In January 2023, Laois Sports Partnership delivered an online Couch to 5k programme. This programme gave participants the tools and freedom to get more active when it suited them best. As part of the registration participants received a Couch to 5km guiding booklet to assist them on their journey.
Damien O’Neill was one of 130 people who registered for the programme. He took part with his buddies Daniel and Meaghan from the Muiriosa Foundation. Initially in the first couple of weeks of the programme Damien and Daniel needed encouragement from Meaghan. Soon this encouragement was not required. The two lads saw their distance increase and their times improving, they were seeing the progress that they were making and this motivated them even further.
During this time, the RTE programme ‘Operation Transformation’ was being recorded throughout the County of Laois. Damien and Daniel attended the Ad Break Challenges to take part in the exercises which were recorded for the show. Damien continued to attend the Ad Break Challenges and caught the eye of Rob O’Connor, one of the programmes producers and he encouraged Damien to visit the shows 5km finale in the Phoenix Park in Dublin. Damien and his father Tadgh accepted the offer and made their way to the Phoenix Park. Only a couple of weeks after beginning our couch to 5km programme Damien completed a 5km along with 100’s of others in Dublin. This along was a fantastic milestone in itself but Damien wasted no time in taking on his next challenge.
Last Friday, on St. Patricks Day, Damien and his father pulled their gear back on and completed the Streets of Portlaoise. Damien received an incredible amount of support and was cheered on as he crossed the finish line with a big smile on his face. All at Laois Sports Partnership are massively proud of Damien and all he has achieved recently.
We look forward to following what he does next.
Damien is also a very strong swimmer and a member of the Laochra Laois Special Olympics Team.