SUDS European Champs



People with Down syndrome, just like everyone else, have diverse abilities. When we talk about sport, this is equally true. Although our members are exposed to areas of sport from time to time, there are still countless barriers to overcome and unexplored opportunities out there.

2021 brought on the establishment of the Warrior Wolves, as sports team for athletes with Down syndrome. The group consisting of athletes/players from multiple sports, falls under Down syndrome Ireland Louth Meath branch. Creating awareness around their abilities and creating opportunities for them to take part, are some of the aims of the group.

Ireland’s national Down Syndrome team hopes to participate in the SUDS European Championships for athletes with Down Syndrome, to be held in Padua, Italy from 3-10 September 2023. Hosting this multi-sport event is, the Italian Paralympic Sport Federation for athletes with intellectual or relational disabilities, FISDFIR

The aim of this international participation is to give Irish athletes, artistic swimmers and players the unique opportunity to broaden their horizons. At the same time we hope this participation will shine the light back on sport development for athletes with Down syndrome in Ireland.

Warrior Wolves, Louth Meath branch are preparing to send athletes in 3 sports;

  • Athletics
  • Artistic swimming
  • Futsal in collaboration with the FAI.

Athletes have presented themselves though qualifying or by selection, to be part of the Team travelling.

3 Athletes

4 Artistic swimmers

8 Futsal players – As this is a national team, it is made up from players from other DSI branches, with 1 player from our branch.

Team management:

Eleanor Cosgrove, branch committee member will be the team’s manager during the event.

Athletics – Eleanor will also oversee the Athletics team.

Artistic swimming – Aoife Drumm, is coach to the team.

Futsal – Paul Smyth, FAI Head coach. Brendon Corbin, FAI Coach. Sean Mulligan, Physiotherapist.

After the first Futsal selections Josh Hennessy said: ”I am so happy to think that I have a chance to wear an Ireland shirt for real.”

Us as parents never thought there would ever be a Down syndrome team, let alone an Irish International Futsal team. It is the stuff of dreams. So proud of Josh, it’s just brilliant to see him play alongside his peers.” John and Anette Hennessy

This year I have been chosen with three other of our Syncro group to take part in the Artistic Swimming Competition as part of Down Syndrome Team Ireland Delegation at the SUDS European Championships in Padova, Italy from 3 -10 September 2023.

Futsal is a 5 a side game played indoors. Where the ball is heavier and the pace of the game fast. Futsal is great for skill development and has been played at an international level by players with Down syndrome since 2018.