Local heroes welcomed home

THREE local paralympians received a heroes’ welcome when they touched down in Dublin airport after participating in the London Paralympics.

THREE local paralympians received a heroes’ welcome when they touched down in Dublin airport after participating in the London Paralympics.

Ray O’Dwyer from Hugginstown competed in the discus, javelin and shot put and came 18th in the discus on Saturday. Mooncoin’s James Dwyer claimed sixth place in the grade IV individual dressage championships at the Paralympics in London.

Dwyer – originally from Carrigeen near Mooncoin in Kilkenny, but now living in the USA – rode his gelding Orlando to a score of 68.516%, sixth best of 14 competitors in his class at Grenwich Park. Dwyer also claimed fourth place in the Grade IV para equestrian dressage competition. The Kilkenny man is now ranked number two in the world. He lost his lower right leg at age 17, but it did not prevent him from pursuing his passion for equestrian.

Gabriel Shelly of Bagenalstown and who lives in Kilkenny city also did his adopted home city proud with an outstanding performance in w boccia.

On Monday family and friends gathered in Dublin airport to welcome home the athletes. The athletes will be celebrated and honoured by the Government at a reception hosted by An Taoiseach Enda Kenny and Minister Leo Varadkar in Farmleigh on Friday (September 14). They will also be honoured on October 22 at a reception in Aras on Uachtarain hosted by President Michael D. Higgins.