Paralympics Ireland: Bringing you something More Than Sport this year

Paralympics Ireland marked the announcement of their 56-strong 2016 Athlete Panel with the launch of a powerful new awareness and fundraising campaign, ‘More Than Sport’.

The campaign is a massive drive  to raise vital and necessary funds for the road to Rio 2016, which will supplement recent Government funding that was allocated towards the cost of the Games and the Performance Programme.

After the dizzying heights of London 2012, it is hoped that Irish athletes will once more reach their full potential in Rio this year, with the tricolour soaring high and medals and Lifetime Bests to celebrate. But behind those medals, there’s more and behind those world records, there’s more and that's the story that 'More Than Sport' will tell.

Irish Paralympic athletes are more than elite athletes. They are elite athletes who have achieved and succeeded against all the odds. They are athletes who have faced adversity, and won. They are athletes who have often been told they can’t, to then go on and prove that in fact, they can, and will.

The Paralympics as a whole and the athletes themselves are so much more than sport and this campaign, brought to you through unique and captivating videos and behind the scenes interviews with Irish stars will allow you a glimpse into the essence of ‘more’ – more than training, more than determination, more than medals, more than sport.

It is hoped that awareness built from the ‘More Than Sport’ campaign will help to push support towards the fundraising element, which will ask members of the public to get behind the athletes by texting PARA to 50300 to donate €4*.

The campaign kicked off this morning with a powerful video featuring a number of Paralympic athletes and over the coming months, five more videos will be launched ahead of the Paralympic Games in Rio.  

The new awareness drive also features some members of the 2016 Panel which was also unveiled today and comprises of 56 elite Irish athletes across 10 sports to include London 2012 medallists Michael McKillop and Jason Smyth. These athletes are Irish athletes who are hoping to qualify for Rio. 

The 2016 Athlete Panel: 

Athletics: Jason Smyth (Derry), Michael McKillop (Antrim), Orla Barry (Cork), Niamh McCarthy (Cork), Deirdre Mongan (Galway), Noelle Lenihan (Cork), John McCarthy (Cork), Lorraine Regan (Offaly), Paul Keogan (Meath), Patrick Monahan (Kildare), Heather Jameson (Dublin). 

Canoeing: Patrick O’Leary (Cork)

Cycling: Colin Lynch (Manchester, UK), Eoghan Clifford (Galway), Katie-George Dunlevy (Crawley, UK) and Eve McCrystal (Louth), Peter Ryan (Tipperary), Sean Hahessey (Tipperary),, Fiona McCormack (Meath), Ciara Staunton (Wicklow), Declan Slevin (Westmeath), Jerry Towey (Mayo), Martin Gordon (Dublin), Damien Veraker (Waterford)

Equestrian: Helen Kearney (Wicklow), Rosemary Gaffney (Tipperary)

Football 7-A-Side  Brian Mc Gillivary (Dublin), Simon L’Estrange (Westmeath), Joe Markey (Monaghan), Luke Evans (Dublin), Gary Messett (Wicklow),Daragh Snell (Wicklow), Eric O’Flaherty (Galway), Podge Leacy (Wexford), Peter Cotter (Cork), Aaron Tier (Limerick), Tom Badun (Louth), Dillon Sheridan (Ballyfermot), Ryan Nolan (Wicklow), Conor Tuite (Louth), Carl McKee (Dublin)

Sailing: John Twomey (Cork), Ian Costelloe (Kerry), Austin O’Carroll (Cork)

Shooting: Sean Baldwin (Kildare), Phillip Eaglesham (Tyrone)

Swimming: Ellen Keane (Dublin), James Scully (Meath), Jonathan McGrath (Clare), Ailbhe Kelly (Dublin), Nicole Turner (Laois)

Table Tennis: Rena McCarron Rooney (Donegal/Galway)

Triathlon: Aidan McGlynn (Belfast), Fran Meehan (Offaly) and Catherine Walsh (Swords)

NOTE: The above panel is subject to change over the coming months with Team Ireland to be announced on July 5th.

*Text costs €4. Paralympics Ireland will receive a minimum of €3.25. Service Provider: LIKECHARITY. Helpline: 076 6805278.