The IAFA International squad descended upon Moate, Co. Westmeath, over the weekend of September 12th-14th, for their 8th training camp of the year in the lead up to the Amputee World Cup. The squad were most hospitably welcomed by the community in Moate across the entire weekend where they continued their training and participated in a charity football match to help raise funds for local amputee Conor Dufficy. Five year old Conor had his leg amputated just recently following a tragic accident but the local community in Moate have admirably rallied around Conor and his family, launching a fundraising campaign in his aid.
Following fitness testing at Moate Community School on Friday evening and training sessions at Moate All Whites GAA Complex on Saturday, the IAFA squad took to the field to play a Moate legends team, captained by Conor's Dad, on Sunday. An exciting, enthralling and competitive game ensued. The Irish amputees started the better with Kevan O'Rourke and James Boyle linking up well in the early stages. James Boyle opened the scoring, finishing coolly, having gotten on the end of a Garry Hoey through ball. Moate responded well, however, scoring twice before half-time, having realised that although their opposition were amputees that they were more than capable of playing football. The amputees started the second half brightly. Kevan O'Rourke equalised from the penalty spot and James Boyle added a third goal with a powerful finish into the bottom corner. The Moate legends added a third of their own and for the final tens minutes both teams pushed for a winner. The game finished 3-3, a fair result in a match that neither side deserved to lose. A huge crowd turned out to support Conor and both teams and the event was a resounding success.
Conor caught his first glimpse of amputee football over the weekend and we at the IAFA very much hope that Conor will be sporting the Green of Ireland on the International stage in the years to come. The IAFA would like to sincerely thank the entire community of Moate for the welcome we received over the weekend. We would like to thank Conor, his family, and the fundraising committee 'Friends of Conor D' for inviting us to be part of a fantastic weekend. The IAFA would also like to thank the management and staff of The Well, The Grand Hotel, Frank's Café and Don's Bar for looking after the squad over the weekend. The International squad will continue to work hard as they prepare for the Amputee World Cup which draws ever closer but there is no doubt that our training camp in Moate will stick long in the memories of all the players and staff. Lining out in the Green of Ireland in Mexico later this year Conor, and all of Ireland's young amputees, will be in our minds and in our hearts as we seek to do our country, our families and our friends proud at the biggest competition of them all. COME ON YOU AMPS IN GREEN!!
The IAFA beat Granville Rangers, 1-0, at the Aviva Stadium last night in front of a crowd of 14,376. The two sides played an exhibition match during the half-time interval of the Republic of Ireland's International friendly against Oman. The showpiece event was marred by controversy, however, as Paddy Power, proud sponsor of the IAFA, making his first and last ever appearance for Granville Rangers, saw red in the closing stages of the game. Craig Dowling put the amputees in front. Garry Hoey flighted a ball forward, Dowling controlled it and calmly slotted it past the keeper. Clearly frustrated by his team falling behind, as well as, the speed, skill and athleticism of the amputees, Paddy Power picked up the ball inside his own half and drove forwards. Power shifted the ball from right to left leaving a string of amputees in his wake. The referee sounded his whistle but Power continued his mazy run regardless. He coolly finished past keeper Owen Casey only to have the goal chalked off as the referee showed him a straight red card. FIFA are awaiting the referees match report but it is expected that Power will be handed a lengthy ban as a result of his violent conduct during the game, one possibly in excess of the four month ban that was given to Luis Suarez for his bite on Giorgio Chiellini. Watch the controversial incident on our Facebook page or Twitter feed.
Reporting on last night's International friendly, Newstalk's Off the Ball presenters said the following of the IAFA and their half-time showpiece:
Their athleticism is absolutely ridiculous. these guys are getting around the pitch at a ferocious speed and the touch and the control they have on their feet, is just, it's actually incredible to behold. We're all speechless here in the pressbox.
The IAFA would like to sincerely thank Paddy Power and Granville Rangers for participating in the game last night. We would also like to thank Oisin Jordan and the FAI for gifting us the opportunity to showcase our sport on the National stage. Preparations continue for the Amputee World Cup in Mexico in November. Come on you Amps in Green!!