Amputee squad ready for European Championships
Ireland were drawn into Group C alongside England, Greece and Russia, and they will be hoping to progress into the latter rounds of the tournament. While they are aware of the challenge ahead, it is one that they are willing to embrace.
Simon Baker, chairman of the Irish Amputee Football Association and a stalwart defender on the team, insists this is a unique opportunity for the players to take Europe by surprise.
"As this is the first ever European Championships, the players and coaching staff will hope to make their mark on this tournament and show Europe that we are a force to be reckoned with," said Baker (pictured above).
"The squad acknowledge that they've been drawn into the toughest of the three groups but they will remain confident of achieving the aims that they have set out for the tournament.
"The squad has been preparing since October 2016 - training one full weekend every month in the University of Limerick. On top of that, they have had various one-day sessions at the FAI National Training Centre with Declan Considine and Nick Harrison overseeing the team's style of play and preparing scouting reports on the opposition. Also, physio Louise Costello has been a big help in developing the players' core strength, flexibility and agility.
"For all involved to have made the selection of the final squad is a dream come true. To go out and stand in the Ireland jersey, singing the national anthem is such an honour. These players have worked so hard over the past year to represent Ireland at the EUROs."
Amongst the players selected for the squad is Chris McElligott, who inspired a nation as one of the leaders on RTE's Operation Transformation.
Ireland will need to finish in the top six in this tournament in order to secure qualification for the Amputee World Cup next year. And hopes are high that they can make an impact.
Goalkeepers: James Conroy, Justin Guiney, Patrick Hutton
Defenders: David Saunders, Kevin Cahillane, Simon Baker
Midfielders: Garry Hoey, Alan Wall, Keavan O'Rourke, Eanna Durham
Forwards: James Boyle, Neil Hoey, Chris McElligott
Tuesday, October 3: Ireland v Russia
Wednesday, October 4: Ireland v England
Thursday, October 5: Ireland v Greece