SHAMROCK ROVERS ENTER IRISH AMPUTEE FA NATIONAL LEAGUE
Shamrock Rovers to play in the Irish Amputee Football Association National League 2018
On the 10th March 2018 Shamrock Rovers F.C. will embark on a new era by playing their first competitive match at senior level in the Irish Amputee Football Association National League hosting both Cork City FC and Bohemians FC at the club Academy in Roadstone.
Shamrock Rovers F.C. supports Football For All and is delighted to participate in the inaugural season of the IAFA National League in which we will face Cork City and Bohemians.
The Rovers amputee squad will be welcomed to Tallaght Stadium on Friday for the Derry City match and presented to the crowd at half time.
The league will start with three teams. By the end of the year, it is hoped to extend it further to four teams when other clubs see the benefits of initiatives like this and will want to come on board.
Christy McElligott, Football For All Community Coach, said that “people will be impressed by the commitment and quality of the players involved, and by the standard. The games will be exciting, the games will be fun, and the games will be competitive.”
Stuart McSweeney has been appointed coach of the team and has been busy preparing his squad over the past couple of months. We caught up with Stuart to find out a little more about what’s in store for the upcoming season:
Can you describe the league and how it will roll out on 2018?
“As it stands there are 30 players registered to play and these players include Ireland International players and players returning to the game.
Three teams will compete in the league this year and the clubs locations will cater for all players who wish to get involved. We very much look forward to welcoming Bohemians FC and Cork City to our academy training base on match days.
Match days will be round robin and that way the players get a number of games in on the day. There is a belief that the squads assembled are very well matched and should make for a great season right up to the final day.”
How is preparation going?
“The lads since coming in have been brilliant. We are still getting to know each other as a group both on and off the pitch but in terms of application and commitment to train the group have been brilliant.
There is quality in the squad I can tell you that and with a number of Ireland international players signatures secured I am excited about the upcoming season. Such is the application of the players that they have asked for additional sessions due to the snow affected schedule last week.”
Have you played any pre-season friendlies?
“We played Bohs a few week back and it was important for me to see the lads in a game situation. That helped me understand the demands of match days and also how well as a group we performed in terms of formation on and off the ball. There were lots of positives and some opportunities to look to improve on, but overall I was happy with the run out.
To be fair to Bohemians they were not at full strength on the day and it will be interesting come the first competitive game as they are a very good side and will push us all the way. Cork likewise. It is going to be a competitive season ahead.”
What are the expectations for the upcoming season?
“This is Shamrock Rovers so we always want to perform to the best of our abilities and that challenge has been set to the group, myself included. The approach has to be as professional as possible with no half measures.
It’s just as important that we ensure we start the campaign well and enjoy the season from start to finish. That will only happen if we all work together as a group and make the most of every session.
There are other aspects too that the league is important for. It’s important for our National team that we condition players correctly so when they go on International duty they are ready to represent our country.
Also it’s a small pool of players currently so if we can attract more players then that is great and as the players from Shamrock Rovers, Cork and Bohemians know each other then it’s important that when we do host them we do to the highest standard and create a fantastic day.”
Oisin Jordan, Football for All National Coordinator, was delighted to see Shamrock Rovers come on board saying:
“It’s great to see they SSE Airtricity League teams in Bohemians launch their new Amputee football team before Christmas adding to the Cork City team launched in late 2017.
This has come about from the hard work over the past six years of the Irish Amputee Football Association board and its members supported by the FAI’s Football for All programme. Development of amputee football in Ireland has seen the game grow from an initial workshop ran in Dublin where 9/10 players tried the new format of the game for the first time.
The game has grown since then with a junior academy being established, a senior team competing in the English Amputee Football League and an Irish International squad competing in a World Cup and European Championships.
This next step will be to ensure a sustainable player and competition pathway for all existing players and will attract many new players to amputee football over coming years. We would like to thank Shamrock Rovers, Bohemian FC and Cork City for their commitment to amputee football and contribution to a more inclusive football family here in Ireland.”