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Clare win inaugural Munster Boccia League

Emer O’Connor in  action. Photograph by John KellyIT was celebrations all round as the Clare Boccia team won the Munster League in Cratloe last week.
Boccia is a form of bowls for people with Cerebral Palsy at Paralympic level. However, in April of this year Sports Inclusion Disability Officers (SIDO) in Munster decided to run a Munster  league for people with intellectual disabilities. The competition was based on each county hosting an event as part of a round robin series on a monthly basis. Each county was allowed to enter four teams of three players, with each team scoring points based on their overall finishing position.
Clare was represented throughout the tournament by trainees at the Dulick Enterprise Training Centre in Ennis. Having recorded wins at both Kerry and Cork, the Clare team were in the lead going into the final leg, which was held at Cratloe GAA sports hall. Needing to consolidate their position at the top of the leader board, the Clare teams finished second and fourth in Cratloe, thereby securing the title for Clare. Colm Cosgrove from Sixmilebridge accepted the trophy on behalf of his team mates which was presented by Clare’s SIDO James Murrihy .
Commenting on the event, instructors from the Dulick Enterprise Centre said they were delighted with the various benefits it had given trainees over last few months.
“It has been great for the trainees, being able to interact with people from other counties,” Helen Carey commented, while Pierce Cooper said that “the opportunity for the lads to represent their county at Munster level and win in the process has given them great self confidence”.
“With Boccia being a game of strategy, it’s a great game to play because it  makes them plan out each shot they take,” Angela Wolfe suggested.
Clare SIDO James Murrihy has been overwhelmed by the success of the event. “Here in Clare, we have monthly competitions which are multi-disability with up to 50 competitors, many of whom cannot compete outside of Clare. But  with this competition, people with an intellectual disability have the chance to compete,” he explained. 
With the Clare round being organised by the Clare Sports Partnership the event was held in Cratloe. “John Ryan and the people of Cratloe GAA Club were absolutely brilliant in providing their hall for the event,” Murrihy acknowledged. 
“ This is the first year of the event in which over 80  people competed in. We hope it will go from strength to strength in the future,” he concluded.

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