Ireland’s 48 strong Rio 2016 Paralympic team wave goodbye to the athletes’ village today and begin their journey homeward with eleven medals, and a host of lifetime best performances.
The team is scheduled to touch down in Dublin Airport just after midday tomorrow (Wednesday 21st September) and make their way to the Arrivals Hall in Terminal 1 at approximately 1pm to meet family, friends and the media.
The team exceeded all expectations in Rio claiming four gold, four silver and three bronze and claimed a 28th placing on the medals table; inside the top 30 spot targeted at the outset.
From Day two onwards, there were medal celebrations for the team, with Jason Smyth securing the first Irish medal of the Games, winning gold in the T13 100m final to successfully defend his Paralympic title and complete an historic treble.
Incredible performances from Michael McKillop (gold), Eoghan Clifford (bronze and gold), Colin Lynch (silver), Ellen Keane (bronze), Katie-George Dunlevy and Eve McCrystal (gold and silver), led the team the whole way through to the penultimate day.
On the final Saturday of the Games sixteen year old Noelle Lenihan (bronze) completed a rebel treble of discus medals along with her Cork team mates of Orla Barry (silver) and Niamh McCarthy (silver) to wrap things up in style for the Irish going into the final day.
Although the medals grab the headlines the success for this team runs deeper with many of the team achieving phenomenal lifetime best performance and coveted top ten finishes as they performed on the biggest of all sporting stages.
All of the hours, days, weeks, months and years of training culminated in eleven incredible days of performance, commitment and sheer determination and as the team make their way back to Dublin, there is no doubt they have done themselves and their country extremely proud.