Players from Junior leagues up and down the country will represent the Rep. of Ireland Senior CP Team in Argentina at the IFCPF World Championships this month. The team which was named by manager Paul Breen is made up of players from clubs playing Leinster Senior League, AUL, Munster Senior League and Donegal League to name just a few.
The Irish will face Brazil, Spain and Canada in Group A of the 16 team tournament which is being held in San Luis, Argentina over the next few weeks.
Breen who takes charge for his first tournament said “Although it is a tough group we are in, our first objective is to get out of the group and into the quarter finals and I know the players are relishing the challenge. I’ve been happy with the progress that the players have made over the last few months in training.”
“We have prepared well for the tournament and we are really looking forward now to getting there and putting all the hard work that the staff and players have been doing into action”.
The Irish squad showed their quality in reaching the Paralympics in Rio last year and will head into the tournament looking to make a mark on the world stage. “Tournament football is tough for any player but particularly so for CP players. With a game almost every second day the use of the squad and recovery will be very important for us.
Former Finn Harps player Oisin Merritt makes the squad. The Donegal native made national headlines in 2014 when he survived death after a fall from a balcony on a holiday in Spain left him in a coma and fighting for life.
Breen can also call upon experienced trio Gary Messett, Dillon Sheridan and Ryan Nolan in his squad, which includes eight of the squad that participated in the Paralympics in Rio last year.
“Gary has previously won Player of the Tournament at the European Championships and it will be the experience of players such as Gary, Dillon and Ryan will be hugely important considering that six players are stepping up to this level for the first time,” said Breen.
The Irish commence their campaign against Spain in our opening game on Sunday, September 10. They meet the Canadians two days later then play Brazil on Thursday September 14.
CP football is uniquely different to traditional 11-a-side football as it is a 7-a-side game and players have a classification based on their physical attributes which impacts on how the coaches can use them or make changes in games. Only so many players of each class are permitted on the pitch at a time and also there is no off side.
“So we also have to take this into consideration when selecting the squad, picking a starting team and making substitutions so it can be more complex than 11-a-side football in that regard. For example, it may not necessarily be the case that your class 5 players play in the same positions so making substitutions can result in team tactical changes and positional changes for other players. And because there is no offside so this can affect how you tactically approach a game”
“There is a lot of excitement amongst the group ahead of this challenge and it is worth noting that there will be an Ireland team playing in a World Championships this September,” added Breen.
“We will be travelling to Argentina just as the Ireland MNT kick off their game against Serbia so hopefully when we touch down in Buenos Aires we’ll be hearing a good result for Martin O’Neill and his squad.”
The tournament can be followed online at: https://www.ifcpf.com/tournaments/view/45 with a number of games to be streamed live.
Ireland Senior CP Squad
Goalkeepers: James Naughton (Development Squad) , Mark Barry (Kilmount Boys)
Defenders: Carl McKee (Swords Manor), Mark Barry (Kilmount Boys), Dylan O’Brien (Lucan United), Aaron Tier (Star Rovers)
Midfielders: Tom Badun (St Kevin’s Boys), Oisin Merritt (Ballybofey United), Peter Cotter (Everton AFC), Gary Messett (Arklow Town), Conor Tuite (Newfoundwell FC), Thomas Maher (Merville United)
Forwards: Dillon Sheridan (Palmerstown FC), Ryan Nolan (Rathmichael FC), Sam Carroll (Glencormac United)
IFCPF CP Football World Championships / San Luis Argentina 2017
Sunday, September 10
Ireland v Spain, Stadium Estancia Grande (14:00 Irish)
Tuesday, September 12
Ireland v Canada, Stadium J.G.Funes (16:00 Irish)
Thursday, September 14
Brazil v Ireland, Stadium Estancia Grande (16:00 Irish)