and secured a superb silver medal at the IPC Athletics World Championships that year. In 2015, she competed at the World Championships in Doha, where she was recently upgraded from a bronze to a silver medal, and in the lead-up to the 2016 Games earned a gold medal in the F57 Discus final at the Para-Athletics European Championships in Grosseto, Italy.

 

Orla Comerford

100m, T13
DOB:
14/09/1997
Hometown: Howth, Co. Dublin
Disability Group: Visually Impaired

THIS will be Orla's first Paralympic Games.

Raheny Shamrocks club member Orla has just completed her Leaving Cert and is going from one big test directly into another has she prepares to represent Ireland at this year's Paralympic Games in Rio. A passion for sprinting, Orla will compete in the 100m (T13) race at the Games and cites fellow T13 athlete Jason Smyth along with Derval O'Rourke as her inspirations for athletics.

 

Paul Keogan


400m, T37
DOB:
29/06/1992
Hometown: Skyrne, Meath
Disability Group: Cerebral Palsy

A MEMBER of Cushionstown AC, Paul secured three gold medals in the CP World Games in Nottingham in 2015.

The Meath man has been performing well throughout the year, and is looking ahead now to competing at his first Paralympic Games.

 

Noelle Lenihan


Discus, F38
DOB:
04/11/1999
Hometown: Charleville, Cork
Disability Group: Cerebral Palsy

RIO 2016 will be her first Paralympic Games.

Current World Record holder in the F38 Discus. World Championships silver medallist (2015) and 2016 European Championships gold medallist. One of the youngest members of the team, Noelle made her debut on the international stage at the IPC World Athletics Championships in Doha at the end of 2015 and certainly made her mark from the off, claiming a silver medal and setting a new World Record.

Her success hasn't stopped there, however, as she went on to smash her own World Record at the 2016 Para-Athletics European Championships in Grosseto, Italy this year - scooping a gold medal at the same time. She has been named as one of IPC’s ‘Athletes to Watch’ for Rio 2016.

 

Niamh McCarthy


Discus, F41
DOB:
04/01/1994
Hometown: Carrigaline, Cork
Disability Group: Les Autres

THIS year's Games in Rio will be Niamh's first Paralympic Games.

She is the European Record holder and also holds a bronze World Championship medal and silver European Championship medal. Niamh McCarthy, a discus thrower from Co. Cork, first emerged onto the para-athletic scene in 2013 and has been going from strength to strength ever since as she has certainly made her mark on the sport.

The IPC Athletics World Championships in Doha in 2015 was her first major championships, where she secured a bronze medal to round off a superb debut. Niamh continued her good run of form at the 2016 Para-Athletics European Championships in Grosseto, Italy where she set a new European record on her way to claiming a silver medal in the F40/41 Discus final. She is certainly another of the ones to watch at Rio 2016.

 

Michael McKillop


1500m, T37
DOB:
27/01/1990
Hometown: Newtownabbey, Antrim
Disability Group: Cerebral Palsy

RIO 2016 will be Michael's third Paralympic Games.

He is the reigning world champion in the 800m and 1500m (T37) and has won three gold medals at Paralympic Games. A triple Paralympic gold medalist, winning 800m and 1,500m at London 2012 (building on his 800m win at Beijing 2008), Michael is a force to be reckoned with on the Paralympic track.

He also holds world records for both distances and went on to successfully defend his World titles at the World Championships in Doha in 2015, to add yet more medals to his collection.

 

Patrick Monahan


800m and Marathon, T53
DOB:
14/01/1986
Hometown: Naas, Kildare
Disability Group: T53

RIO 2016 will be his first Paralympic Games.

Has made a name for himself on the marathon scene in recent years. Inspired by what he saw at London 2012, Patrick Monahan became involved in wheelchair racing in recent years, and has successfully defended his title as wheelchair winner of the Dublin marathon.

The Kildare man also won the Columbus Ohio Marathon in 2015 where he broke the Irish record by seven minutes and has enjoyed massive success throughout 2016 in his various competitions.

 

Deirdre Mongan


Shot Put, F53
DOB:
03/04/1978
Hometown: Milltown, Co. Galway
Disability Group: F53

THIS will be Deirdre's first Paralympic Games.

Deirdre's story in para-athletics has been one of hard work and success. She most recently secured a bronze medal at the 2016 Para-Athletics European Championships in Grosseto, Italy and is hoping to improve on that performance in Rio. Previous to that, Deirdre secured a bronze medal in the Shot Put at the IPC World Championships in Doha in 2015, after she produced a best throw of 4.02 metres. A dedicated and hard-working athlete, Deirdre juggles training for her sport with motherhood.

 

Jason Smyth

Jason Smyth is the reigning Paralympic champion in the T13 100m and 200m 

100m, T13
DOB:
04/07/1987
Hometown: Eglinton, Derry
Disability Group: Visual Impairment

JASON is the reigning Paralympic champion in the T13 100m and 200m. He also holds the World Record in the T13 100m and 200m.

He made the headlines after a phenomenal performance at the 2012 Paralympic Games in London. Was named 'The Fastest Paralympian on the Planet' when he won his race at the Rio 'One year to Go' celebration event. In 2014, Jason also won double gold at the IPC Athletics European Championships in Swansea, Wales and went on to scoop the T12 100m title at the World Championships in Doha in 2015.

 

Greta Streimikyte


1500m, T13
DOB:
24/08/1995
Hometown: Swords, Co. Dublin
Disability Group: Visually Impaired

ONE of triplets, this will be Greta's first Paralympic Games, having moved to Ireland from Lithuania five years ago. A member of Clonliffe Harriers Athletics Club, Greta made her debut for the Irish Para-Athletics team in June 2016 when she competed at the 2016 Para-Athletics European Championships in Grosseto, Italy. There, she competed in the T13 1500m final and came home with a bronze medal after a fantastic run.

A student of International Relations in DCU, she is busy counting down the days to Rio when she gets to pull on the Irish singlet once more.

 

WATER SPORTS

Canoeing

Patrick O'Leary 


Canoeing, LTA K1
Disability Group: Amputee

THE Rio 2016 Games will be the first Paralympic Games to feature the sport of para-canoeing, so Pat O'Leary is the first Irish representative.

The Cork man, coached by former Irish international Neil Fleming, took the final step towards qualifying for Rio in May when he came first in the 'B' final at the Para-Canoeing World Cup in Germany to ensure a para-canoeing slot for Ireland at the Games.

 

Sailing

John Twomey


Sonar (three-person keelboat)
Disability Group:
 Spinal injury

SONAR skipper and Irish flagbearer, Cork man John will be competing in his 11th Paralympic Games. His debut came in Discus in 1976, won bronze in Great Britain 1984 and a gold in Seoul 1988. The father-of-two Cork man has been sailing since 1979 but only concentrated on it for the Paralympics from 2000, sailing at every Paralympics since then.

Prepared for the Rio challenge at Kinsale Yacht Club.

Ian Costelloe


Sonar
Disability Group:
Amputee

COMPETING at Rio 2016 with three-man sailing crew, this will be the 27-year-old's his second Paralympic Games.

A member of Kinsale Yacht Club, he has competed in para-sailing since 2009. Competed in the London 2012 Paralympic Games finishing in seventh place with several top 10 finishes, including a second.

Austin O'Carroll


Sonar
Disability Group:
 Short stature

DUBLINER Austin will be appearing at his first Paralympic Games at Rio 2016m having represented Ireland since 2013. Now sailing with Sutton Dinghy Club, he works as a GP in Dublin and is also a keen cyclist.

He is an uncle of Dublin footballer Rory O'Carroll.

 

Swimming

Ellen Keane


Swimming, S9, SM9, SB8
Disability Group: Amputee

SET to compete at her third Paralympic Games the World Championship bronze medallist is one of the veterans of the Irish para-swim team. The Clontarf girl was Ireland's youngest athlete back in 2008, when she competed in the Beijing Paralympic Games at the age of just 13.

At the 2012 Paralympic Games in London, she made three finals and a fifth place finish in the 100m Butterfly before going on the next year (2013) to win her first major international medals when she claimed two bronze medals at the IPC World Championships in Montreal.

Ailbhe Kelly


S8, SM8, SB8

RIO 2016 will be the first Paralympic Games for the teenage Castleknock, Dublin girl.

Great performances at 2016 European Championships saw her reach four finals and set five new PB times. At the 2016 IPC Swimming European Open Championships, Ailbhe (18) reached four finals and set five PBs.

James Scully


S5, SB5, SM5
Disability Group:
 Les Autres

STILL only 23, the 2013 World Championships bronze medallist from Ratoath, Meath is another of the veterans of the Irish Paralympic squad. James Scully began his swimming career in 2006 out of the National Aquatic Centre (NAC) Swim Club.

He added to his extensive medal collection at the 2014 Para-Swimming European Championships, picking up bronze in both the 100m and 200m Freestyle, and swam well at the 2015 World Championships in Glasgow.

Nicole Turner


S6, SB6, SM6

THE youngest squad member on the team, Nicole won three medals (two silver and one bronze) at this year's European Championships.

At 14 the Portarlington, Laois has progressed onto the senior Paralympic swimming scene having started in her local club, Laois Marlins. She represented Ireland again at the 2016 IPC Swimming European Open Championships swimming in six finals and bringing home silver in both the 200m Individual Medley and the 100m Breaststroke as well as a bronze in the 50m Butterfly.

She also set nine new PB times.

Team GB
Bethany Firth

THE 20-year-old from Seaforde won a gold medal with Ireland at London 2012 in the 100m backstroke.

Switched her allegiance to GB in 2013 and represented Northern Ireland at the following year's Commonwealth Games in Glasgow. Set a new world record in the 200 metres freestyle in April 2016 and will take part in four events in Rio.

 

CYCLING

 

There are six different events in track cycling in the velodrome at the Barra Olympic Park. 

Irish cyclists will be involved in the following: kilometre time trial; individual pursuit; individual road races; and individual time trial.

 

Eoghan Clifford


Disability Group: C3

World champion in his event, Eoghan (36) will compete in his first Paralympic Games at Rio 2016. 

The Galway man certainly marked his arrival on the para-cycling scene with a bang in 2014, storming to a world title by winning the Men’s C3 Road Race at the UCI Para-Cycling Road World Championships in the USA. 

Further success followed before he lifted gold and silver in the 2016 UCI Para-Cycling Road World Cup saw further success for Eoghan. 

Colin Lynch


Disability Group: Amputee: C2

Although he grew up in Canada and moved to the Uk in 2005, Colin’s dad is from Drogheda. 

Rio 2016 will be the 45-year-old’s second time to represent Ireland at a Paralympic Games. 

He has enjoyed considerable success over the years, picking up a number of medals and PB times on the way, his latest being a silver medal in the time trial at the 2016 w Para-Cycling Road World Cup in Ostend.

Katie-George Dunlevy


Tandem Cycling, VI
Disability Group:
 Visual Impairment

Rio 2016 will be Katie-George’s second Paralympic Games. 

She has enjoyed considerable success with pilot Eve McCrystal. The 2016 UCI Para-Cycling Road World Cup was a highly successful event for the duo as they claimed gold in both the Time Trial and the Road Race events.  

Eve McCrystal


Tandem Cycling (Pilot)

Rio will be the Dundalk girl’s first Paralympic Games. 

She has enjoyed enormous success on the Para-Cycling stage since becoming pilot for Katie-George Dunlevy in 2013.

Peter Ryan


Men’s B Tandem Cycling Time Trial (Road) and Road Race
Disability Group
: Visually Impaired

Tipperary man Peter’s first Paralympic Games. He was crowned national champion in 2013 and secured an eighth place finish at the World Championships in 2015 and has been training hard to ensure continued success.

Marcin Mizgakski


Pilot for the Men’s B Tandem Cycling Time Trial (Road) and Road Race

Marcin is pilot for cyclist Peter Ryan. This will be his first Paralympic Games. 

He has won the Wexford County Champion title many times over the last number of years, and was also crowned the 2015 Polish Road Race champion.

Damien Vereker


Tandem Cycling, VI
Disability Group
: Visually Impaired

Rio 2016 will be Damien’s first Paralympic Games. A hard-working cyclist, Damien is a member of the Comeragh Cycling Club and cites his wife Jennifer as his inspiration. The Kilkenny man (36), based in Waterford, recently took first place in the Road Race at the Cycling World Cup in South Africa. 

Sean Hahessy


Tandem Cycling, pilot for Damien Vereker

Rio 2016 will be Seán’s first Paralympic Games. 

A member of Carrick Wheelers Cycling Club, Seán (21) is currently studying Sports Coaching and Performance in Waterford IT. 

Seán finished third in the U23 2015 National Championships.

Declan Slevin


Handcycling, H3
Disability Group:
 T6 Spinal Cord injury

First Paralympic Games for the Moate man from the Rosemount Cycling Club in Co. Westmeath. 

Bronze medal winner at the 2016 UCI Para-Cycling World Cup in South Africa.

Declan is a farmer and builder got involved in hand cycling after an accident in 2004.

Ciara Staunton


Handcycling
Disability Group:
C7, spinal injury

Having always been involved in sport from a young age, the Wicklow girl did not let a spinal injury stop her from pursuing her passion and now competes in her first Paralympics.

 

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