Students from Maynooth University took part in a blindfold sports challenge for Vision Sports Ireland at the launch of the annual Charity Galway Cycle 2019.
On Thursday 15th November the Maynooth students for Charity (The group behind the annual Galway Cycle) held a unique sports event to create awareness around sports participation for visually impaired and blind students.
Students got an idea of what it is like for people with a visual impairment to take part in sport. Students tried blindfolded sports challenges including; Tandem Cycling, Soccer, Golf and Running with a guide. “It was definitely much more challenging than I imagined when wearing the blindfold,” said one interested participant.
This year the ‘Maynooth Students for Charity’ group selected Vision Sports Ireland as the beneficiary of their annual charity cycle to Galway (and back!). Vision Sports Ireland aim is to improve the lives of visually impaired and blind people by enabling them to fully participate in and derive health benefits from sport.
There was great interest in the event thanks to the help of Paul Davis, Joan Ryan, students and Galway cycle supporters. Students had the opportunity to take penalties against Aaron O’Neill, Kildare GAA goalkeeper (blindfolded of course!), on the Blind Football pitch set up on campus by the FAI.
Our local Maynooth man Joe Geraghty, who is the National Sports Development Officer for Vision Sports Ireland, has been working to promote this charity for over 30 years.
“This was a fantastic opportunity to create awareness and give visually impaired students the same opportunities to get involved in sport early in life. Sports participation will improve their wellbeing, self-esteem and increase their overall confidence.
“We aim to build sport and leisure activity participation for young blind and vision impaired people. Within three years we aim to increase sports participation by blind and vision impaired children and youth by more than 150%,” says Joe.
In attendance of the official launch for the Galway Cycle, 2019 were Philip Nolan, President, Maynooth University, and three-time Galway cyclist, Finbar Roche, Chairman of Vision Sports Ireland; Declan Kennedy, Brady’s Clockhouse and sponsor of the annual Galway Cycle.
The cycle itself takes place from 5th-7th April 2019. Up to 200 cyclists and 60 support crew leave Maynooth University early Friday morning, arriving in Eyre square Galway that evening. The cyclists return home to a huge Maynooth welcome on Sunday evening.
The Galway Cycle is now into its 31st year. Over the past 30 years over €1.8m has been raised for various Irish charities. Galway Cycle governed by a constitution, which is available on www.galwaycycle.ie Established in 1987 by a group of students at St. Patrick’s College, Maynooth as a way of raising money for charity. It is a volunteer-led and managed so that costs are kept to an absolute minimum and is open to all Maynooth University students, alumni, friends and supporters.
Please visit Galway cycle website www.galwaycycle.ie for further information