Ireland's Amputee Football squad ready for World Cup
Ireland's Amputee Football squad are finalising preparations ahead of the 2018 Amputee Football World Cup in Mexico.
The 13-man squad travel to Mexico early next week, and have been drawn in Group A alongside England, Uruguay and hosts Mexico. The city of San Juan de Los Lagos will host all the matches in the tournament.
2018 was a marquee year for Amputee Football in Ireland, with the foundation of a Irish Amputee Football Association National League, and 12 players in the squad come from Irish clubs.
Speaking ahead of the trip to Mexico, Head Coach Nick Harrison is hopeful of a strong performance against global opposition.
"The fact that the players are playing League football and training every week makes this a strong squad. The team are fitter and technically better because of playing in the League," Harrison admitted.
Ireland play Mexico in the opening match of the tournament, and Harrison expects a partisan atmosphere to kick-off the tournament.
"We expect a big crowd. Mexico look like a good team. They're very strong and quick."
With two teams advancing from each group, hopes are high that the side reach the knockout stages.
"We've changed the way we play, and we are hopeful of creating a few shocks. If we got to the semi-finals it would be brilliant," Harrison concluded.
FAI Chief Executive John Delaney has also given his best wishes to the team ahead of the trip to Mexico.
"2018 has been a historic year for amputee football in Ireland with the formation of the National League and I am sure we will see the fruits of that competition in the coming weeks.
"Our Football For All international sides have impressed internationally this year, and I hope the Amputee Football team can do the same. They have been preparing brilliantly for the trip, and I look forward to following their progress throughout the competition."
Goalkeepers: James Conroy (Bohemians), Fergal Duffy (Cork City), Justin Guiney (Shamrock Rovers)
Defenders: Simon Baker (Shamrock Rovers), Eanna Durham (Newcastle United), Garry Hoey (Bohemians), Stuart McEvoy (Shamrock Rovers)
Midfielders: Stefan Balog (Bohemians), James Boyle (Bohemians), Neil Hoey (Bohemians), Kevan O'Rourke (Shamrock Rovers)
Forwards: Chris McElligott (Shamrock Rovers), Ruairi Murphy (Cork City)
2018 Amputee Football World Cup Fixtures (All times local)
27/10: Mexico v Ireland, San Juan de Los Lagos, KO: 20.00
29/10: England v Ireland, San Juan de Los Lagos, KO: 17.00
30/10: Ireland v Uruguay, San Juan de Los Lagos, KO: 20.00