'The small stuff goes a long way' - Offaly special olympian hails local support

An Offaly Special Olympian has praised the Sean Kelly Tour of the Midlands after it lent its support to Special Olympics Ireland.

This year, the cycle, sponsored by Swift Scaffolding has partnered with Special Olympics Ireland. The fundraiser gives cycling enthusiasts the opportunity to ride alongside an Irish Cycling legend at this year’s sixth annual cycle.

The funds raised from the cycle will give athletes like Oisin the opportunity they deserve. “The small stuff goes a long way”, says Offaly Special Olympic kayaker, Oisin Feery, describing the advantages of fundraising events such as this year’s cycle.

Oisin also described the magic of his sport and the how the support of local events goes a long way.

“It’s like whistling for the first time, once you do it you just can’t stop," Special Olympic athlete Oisin Feery says in describing the feeling he gets when he crosses the finish line of a river run."

Oisin is a Special Olympics kayaker, a demanding sport, where competitors must learn to tame the water to win. The 17-year old is training hard for next year, when he will represent Ireland on the global stage at the World Special Olympics Games.

“I go Kayaking every Wednesday, gym work for 3 nights a week, with river runs at the weekends,” he explains. Clearly the kayaking gold medallist has found a sport to be passionate about. “I first got involved in kayaking when I tried it at a local fun day,” he explains.

“I started going down to the weekly sessions in Tullamore Canoe Club and I was hooked since then.” It wasn’t until the aspiring athlete joined Ballinamere Special Olympics Club that he began to fully reach his potential.

Winning two gold medals in this year’s Ireland Games, Oisin earned his place on the Special Olympic Ireland kayaking team. He, along with 90 other athletes will travel to Abu Dhabi in March to represent Ireland amongst 7,000 athletes from 177 countries.

Special Olympics Ireland relies heavily on public generosity to help fulfil the dreams of athletes with fundraising events are organised nationally throughout the year to give the intellectually disabled what every other individual has, - Opportunity.

“Fundraising helps to pay for so many things that a lot of athletes wouldn’t get otherwise,” says Oisin.  Special Olympics Ireland caters for all intellectual and sporting abilities. The Sean Kelly Tour of the Midlands carries the same ethos. All are welcome, no matter what the ability.

There are 3 different cycles all varying in length and difficulty to cater for advanced, intermediate and leisure cyclists. The 120km Kelly Slieve Bloom accommodates the more experienced cyclists. The challenge features two climbs up the Slieve Bloom Mountains.

The Kelly Cut which stretches for 80km/90km joins the Kelly Slieve Bloom along the route. Finally, here is the family cycle which welcomes family and beginner cyclists of all ages. Regular online entry costs €40 and can be purchased by visiting Group discounts are also available for groups of five or more people but must be booked by contacting Eoin Treanor on

So don your jersey, strap on your boots and head to Tullamore Harriers athletics club on Sunday 30th September and help Sean Kelly realize the dreams of Oisin and the thousands of other athletes across the country. Help Special Olympics, change lives through sport.

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