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Golden girl Marie O' Connor.

Marie is Clare’s golden girl

LAHINCH woman Marie O’Connor won three gold medals and two silver at the European Transplant and Dialysis Sports Championships in Finland recently.

Marie, a kidney transplant recipient, won gold for her gross score in the ladies’ open category, her third gold at this year’s championships.

She said, “I am honoured and thrilled. I wasn’t expecting the gold. I played against women from Germany, Italy and Denmark and all were lovely women. My donor is the person I compete for.”

Marie won two gold medals in the petanque singles and doubles event.

“It’s great to be here with people in the same boat. I’ve met some fabulous people this year. I hope we will all be taking part again next year. My number one gold is my donor and I am deeply grateful to them and to all my supporters at home,” she said.

Marie was among a 28-strong Transplant Team Ireland, which enjoyed huge success at the championships. The team’s final medal tally was 21 gold, 19 silver and 29 bronze, meaning that Ireland finished in fifth position on the medals table with host country Finland, with a much larger team of 96 athletes, taking top position out of 24 countries.

Marie described her third gold medal as “a lovely way to wind down the games”.
“It’s been great to be here with such great people,” she said. “I hope I will return next year.”

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