Offaly athletes receive heroes' welcome after Special Olympics glory
There were emotional scenes at Dublin Airport on Friday afternoon as the 91-strong Team Ireland squad returned home to a heroes’ welcome from the Special Olympics World Summer Games in Abu Dhabi.
The team, including Offaly's Oisin Feery, Mark Saddler and Damien Breslin, carried some serious excess baggage in the shape of 86 medals, four of which will be coming back to Offaly.
17-year-old Tullamore kayaker Oisin Feery won kayaking gold for Ireland in the 200m event and also picked up bronze in the 500m event.
Fellow Offaly competitor Mark Saddler also won gold for Ireland in the bowling in Abu Dhabi, while the third Offaly athlete in the Games Damien Breslin claimed swimming gold in the 25x4m relay race
Over the last week, Team Ireland athletes have made a big impression, inspiring and enthralling supporters at home and abroad with their impressive performances, personality and trademark team spirit.
The Games, which have been heralded as one of the most successful ever for Team Ireland, saw an action-packed week of sport, with medal wins for the Irish squad in all 12 sports: athletics, badminton, basketball, bocce, bowling, equestrian, football, golf, gymnastics, kayaking, swimming and table tennis.
The latest Offaly athlete to claim a gold medal is 17-year-old Tullamore kayaker Oisin Feery who won Team Ireland's only kayaking gold medal over the weekend.
Oisin Feery's heroics earned him a prime spot on Monday's RTE News sports bulletin.