Documentary On Newstalk: Personal Best - The Story Behind Irish Women in Paralympic Sport

To launch our Autumn Season of Documentary on Newstalk, we reveal the massive impact sport can have on women's lives

In 'Personal Best', radio producer Susan Dennehy profiles, and follows over the course of several months, the progress of two female athletes who will represent Ireland at the Paralympic Games in Rio (September 7th-18th)

Through incredible personal stories, the massive impact sport can have on women’s lives is gently revealed.

At just 21, swimmer, Ellen Keane will compete in her third Paralympic Games.

Ellen, who was born without her left forearm and hand is currently ranked third in the world but has yet to win a paralympic medal. Both Ellen and her parents attribute her confidence in life to her sporting achievements.

‘I was really insecure about my arm when I was younger. I used to wear my sleeves down all the time. With swimming there was nowhere to hide, it was just me and my swimsuit.’

For Deirdre Mongan who is 38, this will be her first time to compete at the Paralympics.

Galway woman, Deirdre, was paralysed in a farming accident at the age of 14.

She has never let her disability compromise her life, as well as being a world class athlete, she has a full-time job, and is mum to Amy, age 2.

‘Sport has made me strong enough for the physical side of minding Amy. I can manage to lift her up on to my lap which I don’t know if I would be able to do if I wasn’t as fit as I am now.'

With exclusive access to the women and their families, this documentary is not just about elite athletes, it’s about daughters, mothers and wives who strive to fulfill their potential in both their every day lives as well as in their sporting careers.


Listen to the full podcast below


Personal Best – The Story Behind Irish Women in Paralympic Sport’ was produced and narrated by Susan Dennehy. The programme was made with the support of the BAI, Sound and Vision Grant.

For further information, please contact: Francesca Lalor, Series Producer of Documentary on Newstalk