Cork City FC’s Amputee team travel to Tbilisi in Georgia this weekend to take part in the inaugural European Amputee Football Federation Champions League.
The Rebel Army were selected to participate in the competition following their success last year in the first ever Amputee National League in Ireland.
An 11-man squad will travel to Georgia along with manager Chris McDermott and coach John O’Flynn who both work on the FAI More than a Club project at Cork City FC. The “More than a Club” project is an initiative supported by the Ireland Wales European Territorial Co-Operation programme, which is helping to strengthen collaboration between Ireland and Wales to address common economic and social challenges.
The Cork City squad includes a number of Irish Amputee internationals including Ruairí Murphy and Fergal Duffy who travelled with the Irish squad to the World Cup in Mexico last November.
This weekend’s tournament involves 6 teams – Cork City FC, AFC Tbilisi (Georgia), Dinamo Altai (Russia), Everton FC (England), Legia Warsaw (Poland) and Ortotek Gaziler (Turkey). The games will be played across May 25th and 26th.
The competition is played at 7-a-side whereas as the National League here in Ireland is 5-a-side. As a result, the City squad will include two players each from their league rivals Bohemian FC and Shamrock Rovers FC.
Cork City FC manager Chris McDermott said: “Preparations have gone well for the tournament and we’re looking forward to getting over to Georgia at the weekend. We’re very grateful to the Irish Amputee Football Association for their support and our qualification for this tournament is testament to the work they’ve put in organising and developing the national league here in Ireland. It will be a tough weekend but a good opportunity for the lads to pit themselves against the best amputee players in Europe. The league in Turkey, for example, is semi-professional whereas our lads have only been playing regular amputee football for the last 18 months. We’d like to thank our national league rivals Bohs and Shamrock Rovers for lending us players for the tournament.”
Speaking ahead of the tournament, City captain Kevin Cahillane said: “It’s an honour to be representing Cork City FC and Ireland in a European competition. We’d like to thank our sponsors – SiComm, ISS -Industrial Insulation Specialists and our many player sponsors as without them we wouldn’t be in a position to travel to Georgia. All of the squad have been working hard over the last year and we’re really just looking forward to getting over and getting stuck into the games on Saturday”.
Cork City face Dinamo Altai (Russia) in their opening group game at 10.45am (Irish time) on Saturday, May 25th morning followed by AFC Tbilisi (Georgia) at 2pm on the same day.
The semi finals and final of the competition will be played on Sunday May 26th. All matches will be streamed via the European Amputee Football Federation’s (EAFF) Facebook page.