Blind Team finishes sixth in European qualifiers


Blind Team finishes sixth in European qualifiers

The Ireland Blind team completed their involvement in the IBSA Blind Football European Championship qualifiers with a valiant display against Albania.
11th Apr 2017

Alex Whelan's team travelled to Romania with the hope of clinching qualification to this year's European Championships on what was their very first taste of international football.

An opening loss to mini tournament hosts Romania did not the team back as they overcame Albania 1-0 in their next group game - thanks to a goal from Donnacha McCarthy.

However, a narrow loss to Georgia ruled them out of contention and they had to settle for a 5th/6th Place Play-Off against Albania, which they lost 1-0 as fatigue finally caught up with them.

A mix-up in defence allowed Albania to capitalise on 11 minutes and that proved to be the only goal of the game. Still, Ireland dominated possession and created a number of good chances but ultimately couldn't break down their opponents.

Ireland finish their first ever international tournament in 6th place, which is a creditable effort so soon into their development and showed that there is great promise for the future.

"Obviously, we're disappointed with losing our final game of the tournament but the big picture is that we are now on the international blind football map and the game is an attractive option for blind people in Ireland," said Whelan.

"The two regional centres, in Dublin and Cork, offer recreational training sessions and we hope to recruit a number of new players as a result of the positive media around this tournament and perform even better at next year's competition."

Ireland: Darren McGarry, Donnacha McCarthy, Paul Costello, Darragh Stakelum, Kevin Kelly, Matthew Kearney, John Doherty