Access exclusive podcasts, interviews and analysis with a monthly or annual membership

Become A Member
Dublin: -1°C Saturday 23 January 2021

Meet Ireland's Paralympic team: Sailing and canoeing

We continue our look at the athletes will be flying the flag in Rio next month.

THE 2016 PARALYMPIC Games is just around the corner with 4,500 athletes from all over the world ready to compete in Rio. Over the course of the next week, we’ll introduce the 48 members of Team Ireland…


Sailing and canoeing athletes

Pat O’Leary

Event: Canoeing 
Age: 43
County: Cork


Pat O’Leary will become the first para-canoeist to represent Ireland at the Paralympics as the sports debuts in the Games this year. The NUI Galway lecturer has always been involved in canoeing and has used that experience to qualify for the Games after losing his leg in recent years.

Ian Costelloe

Event: Sailing 
Age: 27
County: Kerry

London Paralympic Games Source: David Jones

This will be Ian Costelloe’s second Paralympics as he compete in the three-man sailing team alongside Austin O’Carroll and John Twomey. The Kerry man finished seventh in London four years ago and claimed second place in one of his races in the lead-up to Rio.

Austin O’Carroll

Event: Sailing 
Age: 54
County: Dublin

Austin O'Carroll Source: Gary Carr/INPHO

After first representing Ireland in 2013, Austin O’Carroll’s love for sailing has grown down the years. He is preparing for his first Paralympics having secured qualification alongside his team-mates in Rio. The Dubliner is a GP and also a keen cyclist.

John Twomey

Event: Sailing 
Age: 61
County: Cork

John Twomey Source: Cathal Noonan/INPHO

A veteran of TEN Paralympics, John Twomey is Ireland’s flag-bearer in Rio. The Cork man has been sailing since 1979 and won a gold medal in Seoul 1988 while also winning bronze for discus in 1984.

Medal chances

It’s difficult to know what to expect from canoeing as the sport makes it’s debut appearance at the Games. Pat O’Leary is still relatively inexperienced at this elite level but that’s not to say he can compete with the best on the biggest stage.

In sailing, meanwhile, all three have experienced great success individually down through the years and there’s no shortage of know-how on that boat. An 11th place finish in four years ago will have taught them a lot and they’ll hope to improve on that in Rio.

The42 is on Snapchat! Tap the button below on your phone to add!

The Paralympic Games takes place between 7 and 18 September. Follow The42′s coverage from Rio here.

About the author:

Ryan Bailey

Read next: