Irish Team for 2015 Cerebral Palsy Football 7-a-side World Championships Announced

The fourteen strong Irish team for the 2015 Cerebral Palsy Football 7-a-side World Championships set to take place in St. George’s Park, England from June 15th – 28th has been announced. The Irish team, led by captain and Beijing Paralympian Luke Evans, is currently ranked seventh in the world following their fourth place finish at last year’s European Championships. This tournament is the only chance the Irish team have to secure a precious qualifying spot at the 2016 Rio Paralympic Games.

Ireland have been drawn in Group B alongside Paralympic champions Russia, who they play in their opening match on June 16th at 7pm. Also contesting their group will be Australia, who they face on June 18th, and Portugal will be their final group game on June 20th. Ireland will need to finish in the top two in their group to progress to the quarter-finals; a key step in securing one of the Paralympic qualifying spots on offer.

Speaking ahead of the Championships Irish team manager Barry Ferguson, himself a former professional player with Coventry, club captain and FAI Cup winner with Longford Town said: “We’ve a great core of experienced guys who have competed at a previous Paralympic Games in Beijing 2008, and a lot of emerging talent keen to make their mark. This is our only chance to qualify for Rio 2016 and that is our sole focus for these Championships. With Brazil as host nation their spot is secure so the remaining seven places should be up for decision at these Championships. We need to make the quarter-finals without doubt. With Football 7-a-side not included in the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games, and having narrowly missed out on London 2012 qualification this is the last shot at a Games for many of our team so it’s a massive couple of weeks.”

With sixteen teams competing eight will progress to the quarter-finals; the top two from each group.

Reigning European champions Ukraine were drawn in group A with hosts England, Japan and one of the world’s leading sides; Iran. Brazil; currently ranked third in the world, Scotland, USA and Venezuela. Netherlands who were runners up in last year’s European Championships were drawn in Group D with Argentina; a repeat of the bronze medal match from London 2012, alongside Canada and Northern Ireland.

All matches will be streamed live on the tournament website www.cp2015.com

Irish team 2015 Cerebral Palsy 7-a-side Football World Championships

Brain McGillivary plays with Firhouse Clover, from Firhouse, D24
Simon L’Estrange from Mullingar, Co. Meath 
Joe Markey plays with Eblana FC, from Monaghan 
Luke Evans plays with St. Brendans, from Artane
Gary Messett plays with Eblana FC, from Bray
Darragh Snell from Arklow 
Eric O’Flaherty plays with West Utd FC, from Galway 
Podge Leacy plays with Ferns Utd, from Wexford 
Peter Cotter plays with CIT Soccer, from Cork City 
Aaron Tier plays with Abbey Rovers, from Limerick 
Dillon Sheridan plays with Ballyfermot Utd, from Ballyfermot
Ryan Nolan plays with St Fergals AFC, from Wicklow 
Jason Moran from Galway 
Carl McKee plays with Swords Manor FC, from Swords

Staff
Gerard (JJ) Glynn – Coach
Barry Ferguson – Team Manager
Cormac Glynn – Assistant Coach
Graham Dyas – Goalkeeping Coach
Booby Moore – Kit Manager
Dr. Joe Conway & Dr. Jim O’Donovan – Medical Staff
Thomas Divilly – Physio

About Cerebral Palsy (CP) 7-a-side football
The sport is similar to football for able-bodied players with a few variations. There are seven players on the field at a time rather than 11, the measurements of the playing field are smaller, there is no offside rule and throw-ins may be made with just one hand. Matches consist of two halves of thirty minutes each.

About classification in CP 7-a-side football
Classification is a unique and integral part of disability sport. It provides the structure to separate athletes with similar levels of impairments into groups, or classes as they are commonly known, so they can compete in fair and equal competitions against one another, and ensure that winning is determined by skill, fitness, power, endurance, tactical ability and mental focus. This same principle exists in non-Paralympic sports where athletes are classified according to age, gender or weight divisions to allow for as fair competition as possible.
Ambulant athletes with Cerebral Palsy (CP) classes 5, 6, 7 & 8 play 7-a-side soccer. Class 5 represents those athletes with the more severe level of CP, with those in class 8 the least impaired. Teams must feature players from each class during a game with a recent rule change meaning only one class 8 player can be on the field at any one time.