Triple Olympic medal haul for Clady’s golden girl

August 3, 2015

Clady girl Dearbhail Savage is the pride of County Armagh, after she scored a hat-trick medal win in last week’s Special Olympics World Summer Games in Los Angeles, bringing home two equestrian gold medals and a silver for Ireland.

At 15-years old, Dearbhail is one of Team Ireland’s youngest competitors but youth has certainly not held back the rising equestrian star who began the sport just three years ago when she joined the Saddle and Reins Special Olympic Club, based at Oakwood Riding School in Mayobridge.   Her mother Karen feels equestrian is the perfect sport for her daughter and is extremely grateful she found such a kind, caring club with Saddle and Reins.

Dearbhail took part in three events overall, winning a gold in her category on Wednesday, followed by a silver on Friday, and rounding off her spectacular winning streak with another gold win with her partner Thomas in a team relay event on Saturday.

No stranger to winning, Dearbhail scooped two gold medals in her very first competition at the regionals in April 2013.  The win eventually led to her selection for the Special Olympics Ireland Games.

The teenager’s campaign to get to the Special Olympics was boosted by Killeavy Cycling Club who raised the fantastic sum of £1,200 with a fundraising cycle in May to help the young hopeful pay for the equipment she needed to train for the Games. The group were among the first to congratulate the gold medal winner, sharing the moment she was told about her achievement on the club’s Facebook page.

Dearbhail and her family’s ecstatic reaction to the news that she had clinched her first Special Olympics gold medal was captured on video during an interview with Today FM’s Ian Dempsey on Wednesday and was quickly shared on social media, capturing the hearts of supporters around the world.

Clady GAA club also tweeted their congratulations, describing the equestrian star as the “pride of Clady”.

Speaking after Dearbhail’s winning performance on Thursday, Caroline Brennan, Head Equestrian Coach said: “Dearbhail is thriving on all of the attention out here at the Games – everyone loves her. She is camera ready all the time and there have been lots of poses for selfies and pictures with people from right around the world.

“The pony she’s riding is very cute, it’s almost as if they were made for each other.  Everyone we meet is asking about her; where she’s from, how old she is and how long she’s been competing.  But when she gets on the horse, she means business. She’s a very talented young lady.

“I feel very proud of the whole team; they’re riding strange horses and are competing in great heat. The athletes should all be exceptionally proud of their achievements here; their families are so happy and there were plenty of tears of joy. It’s a fantastic thing to see the families experiencing the full joy of Special Olympics.”

The World Games finished on Saturday with the 88 strong Team Ireland racking up an impressive bounty of 86 medals.

Young Dearbhail is expected home this week to what will surely be a hero’s welcome for the Special Olympics champion.