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Dublin: 13 °C Wednesday 8 July, 2020

We're off to Rio! Ireland footballers qualify for Paralympic Games

The men’s Cerebral Palsy team defeated Portugal 8-0 at St George’s Park this afternoon.

Ireland Cerebral Palsy team The team celebrate today's win. Source: Twitter/Paralympics Ireland

THERE WAS SOME good news for Team Ireland this afternoon as the men’s Cerebral Palsy football team earned a significant win at the World Championships.

The Boys in Green, who lost to Russia in their opening Group B game before overcoming Australia, recorded an 8-0 victory over Portugal at St George’s Park to progress to the quarter-finals as runners-up.

The result also mean Barry Ferguson’s side have all but ensured a place at next year’s Paralympic Games in Rio, having missed out at London 2012.

“The team played with real confidence today despite the natural anxiety the enormity of the occasion would bring,” Ferguson said. “It was their best performance of the tournament so far.

“With Rio, our ultimate goal, now in the bag we can look forward to the quarter-finals with confidence and secure as high a final placing as possible over the next few games.”

I’d like to commend all the players, coaching and support staff for their commitment over the last few months to ensure we reached our goal today.”

Captain, Luke Evans added: “The primary goal this tournament was to secure Rio qualification. Having been to Beijing 2008, missing London 2012 really hurt me and the senior players.

“We’ve put that right today and can look forward with confidence to the rest of the World Championships and then make a real effort to perform at the highest level in Rio next year. Words can’t describe how good this feels.”

Ballyfermot United midfielder Dillon Sheridan helped himself to four goals on the day, while Gary Messett of Eblana FC bagged two and Dara Snell and Luke Evans scored one each.

Ireland face Ukraine in the last eight on  Tuesday.

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Ben Blake

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