Carrick on Suir Town Mayor Patsy Fitzgerald accorded a joint Mayoral Reception to Special Olympian Gary Tobin and the town’s newest boxing star Dean O’Gorman in the Council Chamber, last Tuesday.
The Mayor welcomed his fellow councillors, Gary and Dean and their respective family members, also Gerry O’Malley representing Dungarvan Boxing Club and Dan Coppinger representing Clonmel Boxing Club.
Gary Tobin was honoured in recognition of his achievement of representing Ireland at the 2011 Special Olympics in Athens where he was a member of the soccer team that won silver medals. The Mayor said great praise and thanks is due to Gary for playing his part in bringing a good news story to Carrick on Suir – not for the first time as Gary had also competed in the swimming event at the 1994 Special Olympics in America and in Dublin in 2003.
Gary Tobin is a member of the Waterford Special Olympics Club and he works at the Knocklofty Rural Residential Project and Day Service. He is an avid hurling supporter for his club Davins and county Tipperary. The Mayor congratulated Gary saying that the Special Olympics is about changing lives, about having fun, friendships, team spirit and about a feeling of belonging.
The Mayor recalled the 2003 Special Olympics in Ireland when Carrick on Suir hosted Slovakia which he said was a remarkable and memorable experience for everyone by enabling people to believe that they can achieve and be successful not only in sport but in life too and Gary Tobin by his achievements to date is a notable testament to that belief.
Dean O’Gorman was honoured in recognition of his achievement in winning a Gold Medal in the Light Featherweight Division in an Open European Boxing Tournament in London. The Mayor gave great credit to Carrick on Suir Boxing Club for producing a boxer of the calibre of Dean O’Gorman and to have achieved the level of success that Dean has reached so far requires a high level of dedication to training and personal commitment. He praised Dean’s coach Vincent Power for playing his part in influencing Dean’s boxing career. Dean’s achievement has been astonishing given the fact that he took a break from boxing to gain first place in the 2010 National Skills Fabrication Certificate programme. In conclusion, Mayor Fitzgerald wished Dean well in his quest for representation at the London Olympics next year and he hoped that we would gather again next year to welcome an Olympian to the town.
The other town councillors joined in the tributes to both recipients and in relation to Dean O’Gorman, Cllr.Kieran Bourke said he visited the training headquarters where Dean trains and suggested that the Council should consider funding towards improving the conditions there.
Cllr. Martin Henzey said it was wonderful for the town to produce such two outstanding sportsmen.
Cllr. Richie O’Neill made the point that both recipients had a strong association with Treacy Park.
Cllr. Margaret Croke praised the dedication of both to achieve such a high standard.
Cllr.Liam Walsh said it took a lot of hard work for Gary to reach world standard and Dean to reach European standard in their respective sports.
Cllr. Sarah Dunne congratulated both and quoted a noted American Football star “If you can believe it, the mind can achieve it”.
Cllr. Sylvia Cooney Sheehan wished both the best of luck and recalled Gary Tobin carrying the torch at the Special Olympics in 2003.
Officials of Carrick on Suir Boxing Club Vincent Power and Paddy Rockett expressed pride at Dean O’Gorman’s achievements. Coach Vincent said Dean was easy to train and that he works very hard both on the road and in the gym.
Pauline Fitzgerald who travelled to Athens as a volunteer joined in the tributes and said she was proud watching Gary Tobin’s performance in the matches.
Breda, a sister of Gary Tobin, and Kerrie, a sister of Dean O’Gorman, replied on behalf of the families.
They thanked the Mayor and councillors and spoke glowingly of their brothers. Breda said, to have Gary competing in Athens the home of the Olympics was just unbelievable. She said Gary took it all in his stride, enjoyed the occasion and the experience it brought him.