Kieran Murray from Ramelton and the rest of the Irish team were given a great welcome on their return from the 9th European Transplant & Dialysis Sports Championships
Transplant Team Ireland enjoyed huge success at the 9th European Transplant & Dialysis Championships in Vantaa, Finland. The team's final medal tally was a staggering 21 Gold, 19 Silver and 29 Bronze. This placed Ireland’s 28 strong team in fifth position on the medals table with host country Finland, and a much larger team of 96 athletes, taking top position out of 24 competing countries. In second place was Hungary, followed by Great Britain and then Germany. A large gathering of family, friends and supporters festooned with flags, banners and bunting, greeted the team on it's arrival home to Dublin airport on Sunday (17th July).
Despite extremely changeable weather and heavy rainfall at the Championships in Vantaa on Monday and Friday, the determination and strength of the Irish athletes was consistent throughout. So too was the camaraderie and sportsmanship that they displayed not only with their own team but with athletes from all of the participating countries.
Throughout the week-long Games, the Irish team saw huge success from the Table Tennis court, to Petanque, to the Swimming Pool to Track and Field in Vantaa as well as on the beautiful Golf Talma located in nearby Sipoo.
New Team Doctor Claire Kennedy took fantastic care overseeing all of the team which includes six athletes receiving Dialysis treatment and Donegal native Kieran Murray whom was carrying a chest infection.
Kieran, a kidney transplant recipient from Ramelton, was unwell for his first event, the 5km race, which took place last Monday, managed to complete the race but did not secure a medal. However, three days later he went on to win a Gold medal for his net score in his Golf event. Still trying to shake off his chest infection the following day, he persevered in the 1500m distance race and crossed the line in 4th place. One day later, on the final day of events, he won a Bronze medal in the 800m race with a time of 2.31 minutes, slightly faster than his speed of 2.33 minutes for the same distance at last year's World Transplant Games in Argentina. Speaking after his last race was over, Kieran summed up his Games experience saying, "I had a very good experience here in Vantaa. Even though I had a chest infection it was still great to be able to compete. I really enjoyed my week here and it's all all thanks to my donor. I met old friends and made new friends. It is an experience I will take with me for the rest of my life. I would like to thank everyone back home who supported me and I am looking forward to seeing my wife and three children at Dublin airport tomorrow." When he arrived back in Dublin airport he was greeted by supporters including his wife Olivia and three young daughters, two carrying banners 'Welcome Home Daddy'.