Perfect send-off for Korea-bound Limerick Olympian

Daniel Tighe

Reporter:

Daniel Tighe

Limerick’s first representative at the Special Olympics World Winter Games has been given a fitting send-off.

Limerick’s first representative at the Special Olympics World Winter Games has been given a fitting send-off.

James Murphy, from Corbally, is one of 14 Irish competitors who left for PyeongChang, South Korea on Friday ahead of the event which started on Saturday and runs to February 6.

James carried the Special Olympics’ own version of the Olympic torch into the Stables Club at the University of Limerick to heartwarming applause.

Accepting the “flame of hope” on behalf of UL was director of sport, Dave Mahedy. “The Special Olympics are very, very special friends of ours,” he said.

“Congratulations to James on going to South Korea and representing us. It’s a great occasion for us to welcome the Special Olympics.”

These fund-raising events are part of the Special Olympics’ Law Enforcement Torch Run (LETR) which aims to get local gardai involved in supporting the games.

James, when asked how his preparation had been going, said: “Training, training for months!” The entire floorball team, a demonstration sport in the 2013 games, hails from Munster.

“Hopefully the Munster Floorball team will be as good as the Munster Rugby team,” commented Inspector Luke Conlon, Henry Street garda station, to rapturous applause.

“It’s good for the people of Limerick. We’ve a long association with the Special Olympics going back to the 1990s and I’m hoping this will continue.

“It was absolutely brilliant when it was here in 2010. It was a great boost for all the people who came to the city to see how Limerick can support, encourage and engage with all the people.

“Hopefully that will be the same again next year,” continued Insp Conlon, in anticipation of the 2014 Special Olympics Irish National Games, which will be held at UL again, following a successful staging in 2010.

James and the torch continued on their route from UL to Castletroy College and finally to the Daughters of Charity, Lisnagry, where jubilant supporters welcomed James.

The Daughters of Charity is where James put in those months of training.