Irish team defeated by Ukraine in quarter-finals at Football 7-a-side World Championships

Ireland’s Paralympic football team suffered a disappointing 4-0 defeat at the hands of reigning European Champions and world number two side Ukraine in their Football 7-a-side World Championship quarter-final, in St. George’s Park in England this evening.

The Irish side now progress to a classification game against Argentina on Friday (June 26th) at 10.30am. Argentina are one place higher than Ireland in the world ranking at sixth so it is set to be a tight encounter.The winner of that game will go forward to the 5th/6th place play off with the loser moving to the 7th/8th place play off. Placings are very important at these Championships as anything above an eighth place finish completely guarantees Ireland’s place at the 2016 Rio Paralympic Games.

Ukraine showed why they are ranked second in the world with an impressive performance this evening characterised by relentless pace and clinical finishing. Despite a massive Irish defensive effort and some really decent chances Gerard Glynn’s side couldn’t break through the Ukrainian defence and found themselves caught out by the outstanding counter attacking ability of the world number two side.

Speaking immediately after the game Irish manager Barry Ferguson said; “We’re obviously disappointed with the result but it was a great test to pair ourselves up against the top two teams in the world over the past week. It proves that we are good enough to compete at that ferocious level for periods. We need to get in some good recovery now are looking forward to the challenge Argentina will pose on Friday morning.”

Ukraine got the ideal start to the first half netting two goals after just five minutes to leave Ireland having to chase the game. For the next fifteen minutes Ireland defended the Ukrainian onslaught well and created an excellent chance of their own that saw a brilliant Gary Messett ball headed away to safety. However Ukraine won a corner on twenty one minutes and managed to score from it to push their lead to three. Ireland’s best chance of the half came two minutes from the end when a long ball from Joe Markey reached Eric O’Flaherty who delivered a superb pass to Dillon Sheridan who saw his effort saved.

Without doubt Ireland had the brighter start to the second half with a handful of chances inside the first ten minutes. The best of these came on 39 minutes when Ireland went on the counter after heroic defending from Gary Messett in their own box. Eric O’Flaherty showed great vision to pick out Jason Moran with a long inch perfect pass whose shot unfortunately went straight into their keeper’s hands. Snell and Nolan came on for Sheridan and Messett with a little under twenty minutes remaining and both made an impression. Ukraine however sealed the win with a second goal from Antoniuk on forty seven minutes to make it 4-0, as it finished on the night.