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Video: GAA stars dive in to chilly charity challenge

NewsBy Sunday World
Dubs Dean Rock, Dublin Ladies All Star winner Sinead Finnegan, Jason Sherlock and Denis Bastick after their dip
Dubs Dean Rock, Dublin Ladies All Star winner Sinead Finnegan, Jason Sherlock and Denis Bastick after their dip
Briege Corkery, Rena Buckely and Brid Stack brave the waters down south
Briege Corkery, Rena Buckely and Brid Stack brave the waters down south

Some of the GAA’s best known stars have joined forces with Special Olympics Ireland to call on people to get ‘freezin’ for a reason’ this December and take the Polar Plunge for the charity.

Dublin’s All Ireland winners Dean Rock and Denis Bastick, along with Cork champs Briege Corkery, Rena Buckely and Brid Stack, are just some of the big name players to take the icy plunge for Special Olympics to help promote sign-ups for the fundraising event which taking place in locations around Ireland on Saturday December 12th and in Cork city on Saturday December 5th.
 
In Dublin football champs Dean Rock, Denis Bastick, former player Jason Sherlock and Dublin Ladies All Star winner Sinead Finnegan, were all on-hand to help launch the event at Forty Foot in Sandycove, Dublin. The unique event will see plungers enjoy an icy dip at the iconic bathing area whilst raising money for Special Olympics athletes. To encourage people to get in the mood for plunging, the three players, along with Sherlock, who is now involved in the Dublin management set-up, enjoyed their own icy dip at the bathing area together with Special Olympics athlete Keith Butler, from Walkinstown, Dublin, who won gold in the 800 metre freestyle event at the recent World Summer Games in Los Angeles.

 
Speaking at the launch, Special Olympics ambassador Jason Sherlock said: “Ice-baths are common in our sport but this event is a much better way to get ‘freezin’ for a reason! I would encourage everyone to sign up today at specialolympics.ie/polarplunge and help raise funds for Ireland’s most inspiring athletes.”
 
In Cork legendary dual code players Briege Corkery and Rena Buckley – who helped their county to All Ireland glory in football and camogie this summer – were joined by football teammate star Brid Stack for their icy dip at Inchydoney Island along with the Special Olympics polar bear. Also present at the recent Cork launch were local members of Special Olympics’ Team Ireland who competed at the Los Angeles Games. Gymnast Aoife O’Sullivan who trains with Owenabue Special Olympics Club and Colm Monahan from Ballincollig Special Olympics Club cheered on the brave plungers as they took on their plunge to help promote the Cork City Polar Plunge which is taking place at Blackpool Shopping Centre on December 5th.


 
The Cork event is being run in association with gardai as part of the force’s role with the Law Enforcement Torch Run, an organisation that has been in partnership with Special Olympics for many years. Sergeant John O’Connor from Anglesea Street Garda Station, who is spearheading the event on December 5th, commented: “Gardaí in Cork are thrilled to get behind the Polar Plunge 2015 to help raise funds for Special Olympics. We’ve a few brave souls lined up to take the plunge in the dunk tank in Blackpool Shopping Centre on December 5th and would encourage the public to get behind this fun and very worthwhile event”.
 
While in Galway it was the turn of football captain Danny Cummins and team-mates Paul Conroy and Finian Hanley who were joined for their plunge at Salthill by ladies players Annette Clarke and Olivia Divilly. Speaking at the launch, Special Olympics ambassador Danny Cummins said: “This is a really great and fun event which I hope the people of Galway will get behind. We got ‘freezin’ for a really great reason and I would encourage everyone to sign up today at specialolympics.ie/polarplunge.” 
 
Special Olympics Ireland is hoping to attract several hundred plungers to each event. The organisation – who support athletes with intellectual disabilities - has partnered with the Gaelic Players Association and the Women’s Gaelic Players Association to help promote the events and you can see they literally jumped right in.
 
Speaking of the partnership, Aoife Lane chairperson of the WGPA, said: “The WGPA is delighted to be working with Special Olympics Ireland, supporting the return of the Polar Plunge season!  We are both sporting organisations who are working to support and develop members not only as athletes but also as people.  Equally, we want to embrace and share the fun and character that exists in teams throughout Ireland.  Good luck to everyone taking part in the Polar Plunge, particularly players from Cork, Galway and Dublin who braved the icy waters for such a great cause.”
 
Those interested in signing up for the Polar Plunge can register at www.specialolympics.ie/polarplunge. Registration costs €15 and plungers are asked to raise an additional €35 which goes directly to supporting athletes with intellectual disabilities. Plungers who raise more than €50 will also receive a complimentary ‘Ice Cool’ Polar Plunge t-shirt.
 
Polar Plunges are happening at the following locations: Would be plungers are encouraged to register early online at www.specialolympics.ie/polarplunge to secure their place!
  

  • Forty Foot, Sandycove, Dublin 12th Dec 2015 – midday
  • Belfast Marina, Titanic Quarter (Behind SSE Arena) 12th Dec 2015 – 11am
  • Blackrock Beach, Salthill, Co. Galway 12th Dec 2015 – 2pm
  • Clogherhead Beach, Co. Louth 12th Dec 2015 – 11am
  • Blackpool Shopping Centre, Cork City 5th Dec 2015 – midday
  • Rathmullan Strand, Letterkenny, Co Donegal 12th Dec 2015 – 11.30am
  • The Quay, Athlone, Co. Westmeath 12th Dec 2015 – 11am
  • UL Activity Centre, Killaloe, Co. Clare 12th Dec 2015 – midday

 

SOI Polar Plunge 2015 from Marc O'Sullivan on Vimeo.