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Thursday 15 Sep 2016
Northern Ireland footballers in Paralympics

The three members of the Northern Ireland Cerebral Palsy team taking part in the seven-a-side football tournament at the 2016 Paralympics in Brazil will be coming home empty-handed.

Downpatrick man David Leavy (24), 19-year-old Ryan Walker from Armagh and Toomebridge man Cormac Birt (20) all had a ball in Rio but failed to secure any medals.

Midfielder David, who captains the Northern Ireland CP team, was the first ever player from this country to represent Great Britain in seven-a-side football at a Paralympics, while Ryan and Cormac were in the 14-man Ireland squad at the competition.

The tournament, which is played by footballers with cerebral palsy, has been staged at the Deodoro Stadium in Rio over the past week.

David was among the subs as GB lost 2-1 to Brazil in their opening group game and by the same scoreline against potential gold medallists Ukraine in their second game. And he was on the bench again when GB defeated Ireland 5-1 in their final group game.

However, he made the starting line-up as GB secured fifth place overall by defeating Argentina 2-0 yesterday.

Both Ryan and Cormac were among the subs when Ireland opened their Paralympics campaign with a 6-0 thumping by Ukraine.

Cormac, who plays up front, was in the starting line-up in their next game, a 7-1 defeat at the hands of Brazil, while defender Ryan was again on the bench.

That was also the case in the group game against GB. Yesterday both players were among the substitutes again when Ireland completed their schedule with a 2-1 loss to the United States.

Ireland finished eighth overall. Ukraine will play Iran in the gold medal match today, while Brazil and Netherlands will be battling it out for bronze.