Despite his young age, Shane has achieved alot of sporting honours over the past few years

Born with Spina Bifida, nineteen-year-old Shane Curran’s disability has never held him back. Shane is a member of the Galway Speeders, a disability multi-sport club, an enthusiastic athlete, an engineering student and much more. He had been very successful in his sporting career so far, and some of his most recent achievements include:

  • Represented Ireland at IWAS World Games in Sharjah, UAE winning a silver medal in U20 Shot put​.
  • Represented Ireland in Dubai National Games, achieving a new personal best in shot put.​
  • Captained a junior Irish team in the Disability Alliance games in Derby, UK, winning three gold medals​.
  • Represented Ireland at Czech Open in Olomouc​.
  • Won Irish Wheelchair Association Sport’s Athlete of the Year 2019 at the Grand Prix awards in Kilkenny.

All of that was just in 2019. But Shane’s achievements go back to 2012 when he was awarded the Irish Wheelchair Association/CPSI Best New Male Athlete.

Irish Wheelchair Association Sport’s Communications Officer Ciaran O’Regan spoke with Shane about how he kept his drive during the pandemic and life in his Connemara home of Moycullen. 

Tell us a little about yourself, Shane.

I’m an only child from Moycullen, Co Galway. I was born with Spina Bifida, and I am a wheelchair user. I have never let my disability hold me back. I am about to head to college in September in Limerick and have recently started driving. Sport has been a huge part of my life growing up. I became a member of the Galway Speeders club when I was about 5. I started playing wheelchair basketball and have tried many sports over the years. I currently do athletics with Irish Wheelchair Association, rowing with Galway rowing club, wheelchair hurling with Connacht GAA, as well as basketball, cycling, and swimming with Galway Speeders.

A lot of what you’ve achieved is in athletics. Is that your favourite sport or are you involved in more?

My favourite individual sport is definitely athletics – shot put, discus and javelin. My favourite team sport is wheelchair hurling.

How have you found the past year and a half trying to keep fit?

The past year and a half have been very difficult as I deferred college for a year due to Covid, so it was very boring. I managed to stay fit by doing indoor rowing on an ergometer and getting out for a cycle. I also have some weights and equipment at home.

What do you enjoy about training/competitions?

It’s great to be able to train again with the club and getting to see everyone. I’m looking forward to the Irish Wheelchair Association Sport’s Athletics Grand Prix competitions starting again in a couple of weeks as well as maybe an international competition this year. I have missed the travelling.

What do you enjoy about your club?

Galway Speeders is a multi-sport club, so there are a variety of sports and events happening. It’s always interesting. Also, there are members older and younger than me, so it’s good to help out with the younger ones, and I would like to do some coaching in the future.

We touched on some big sporting moments for you in 2019, but you’ve been winning medals since 2012?

I have been very successful in athletics in the past few years at National & International levels. I have competed on the Irish Para Athletics team at the IWAS World Games on four occasions – (2018). I competed in the IWAS World Games in Athlone, winning a bronze for Ireland in Javelin U20, (2017). I competed in the IWAS World Games in Portugal, winning bronze in Javelin U20, (2016). I won the Sporting Hero award in Hidden Hearing Heroes awards (2015). I represented Ireland in the IWAS World Games in Stadskanaal, Holland winning Gold and two Bronze (2014). I also competed in IWA’s Grand Prix games & Celtic cup in Wales (2013) and Irish Wheelchair Association’s Grand Prix & Disability Sport England (DSE) games.

Where do you hope to be in five years?

In five years, I hope to have completed my qualification in agricultural engineering. I hope to be still competing in sport, especially athletics. I would like to compete in more international games, but my biggest goal is to compete in the Paralympics.

What advice would you have for younger athletes?

To younger athletes, I would say that competing in sport is important but having fun and making friends is far more important. I have a wide network of friends all over the world through my participation in sport.

Thanks to Shane for taking the time to talk to us, and best of luck with the year ahead.