Dundalk man Garry Hoey will proudly represent his country this weekend as the Irish Amputee Football team take part in the first ever amputee international soccer tournament which is being held in Limerick.
Garry and his teammates will take their place in the Paddy Power Cup alongside England and the Netherlands in what is a very tough Group 2, while Group 1 sees Poland Germany and Belgium battle it out in the two day competition.
Back in 2009, as a result of a work accident, Garry had his leg amputated and he is now looking forward to what will be the biggest amputee football event ever held in this country.
“We’ve been training really hard over the last few months and we’re all raring to go at this stage. All the hard work has been done and now we can’t wait for the first game on Saturday against England”, said Garry.
“We’ve worked hard raising funds throughout the year to make sure this competition took place and we’d like to thank all the friends and family who helped us raise over €7,000 when the team took on the challenge earlier this year of the Great Limerick Run Marathon relay.
“We’re hoping that people come down to Limerick to support the event and hopefully the competition will raise awareness of amputee football and help the sport grow over the next few years”, added Garry.
We have been invited to the Amputee World Cup in Mexico next year so once this tournament is finished we’ll be focusing on fundraising to try and take part in that. Our sport is growing and is now played in over 30 countries around the world. Eventually we hope to given paralympic status”, he added.
Amputee football is played using one goalkeeper and six outfield players. Outfield players may have two hands but only one leg whereas goalkeepers may have two feet but only one hand. The game is played with metal crutches without prostheses. Don Bennett the founder and ambassador for Amputee football is flying in from America to watch the Paddy Power tournament this weekend.
For more information on the Paddy Power tournament visit the Irish Amputee Football Teams facebook page. The competition takes place on August 10 and 11 in the University of Limerick