The Irish Paralympic 7-a-side soccer team, whose goalie is a Newbridge native, was beaten 3-2 after extra time by Netherlands in semi-finals at the European Championships in Portugal last week.
The Irish team of athletes with Cerebral Palsy includes goalie Simon LeStrange from the Newbrige Club.
The team, led by Captain Luke Evans, is currently ranked sixth in the world, and fourth in Europe following an impressive fourth place finish at the CPISRA Intercontinental Cup last year.
The Irish Paralympic soccer team suffered a heart-breaking extra time 3-2 defeat against the Netherlands in the CPISRA European Championship semi-final in Maia, Portugal.
Despite a lively start from the Irish a lapse at the back allowed Netherlands take the lead on eighteen minutes, and they followed up with a second minutes later to force Ireland into chasing the game.
Speaking after the match Irish captain Luke Evans said: “It was a good open game of football but to be honest our own mistakes led to our downfall; bad decision making at key times. We did everything we could to get back into it in the second half, we threw the kitchen sink at it, but that’s football; highs and lows. We just have to deal with it and try and move on. We’ve another game to play in this tournament so we just need to try and pick ourselves up.”
Russia are the current Paralympic champions from London 2012 with Ukraine the number one ranked team in the world at the moment, and former Paralympic champions from Beijing 2008.
The first football 7-a-side matches for athletes with Cerebral Palsy took place in 1978 in Edinburgh during CPISRA’s International Games. This sport debuted at the 1984 Paralympic Games and the first 7-a-side soccer World Championships took place in 1986.