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The Irish bocce team celebrate with their medals Special Olympics Ireland

Team Ireland medal tally hits 92 on final day

The Special Olympics will close tomorrow after another impressive set of Irish performances.

IRISH ATHLETES WERE smiling in Athens yesterday as they claimed 15 more medals – bringing their Special Olympics total to an impressive 92.

The final day of competition saw another string of winning performances from Team Ireland, with three gold, four silver and eight bronze medals. The triumphant team will now be carrying at least 30 gold medals back to Ireland.

There was more success in bowling yesterday, with Michael Hardiman from Tallaght, Dublin, Jonathon Griffin from Ballinasloe, Co Galway, Paul Bridgman from Cobh, Co Cork and Ciaran Mallon from Meigh, Co Down landing gold in their competition. And table tennis was also a strong point as Mary O’Brien from Duncormick, Co Wexford and Carole Catling from Newtownabbey, Co Antrim handing their German opponents a 2-0 defeat.

Three Irish mixed teams took fourth place in the same sport: Ann-Marie Talbot from Wexford and William Naughton from Limerick; Paul Kavanagh from Mayo and Mary O’ Brien from Wexford; and Robert Deegan from Dublin and Carole Catling from Antrim.

In gymnastics, Belfast native Una McGarry brought home one gold, one silver and three bronze medals for her rhythmic event.

The bocce team of Mary Kirby from Newcastle West, Co Limerick and Lisa Maher from Waterfall in Cork landed bronze, while Pamela Collins from Kanturk, Co Cork and John Loughnane from Ahascragh won silver in the team equestrian relay.

Irish athletes excelled in the badminton event, where Adrian Cornwall from Boyle, Co Sligo and Bernadette Kennedy from Gorey, Co Wexford took silver while team-mates Jonathon Deering and Jacqueline Gault from Newtownabbey, Co Antrim won bronze. Jacqueline Gault and Bernadette Kennedy won bronze in the women’s doubles event and in the men’s doubles Adrian Cornwall and Jonathon Deering did the same.

In aquatics, Lorraine O’Halloran from Palmerstown in Dublin won silver, while in athletics Rachel Ryan from Templemore, Co Tipperary won a 200m bronze.

Today’s closing ceremony will officially mark the end of the 2011 Games before the Irish athletes return to Dublin on Tuesday.

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