The IAFA International squad are today recovering after a tough weekend of International friendlies hosted at Lancashire Football Association's County Ground, Leyland England, on Saturday and Sunday. The IAFA squad competed in two matches over the weekend against the Great British Amputee Football Association's World Cup squad and development squad.
On Saturday the IAFA played the squad GB will send to the Amputee Football World Cup in Mexico in November. Ireland conceded once in each half and lost the game 2-0 but frustrated the Brits, one of Europe's elite teams, and limited them to few clear-cut opportunities. Ireland struggled, however, to get their own attacking game going. Ireland lined out with two strikers and succeeded in disrupting GB's gameplan in the early stages. Dave Tweed, however, capitalised on a defensive error to put GB into the lead midway through the first half. A second from Mickey Chambers in the second half, as he reacted quickest to a cross into the Irish penalty area, secured the win for GB. Although disappointed with the result, ruing missed opportunities, the IAFA squad were left satisfied with a decent performance against a very strong GB outfit. Furthermore, debutants James Conroy and Kevin Cahillane performed very well in their first outings in the Irish shirt.
On Sunday the squad faced GB's Development squad in yet another tough test. Team GB started well and were the first to score with Lee Dobson curling a fine strike into the top corner of James Conroy's net. Ireland reacted well and pushed forward but failed to trouble GB's keeper as their attacks broke down in the final third. In the second half the IAFA pressed further up the pitch in search of an equaliser. James Boyle hit the post and Kevan O'Rourke saw a header from a Donal Bligh corner drift narrowly over the crossbar. From the resulting goalkick, however, James Boyle forced a GB defender into a hurried clearance and Kevan O'Rourke pounced to stab the ball between the onrushing keepers legs to equalise for Ireland. Ireland continued to attack looking for a winner but GB held out for the draw. Final score 1-1.
Two decent performances and two games in which the IAFA squad will feel they could have done better but one huge step towards closing the gap between themselves and Great Britain. The IAFA fielded 3 debutants over the weekend, Ted Smithers, James Conroy and Kevin Cahillane and all 13 members of the squad that travelled played over the weekend. Attention now turns to the next training camp and further training games in anticipation of the Amputee World Cup in November. The IAFA would like to sincerely thank the Great British Amputee Football Association and Lancashire Football Association for their hospitality over the weekend. The squad were extremely well looked after on what was a great weekend for European Amputee Football.
The IAFA International squad will travel to Lancashire on 25th July to compete in two World Cup warm-up Internationals against the Great British Amputee Football team. The Irish team will play twice, on Saturday 26th at 15.00 and Sunday 27th at 11.00. Both Ireland and team GB will send squads to Mexico for the Amputee World Cup later this year. Over the weekend the Irish squad will test themselves against some of Europe's finest amputee footballers. Former World Champions Great Britain have cleaned up on the European stage in recent years, winning successive Amp Futbol Cups in Warsaw, Poland, in 2012 and 2013, as well as, The Paddy Power Cup in Limerick last year but our Amps in Green are well set for this challenge! Stay tuned to our website, Facebook page and Twitter feed for updates and results over the weekend.
The IAFA squad lost narrowly to the 6th Infantry Battalion at Custume Barracks in Athlone yesterday evening. In sweltering heat, 24 degrees, against a fine side, All-Ireland Military Champions, the squad put on a fine display against the odds. The Defence Forces side conceded a penalty early on as they struggled to get to grips with the adapted rules of the game but Alan Wall was denied by the woodwork. The 6th Infantry Battalion then struck twice before half-time. The IAFA squad regrouped, however, and James Boyle converted from the penalty spot in the second half when the referee adjudged one of the Military players to have pushed Kevan O'Rourke in the box. The IAFA pushed on for an equaliser and had to defend resolutely as the 6th Infantry Battalion countered with pace. A number of excellent saves by Jack Conroy and some fine defending from David Saunders, Simon Baker and Kevin Cahillane kept the IAFA in with a chance but ultimately the Defence Forces side held out for the win. The game was watched by a crowd that included FAI President Paddy McCaul, Ireland International Sean St. Ledger and Ireland and Liverpool legend John Aldrige. Each player was presented with a medal afterwards to commemorate the occasion. The IAFA would like to say a huge thank you to all at Custume Barracks for such a warm welcome. To all who came out to support both teams and to the 6th Infantry Battalion for a competitive and warm spirited game. The IAFA squad now turn there attention to their games in Lancashire at the weekend.
The IAFA's International squad trained at Ballymun United FC yesterday in preparation for what will be their busiest week in the year to date. The squad completed their final preparations ahead of games against a Defence Forces Selection and the Great British Amputee Football Association. The squad will take part in an exhibition match against members of the Defence Forces on Tuesday evening at Costume Barracks in Athlone, kick off at 6pm. The game is being held as part of the FAI's Festival of Football, hosted this year in Westmeath. The FAI's President Paddy McCaul, Chief Executive John Delaney, Republic of Ireland Manager Martin O'Neill, as well as legends Ronnie Whelan and John Aldrige, will all visit the county throughout the week, while the Festival will close with the FAI's 93rd AGM next Saturday. By then the IAFA will have travelled to Lancashire, England, where they will play in two World Cup warm-up games against team GB. The squad are fighting fit and in high spirits in anticipation of the week ahead. Stay tuned to our website, Facebook page and Twitter feed for updates on these three fixtures across the week.
The IAFA would like to thank Ballymun United FC for facilitating our training session yesterday and to all those who took part in the training game.