Limerick dairy farmer saddled up for 400km charity cycle

Donal O’Regan

Reporter:

Donal O’Regan

LIMERICK farmer Martin O’Neill put two pedals to the metal to raise over €1,000 for the NCBI - working for people with sight loss.

LIMERICK farmer Martin O’Neill put two pedals to the metal to raise over €1,000 for the NCBI - working for people with sight loss.

Along with 36 others the Kilteely man cycled from Dublin to Tullamore, on to Galway, down to Limerick and finished up in Cork.

The 4 City Cycle Challenge was 400kms over four days in September.

As a dairy farmer Martin is naturally fit but he had to put in the hard yards before the gruelling cycle even began.

“I had to do a good bit of training but I found it OK.

“Day 2 was very difficult cycling against strong wind and rain at times.

“Other days were not easy but were doable, we cycled on average about five hours daily with stops along the way. It was around 100kms every day,” said the 25 year-old.

“It was very enjoyable and a great group of people took part.

“I would highly recommend it as a charity event to do in the future.

“It was very well organised and supported. There was a Garda escort into Cork city at the end,” said Martin, who is the son of Nora and Martin.

He became involved in the fundraising initiative because he has a slight problem with his vision.

“That’s what sparked my interest and the reason I got involved with them.

“It will get worse as I get older but it’s not anything I’m worried about at the moment, it’s not too serious at the moment,” said Martin.

While there is no fear of him going blind it has motivated him to take an interest in raising funds for people who are blind or suffering from sight loss.

The National Council for the Blind of Ireland provide a service to over 7,000 people every year.

With an ageing population, the number of people needing to access their services is increasing by 12 per cent each year.

“NCBI offers community based services to help people to adapt to sight loss and maintain their independence.

“These services include emotional support to the individual experiencing loss of vision and to their families, advice and information on all aspects of vision loss as well as practical support and solutions to the challenges encountered by people with vision loss.

“Our services are offered to people of all ages, from birth through to older age,” said an NCBI spokesperson.

The €1,280 raised by Martin will go in to supporting their services in County Limerick and the whole country.

Over 30,000 was raised from the cycle in total.

Martin got great support in his fundraising efforts from his family, Ballylanders Macra, where he is a popular member, and the whole community.

He certainly got a lot of help from his family as he has three sisters and three brothers - Catherine, Carmel, Mary David, Timmy and Vincent.

Despite the marathon cycle being over he says he is planning to continue to cycle.

“I’ll maybe go for a cycle once a week to maintain the muscles. “If you stop cycling you will lose the strength in your muscles so you are back to square one! said Martin, who wished to thank everyone who generously donated money or sponsored him.

There is still a chance to support Martin on his cycle by logging on to www.ncbi.ie to learn more about the charity and how to donate.