Last weekend was a major milestone for blind football development in Ireland, with the formal constitution of Blind Football Ireland (BFI) as the body responsible for the sport and a training weekend with the squad of players.
Ex-England and GB national coach Tony Larkin travelled to Dublin to put the players through their paces in two days of intense training as part of the UEFA-supported IBSA Blind Football Development Project Europe
. Training took place at Ballymun United Football Club in the north of the city, where BFI currently has its training facilities.
BFI also has strong support from the Football Association of Ireland, with its development officers closely engaged in helping the game to grow. Vision Sports Ireland,
the IBSA member organisation, and Paralympics Ireland
, the NPC, are also on board and have committed to providing support when appropriate.
The BFI players will be training hard over the coming months in the run up to their first tournament abroad in September, and the training weekend with Larkin will stand them in good stead as they take their first steps to becoming a fully-fledged national team.
BFI’s Warren McDonald, head coach of the squad, said of the weekend: “It was fantastic to receive the knowledge of Tony first hand and watch the reaction of our players slowly progress as the hours went by. Tony has a natural flow about him while coaching and this comes across in how blind players respond to him. It was very educational and we have picked up plenty of ideas to move forward with and continue our development.”
Warren concluded, “IBSA have given Ireland a great platform to build our project on and we look forward to working with IBSA again. We are very grateful - thank you.”
For more information on blind football in Ireland contact Warren at email@example.com
or visit their Facebook page
For more information on blind football contact Ulrich Pfisterer, chair of the IBSA Football Committee, at firstname.lastname@example.org
For more information on development in Europe contact email@example.com