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Service dog Bosco is the Horgan family’s new best friend 

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When Shane and Deirdre Horgan suspected that their youngest son, Fionn, might be autistic, they put their name on a waiting list for a service dog. Two years later, My Canine Companion gave them Bosco, an exceptionally talented Goldendoodle who has quickly become a much-loved member of the family. Their new furry friend is getting on great with Fionn (6) and his older brother Brian (8) and Shane says Bosco has already made a big difference.

“Thankfully Fionn is mild on the spectrum but what we’ve noticed now is that whenever he’s crying or having a bit of a moment, Bosco will go over and sit down next to him. If we’re in town, Fionn might get a little over-sensitive to noise and things like that and he’ll start rubbing Bosco’s tail. It kind of distracts him from whatever’s going on.

“We were at the beach one day and Fionn decided to run off. The dog ran after him, and then came back up to tell me where he was. He didn’t leave Fionn’s side for the rest of the day after that. Our biggest fear for Fionn is that he might wander off for five seconds and he’s so quiet he wouldn’t answer if we called him. Hopefully when Bosco is fully trained we’ll be able to attach him to Fionn’s waist. If you commanded him to stay, he wouldn’t move and you could tell him to come and he wouldn’t run across the road or anything. It’s just a safety valve.

“Talking is difficult for Fionn so when somebody comes and asks if they can pet the dog, we get the person to speak to him. It’s a good icebreaker and there’s a bit of social interaction, which is beneficial for Fionn.”

As a service dog, Bosco has access rights to shops and restaurants and Shane says that places in town have been very welcoming so far.

It costs about €10,000 to train Bosco so the Horgans are currently selling raffle tickets to raise funds for My Canine Companion, the charity who have provided them with this life-changing service dog. As well as raising money, they’re also hoping to raise awareness about autism.

“Sometimes it’s not just a bold child,” Shane explains. “There can be a lot of things going on. Simple things like eating and sleeping are difficult for Fionn. People need to be aware that when a kid is having a bit of a moment in Penneys or Dunnes, it’s probably an accumulation of loads of things that the child is struggling with.”

Shane, a well-known local basketballer, says the fundraising has been going well. “Killarney people are brilliant,” he says. “They support everything.”

The draw will take place on June 16 and there are plenty of terrific prizes up for grabs. To buy a ticket, contact Shane directly on 086 3740220.

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Fossa’s marathon man competes in Vienna

By Sean Moriarty They are a familiar sight on training sessions out the Fossa way, but last weekend two Killarney marathon runners made themselves known in Vienna, Austria. Tony Harty (Fossa) and Seamus Murphy (Milltown and Glencar) train together and travel together to international marathons all over the world. On Sunday they contested the Vienna Marathon […]

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By Sean Moriarty

They are a familiar sight on training sessions out the Fossa way, but last weekend two Killarney marathon runners made themselves known in Vienna, Austria.

Tony Harty (Fossa) and Seamus Murphy (Milltown and Glencar) train together and travel together to international marathons all over the world.

On Sunday they contested the Vienna Marathon with Tony recording a personal-best time of 2hrs and 45mins. He finished second in the Over 45 category and 27th overall, while Tony completed the course in 3hrs and 3mins.

“You won’t see one of us without the other,” said Tony.

Niall Thompson of Killorglin was also competing in the event.

Tony is a member of the well-known Harty family of Waterford. His two brothers Phillip and William and sister Rebecca all raced for Ireland.

Tony took up running later than his siblings and contested his first marathon in 2015 when was 39-years-old.

Now 45 he cannot stop running and takes in at least two overseas marathons every year as well as Irish and local events.

“It is all part of the experience,” he told the Killarney Advertiser. Both he and Seamus have previously contested marathons in Barcelona, Valencia and Rotterdam and he intends to return to Spain in early December for another crack at the Valencia event.

He prepared for Sunday’s race by winning overall at the Churchtown 5-mile race in Cork last month and the Antrim Half-Marathon a few weeks ago.

“Vienna was very hot, up to 26 degrees, and lots of people were suffering,” he added. “Vienna was supposed to run in April but it got deferred. We prefer running in cooler conditions. Valencia will be around 10 degrees in December which is ideal.”

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Jordan’s new role with St Paul’s

By Sean Moriarty Killarney’s Paralympic hero Jordan Lee is to take on a new role with Scott’s Lakers St Paul’s Killarney Basketball Club. Jordan began his sporting career with the local basketball club where he created history by becoming the first amputee athlete to represent their country at international level. The High Jumper then switched […]

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By Sean Moriarty

Killarney’s Paralympic hero Jordan Lee is to take on a new role with Scott’s Lakers St Paul’s Killarney Basketball Club.

Jordan began his sporting career with the local basketball club where he created history by becoming the first amputee athlete to represent their country at international level.

The High Jumper then switched to track and field and qualified for the Tokyo Paralympics where he made history by becoming the first Kerry athlete to act as a flag bearer for an opening ceremony and lead an Irish team into an Olympic Stadium.

Now back home and preparing for the next Olympics in Paris, he has returned to his first love and will join the backroom staff at the local Division One basketball club ahead of their National League campaign which begins next month.

His father Jarlath Lee is head coach with St Paul’s.

“Jordan is joining us as our strength and conditioning coach,” Jarlath told the Killarney Advertiser.

INTERNATIONALS

Meanwhile, Scott’s Lakers St Paul’s Killarney Basketball Club National League team will have a distinctive feel to it this year after securing the services of three overseas players it for the season ahead.

The club’s biggest signing is Canadian professional Ben Miller. It was originally hoped that the former two-time Manitoba Player of the Year would play for the local side last season but the pandemic got in the way and the National League was never played. However, he did play two training games this time last year before returning to Canada until travel restrictions lifted.

“He is a good guy, very approachable and very good with the young members,” Jarlath said.

The club has also signed Bulgarian International Emilian Grudov.

The 20-year-old has already represented his home country at U16, 18 and 20 level.

“He is young, athletic and very good offensively,” added Lee.

The returning Lithuanian Dianius Varanaukus completes the club international line up for the 2020/21 season.

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