Campabilities Ireland announces an Exceptional new Ambassador
We are delighted to announce that Benetton Treviso and Italian Rugby International, Ian McKinley has come on board to support Cara, and in particular as Ambassador for Campabilities Ireland.
In 2011, after playing 6 times for Leinster, McKinley was forced to retire from rugby union after losing the sight in his left eye. After his retirement, he moved to Italy to work as a coach for junior sides. However, despite the blindness in one eye, McKinley made a return to rugby in 2014 in Italy using specially manufactured goggles, firstly with Leonorso in a regional third division match, in which McKinley scored 28 points, and then with Viadana on a two-year contract in the National Championship of Excellence, which, in turn, led to him being signed by another Italian side, Zebre as Fly-half cover for the 2015 Rugby World Cup and 2016 Six Nations Championship. Shortly afterwards, McKinley was signed by Treviso ahead of the 2016–17 Pro12 season.
Since McKinley never played a game for Ireland before his first retirement, having spent three years in Italian rugby made him eligible to represent Italy on the international stage. Italy’s head coach Conor O’Shea included McKinley in his squad for the 2017 Summer Tests, but decided not to field him in any game. On 11 November 2017, however, Ian McKinley played his first international game for Italy, in an Autumn Internationals test match against Fiji, subbed in after 62 minutes for Carlo Canna. Italy won that game 19-10, with McKinley scoring the last goal kick.
Ian has come on board to support, and raise awareness of Campabilities Ireland on behalf of Cara. Camp Abilities is a residential, sport and physical activity camp for children with vision impairments. Ian said about his involvement with Cara that he is “delighted to be involved with the fantastic work that they (Cara) do in helping people with a disability to become involved in sport”
At Camp Abilities Ireland, we give children the opportunity to try new sports and activities they might not have had the chance to do in the past. By giving the children the chance to try new activities, not only could they find something they really enjoy, but their self-esteem can increase, often giving them the confidence to advocate for themselves in their own community. Since our first Camp Abilities camp in Ireland, campers have taken part in rock climbing, canoeing, kayaking, orienteering, soccer, goal ball, judo, swimming, horse riding… and many, many more!
Speaking at the announcement, Gearoid O’Doherty, Campabilities Coordinator for Cara, said “We are honoured to have Ian supporting us in the work we do with Campabilities, Ian understands first hand the opportunities that we are helping to create for children with vision impairment”.
Camp Abilities takes place every year during the first week in Easter in Cappanalea Outdoor Education Centre in County Kerry. For more on Campabilities, Click Here