The Republic of Ireland Cerebral Palsy squad has been announced ahead of the 2018 IFCPF European Championships in the Netherlands.
Manager Paul Breen held a number of open trials around the country ahead of the European Championships and has named a 14-player squad ahead of the Championships which begin on Wednesday, July 25.
Former Finn Harps player Oisin Merritt makes the squad as well as FAI FFA Player of the Year Gary Messett (pictured above). Cherry Orchard striker Dillon Sheridan was the tournament’s top-scorer last year with 10 goals and Daragh Ruane receives his first call-up to the squad.
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.
Ireland are set to begin their tournament against Denmark and will face Germany, Northern Ireland and the Netherlands ahead of the finals stage. The tournament set to end on Sunday, August 5 and all matches will take place on the KNVB Campus in Zeist.
CP manager Paul Breen believes Ireland can be confident heading into the tournament: “We are looking forward to the tournament now and have prepared well over the last number of months,” said Breen. “We’re happy with the draw and we’ll be looking to finish in the top two of our group to qualify for the semi-finals and see what we can do from there. We can build on last years sixth place finish at the World Championships. We’re stronger for the experience and I think we can be confident that the team can kick on and compete with the best. “The tournament will be very demanding on the players which will see a total of six games to be played in 12 days, with three games in four days at one point. This is all the more reason we need a strong squad as all players will be required to play their part at some point.”
Republic of Ireland CP Squad
Goalkeeper: Mark Barry (Kilmount Boys FC/CP Development)
Defenders: Joseph Markey (Blayney Rovers), Darragh Byrne (Willows FC), Luke Evans (St. Paul Artane FC), Dara Snell (Arklow Celtic)
Midfielders: Oisin Merritt (Ballybofey United), Gary Messitt (c) (Arklow Town), Ryan Nolan (Rathmichael FC), Peter Cotter (Everton AFC), Daragh Ruane (CP Development)
Forwards: Aaron Tier (Star Rovers), James Naughton (Unattached), Dillon Sheridan (Cherry Orchard), Sam Carroll (Kingston Rovers/CP Development)
25/07/2018 – Republic of Ireland v Denmark, 4pm, KNVB Campus, Zeist
29/07/2018 – Republic of Ireland v Germany, 12pm, KNVB Campus, Zeist
30/07/2018 – Northern Ireland v Republic of Ireland, 7pm, KNVB Campus, Zeist
01/08/2018 – Netherlands v Republic of Ireland, 7pm, KNVB Campus, Zeist
03/08/2018 – Semi-Finals/5th-8th place play-offs, TBC, KNVB Campus, Zeist
05/08/2018 – Final/3rd-8th place play-offs, TBC, KNVB Campus, Zeist
Ireland’s Cerebral Palsy team is co-funded by the FAI, Paralympics Ireland and Sport Ireland.