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Welcome Home Paul!


from Athenry AC website Paul Hession was back into Athenry last Saturday evening after his successful campaign at the Olympics in Beijing a few weeks earlier. His official homecoming started at his home out in Park and, on a fine clear but cold evening, proceeded into the Square in the centre of Athenry, where he was met by over 500 well-wishers, who congregated from all over East Galway to welcome him back.

He has actually raced twice since the Olympics, beating a number of finalists from the 200M in the process. His three race series at the Olympics captured the hearts and minds of the whole of Ireland and was very unlucky not to reach the final, posting a 5th place finish in the first semi-final, coming 10th overall out of 16 starters. He pieced together a top-quality series of times but was fractionally outside what he needed to post to qualify for the last 8 in this very hotly-contested event. His times in the three races were, as follows: 20.59, 20.32 and 20:38.

At the Square, he was first received by local parish priest, Canon Tony King. His near neighbour and current Mayor of County Galway, Peter Feeney, was next up with fulsome tributes, hoping that Paul would make it through to London in four years time. Local TD, Noel Treacy, made a rousing tribute to both Paul and other local athlete, Olive Loughnane, next. Iain Shaw, as secretary of Athenry AC (Senior) was also full of praise for Paul’s efforts in China. Finally, Paul thanked everyone for their support through the years, naming his early coaches Tom Page, Mary Kelly and Dermot McNamara, as particular influences. He also thanked his main commercial sponsors, Coffey Construction and Tom Hogan Motors, for their financial support in recent years.