Cork SportsAbility Seminar a Huge Success

13 Mar 2015

Dr Susan Crawford was a guest speaker at the Cork SportsAbility Seminar, hosted by the Cork Sports Ability Forum in CIT on Thursday evening, the 5th March 2015. There was a fantastic turnout on the night, full of enthusiastic people who are passionate about promoting sport for people with disabilities in Cork.



Taken from The Evening Echo 12th March 2015.


This event was hosted by the Cork SportsAbility forum in CIT on Thursday evening 5th March. What a fantastic array of speakers we had for those who were lucky enough to attend. The seminar opened with Ona McGrath of CIT who welcomed everyone and explained how the Cork SportsAbility Forum was established in 2008 to bring voluntary parties together from a range of sporting and disability organisations with the aim of promoting sport for people with disabilities in Cork.


The first speaker on the night was Padraig Healy, Sports Inclusion Disability Officer (SIDO) with Cork Sports Partnership. He explained the role of the SIDO and gave an insight into some of the programmes run by Cork Sports Partnership aimed at promoting sport for people with disabilities and inclusion.


The Cork SportsAbility Forum were delighted to announce Paralympic medalist Orla Barry as the ambassador of the Forum. Orla is an Olympic bronze medalist from the London 2012 Paralympic games and a world silver medalist from the 2013 world championships. Orla is a fantastic role model for anyone with a disability and is an example of the positive impact sport can have on a person’s life. She spoke about her early involvement in sport through swimming and in her teenage years when she took up athletics. She portrayed the passion she has for athletics and stated “I would hope to see mainstream sporting clubs in Cork become more inclusive towards people with disabilities”.


Dr Susan Crawford of the Physical Education and Sports Studies Department in UCC gave a very insightful look at Autism and Sport. She discussed the history and common treats of autism and gave wonderful examples of how coaches can adapt sports sessions to be inclusive.


The regional Autism Team with the Brothers of Charity, Maria Gleeson and Maeve Feehan were next to take the floor. They spoke about World Autism Day which takes place on April 2nd 2015 and gave details of a wonderful booklet they have published in conjunction with Cork Sports Partnership. The booklet is for mainstream sports clubs with lots of useful tips on how to be more autism friendly.


The third topic on the night was Blind football. This was presented by Nick Harrison, Football For All development officer with the FAI and Donnacha McCarthy, Irish International Blind Footballer. Nick gave us an insight into the many programmes which the FAI support in disability football. Donnacha had the audience captivated with the his experiences of playing blind football at international level and his hopes and plans for the future to further develop Blind Football Ireland.


Our final guest on the night was well known wheelchair athlete Jerry Forde. Shane Simcox of Mallow Athletic Club and gave us a fascinating insight into Jerry’s early life. He explained how Jerry got his first racing chair in 1992 and gave details of a typical weekly training schedule. The audience were enthralled by the commitment he gives to the sport he loves. The highlight being in December 2014 where Jerry completed his 300th Marathon, an enormous achievement for any athlete.


The audience were very much engaged with all the speakers with plenty of questions being asked during the question and answer session. The Sports Ability Forum committee members would like to thank CIT for supporting this event.


The next big event for the SportsAbility forum is the SportsAbility Day which will take place on April 18th in the UCC Mardyke Arena Cork from 12 - 3pm. This promises to be an exciting day of sport demonstrations and information stands. For anyone with an interest in sport the Sports Ability Day is not to be missed, some very special sporting stars will be in attendance on the day. For further information email


School of Education

Scoil an Oideachais

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