Ireland look for spectacular start in European Nations Cup
IRELAND'S powerchair football team will be chasing history tomorrow when they meet Switzerland in the opening game of the inaugural European Nations Cup at the University of Limerick.
Nick Harrison's side have prepared for months for this challenge and will be fully focused on securing a victory against Switzerland after a spectacular ceremony which will commence before the big game.
"Everybody's tuned in - they have put in all the hard work since January and it's all been building up to this," said assistant coach Pat Halpin.
"We're fairly confident that they can get a big result as this is what they've prepared for. As the host nation we're looking to get off to a good start.
"We hope they won't be over-awed by the occasion but we've great belief in the players. They can't wait for it to happen and would love to go straight into the game - never mind the opening ceremony.
"It's up to them now but with the home support behind them we're confident that they can get off to a good start."
Emer O'Sullivan from Portlaoise is one of five Midlands United PFC players in the Irish squad and she is relishing the chance of representing her country on the highest stage this week.
"I am looking forward to the challenge of playing each country as it will give us an indication of the standard that we need to be at, but I am particularly looking forward to playing England," she admitted.
"It is a great honour to play for your country and it is a privilege that only a few get to enjoy. The pride and emotion that you feel when representing your country is overwhelming, particularly this year when we will get to do this at home in Limerick.
"I enjoy the challenge of competing against others in a sport. I enjoy the tactical aspect of working on set plays. It's great to be part of a team when competing and to know that you have contributed to the team effort."
Thursday, July 17
Ireland v Switzerland, University of Limerick (7.30pm)
Friday, July 18
Ireland v Denmark, University of Limerick (11.45am)
Ireland v France, University of Limerick (6pm)
Saturday, July 19
Ireland v England, University of Limerick (1.15pm)
Ireland v Belgium, University of Limerick (3.45pm)
Sunday, July 20
Final, University of Limerick (3pm)