Ireland's Amputee team continue progress with runners-up spot

Ireland Amputee Team.jpg

Ireland's Amputee team continue progress with runners-up spot

THE Republic of Ireland Amputee footballers produced an impressive display at the AMP Futbol Cup tournament in Podhale, Poland, this week to finish up runners-up and unbeaten in their four fixtures.
6th Jun 2016

Christy McElligott's men began the tournament with an impressive 1-1 draw in blistering heat with the host nation, who are ranked third in the world.

Ireland were without their long-serving captain Simon Baker and prolific striker James Boyle but kept good possession of the ball and we're encouraged going in at the break having held Poland scoreless.

The second half saw the Poles apply more pressure on the Irish team with saves from James Convoy and some good defensive work by Garry Hoey and Kevin Cahillaine holding them at bay. Midway through the second half Ireland took the lead through a brilliant free-kick from Alan Wall which flew into the top corner after a great dummy from Neil Hoey.

With five minutes to go Ireland caught the Poles on the counter but Keven O'Rourke could not convert. With a minute remaining in the game fatigue was a factor in the Irish conceding a last minute goal to deny Ireland what would have been a memorable victory.

Ireland's second encounter was against Ukraine, who came into the game on the back of a 3-1 win over Germany, and once again the Irish had to settle for a point.

Ukraine got players behind the ball and invited the Irish players to come and try break them down. Craig Downing had an early chance for Ireland when he punished some sloppy Ukraine defending but the keeper managed to keep out his chipped effort with his head!

Ireland kept up the pressure and unfortunately chances went a begging as two headers from Keven O'Rouke and attempts from Dave Saunders and Alan Wall were somehow kept out.

Outside of the fear of being caught by a counter attack the Irish continued to dominate with reward after the break and the game finished scoreless with both side feeling the strain of a hard contested encounter.

That set up Ireland for their final encounter against Germany and they produced a brilliant display to run out 5-3 winners. A slip of concentration in the Irish defence allowed the German attackers to open the scoring although there was controversy as the ball was knocked into the goal with the crutch so should not have been allowed.

The weather turned into more Irish style with the rain clouds opening and Kevin Cahillane tapped home the equaliser after a shot from Alan Wall the hit the post. Ireland went 2-1 after a set-piece corner and a thunderous header from Dave Saunders. Unfortunately some sloppy play from Ireland enabled Germany to bring the score level just before half-time.

Ireland needed to win the game to be guaranteed second place and they regained the lead with another deflected shot from Kevin Cahillane. The fourth Irish goal was a great shot from 25yards from Craig Downing, who captained the team in his last international game before heading to Canada. The Germans clawed one back with a deflected shot sending keeper Justin Gauiney the wrong way but with two mins left Dave Saunders curled home with a shot from the right to seal the win.