Tipperary Special Olympics Club celebrates 20 years

Karina Houlihan and Daniel Mooney playing Badminton
The Tipperary Special Olympics Club is celebrating twenty successful years catering for adults with disabilities.

The Tipperary Special Olympics Club is celebrating twenty successful years catering for adults with disabilities.

The club was formed on September 23, 1993 by Patron Phyllis Naughton.

The Tipperary Special Olympics Club is an organisation that offers year-round sports training and competitions for people with learning disabilities.

“Selection is currently taking place for our National Games 2014 and we have many athletes taking part” said Phyllis. Because the club has grown so big the Tipperary Special Olympics club has separated into three groups.

On Mondays, coordinators Josephine Ray and Marie O’Donnell and a team of volunteers take care of the swimming.

On Tuesdays evenings they have coaches who practice basketball, bocce and badminton and other sports and on Thursday evenings a bus load of 28 people go bowling in Limerick with coaches Allan and Joyce Pickwick.

“This outing is also a fantastic respite for parents, carers teachers and the participants. Our club would not work without our volunteers and we would love to see more come on board; you would think that our members would learn so much from us but actually we learn so much from our members.” said Phyllis.

The club treasurer, Margaret McGrath has been with the club since the year 2000.

“I started with the club as a volunteer basketball coach and the club means an awful lot to me. You have to have patience and an understanding and you get so much out of being an volunteer.”

All of the coaches must be Garda vetted, complete the child protection course and are not allowed into the club unless Garda clearance has been given.

Volunteer Munster Head Coach for Ten Pin Bowling Allan Pickwick and his wife Joyce take the members to bowling every Thursday.

“After a very short time with the bowling section, we became like one big happy family with a lot of laughter and occasionally a few tears and soon learnt that Special Olympics organisation and administration is, in itself, a very special event,” said Allan.

While the Tipperary Special Olympics club builds the skills, confidence and self-esteem of their athletes, it also provides them with an important social outlet.

Just recently the club returned from a 5-day trip to Manchester.

It was a great trip enjoyed by everybody who travelled.

Activities included: a trip to Chester zoo, Cadbury’s World, the Moscow State Circus, the Blue Planet Aquarium, the city of Liverpool that included a trip to the Beetles Museum and attending a Champions league match at Old Trafford.

“The social aspect of the club is extremely important for our members,” added Phyllis.

For more information contact Phyllis Naughton: 062 37146 or 086 6063340