Fifteen months ago, Annie Donnelly (right in image), aged 9, from Tipperary believed she couldn’t play sport, due to sight loss. Then, she came along to Vision Sports Ireland’s MayFest, the annual multi-sport weekend carnival for blind/vision impaired people and all changed utterly.
Kathleen, Annie Donnelly’s mum, says, “Vision Sports Ireland has opened up a whole new world of opportunities for Annie. I never dreamed that she would be able to try so many different sports. Annie wants to be like any other kid who plays sports.
“Last year’s MayFest was, in Annie’s words, one of the best days of her life. I saw my daughter smile so much because she was so happy to be part of a sporting event. On the day Annie played blind football, tried blind tennis, blind golf, ran a lap of the athletics track and then enjoyed three laps of the track on a tandem bike. She was exhausted at the end of the day, but I knew it had been a fantastic and thrilling experience for her.”
At MayFest 2018, Annie tried out GAA. Her dad Eamonn was truly delighted as he’s a mad keen GAA player and fan. Annie has also taken part in the annual Trip to Tipp Cycle on a tandem. She is part of the Irish junior blind football squad, based in Cork and also part of the Vision Sports swimming set-up.
Annie Donnelly’s sporting life began at MayFest.“Vision Sports and MayFest mean I no longer stand on the side watching others play sport.”