Team Ireland - Transplant & Dialysis Sports

Ireland V Northern Ireland (Report)

Ireland V Northern Ireland (Report)

The date of 19th November 2022 will go down as a historic date for Transplant sport in Ireland, as our Soccer team completed in their first every international match, played against our local neighbours Northern Ireland.

A Team consisting of Transplant Recipients (Heart, Lungs, Liver, Kidneys and Bone Marrow) came together with a dream of representing their country in a sport they love and enjoy. And in doing so both honouring their donors, donor families and help raise awareness of organ donation. Ages of the team ranged from early 20’s to early 50’s and with over 100 years combined of transplanted life, this was truly a brilliant example of organ donation working at its best.

The game took place @ the AUL Complex, Clonshaugh Road Dublin 17, weather was dry with little breeze and a slight chill in the air, usual for this time of year, the pitch surface was heavy. The match would consist of three 15min thirds, 7 aside and played under the World Transplant Federations rules.

Prior to the game, a minute silence was held for 2 former members of the Irish team Shane Ryan and Luke Doherty who were sadly missed, and it also gave the players time to reflect on their own donors.

Once the handshakes and coin toss were completed the action began. Irelands captain Paschal Kavanagh (Kidney Recipient from Tipperary) led the Irish team in the first ever Ireland International game.

Northern Ireland kicked off the games and kept control of the ball in the opening minutes creating a couple of chances which were snubbed out by a strong defence combination of Paul Brown (Wexford / Bone Marrow), Paschal along with Goalkeeper Alan Gleeson (Kerry / Double Kidney) making some fine saves. Ireland then began to impose themselves on the game with Patrick O’Driscoll (Cork /Liver), Owen Crudge (Cork / Kidney) and Lar Brennan (Dublin / Double Lung) taking control of the game leading to Keith Daly (Dublin / Double Lungs) having a brilliant strike on goal which was saved by the NI goalkeeper. The efforts kept coming for Ireland, but the resilient defence of NI team kept the team’s level. Ireland interchanges (Mike Keohane (Cork / Liver), Danny O’Connor (Wexford / Heart), Andrew Gallagher (Louth / Kidney), Mick O’Shea (Cork / Heart) and James Harvey (Tipperary / Heart) added fresh legs to the Irish team as they pushed on for the lead goal but to no avail, and the15min ended scoreless.

After a short break the second third began with Ireland introducing Billy O’Toole (Mayo / Double Lungs), Jack Bentley (Dublin / Double Lung) and Riyadh Abdelkader (Dublin / Kidney & Dialysis) entering the team for Ireland and the pace didn’t let up, the game continued to flow end to end for the 15min with both keepers constantly being tested and standing up to the tests each time. The second third ended 0-0. A similar story continued in the final third, with both teams now finding plenty space on the pitch as the heavy underfoot conditions and high intensity of the game started to show, but the chances kept coming at both side and the goalies continued to frustrate the large crowd in attendance who wanted to see a goal. The game finished 0-0 after a very competitive 45min of action, next up would be the dreaded penalty shootout.

NI won the toss and selected to go second in the shootout. First up for Ireland was Mick O’Shea who dispatched his penalty coolly into the bottom right, NI responded with a super penalty, Next up for Ireland was Mike Keohane, and again Mike slotted his penalty straight down the middle to retake the lead, NI made it 2-2 with a brilliant penalty into the top corner giving Alan no chance of saving it, then Paul Brown calmly beat the keeper making 3-2, with NI again finding the net with another unstoppable penalty. Jack Bentley then continued the excellent striking from the spot as Ireland remained prefect 4 from 4 in the shootout, with the pressure mounting on NI they unfortunately missed the fourth penalty giving Keith Daly the opportunity to seal the victory which he did with the upmost confidence. Ireland winning 5-3 on penalties.

This was a great occasion, brilliantly organised and ran smoothly and a big thanks must be given to all involved in this event. A special thanks to our Neighbours (Northern Ireland) and a special mention to both John Brennan (Coach / Player) (Louth/Heart) and Lar for all the work involved in the organising of this event.

Team Ireland will be back training again in the coming weeks and if interested in joining the team we are always looking for new members, if interested please contact John Brennan (086)3884850 or Lar Brennan (085)7222155 for more information.

Player interviews can be found on website www.transplantsportireland.ie / social media.

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Back Row L-R: John Brennan (Heart), Mick O’Shea (Heart), Billy O’Toole (Lungs), Paul Browne (Bone Marrow), Paschal Kavanagh © (Kidney), Owen Crudge (Kidney), Riyadh Abdelkader (Kidney – Currently on Dialysis), Keith Daly (Lungs), Lar Brennan (Lungs) Scott Porter (Lungs)
Front Row L-R: Patrick O’Driscoll (Liver), James Harvey (Heart), Jack Bentley (Lungs), Alan Gleeson (Kidney), Mike Keohane (Liver) Danny O’Connor (Heart) Missing from Photo Andrew Gallagher (Kidney)
Squad members missing from the day Simon Keegan (Heart), Paul Hackett (Kidney) & Kevin Cooney (Kidney)
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04-Nov-2023
The Irish Transplant Football team will take part in an 11 a side exhibition match against Féilecáin  (a group of Bereaved Fathers, who  have come together to support each other after the loss of a  child)  in Cork City Grounds at Turners Cross, Cork
02-Aug-2023
(16 Gold, 9 Silver and 6 Bronze)
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