Northern Ireland’s Powerchair team are feeling on top of the world after finishing in second place at this year’s Home Nations Event.
An injury time winner by captain Scott Hilland against the Republic of Ireland helped Northern Ireland achieve their first ever victory in international powerchair football - and saw them clinch the runners-up spot in the tournament staged in Essex.
Carl McVeigh opened the scoring for Northern Ireland in the fourth minute with a fine shot from the edge of the box.
The Republic equalised on the stroke of half-time but then Hilland rose to the occasion to secure an historic win.
In their first game Northern Ireland were heavily beaten 5-0 by eventual tournament winners England.
After that they watched a strong Republic team draw 1-1 with the hosts, but they subsequently produced a superb display against ROI which was rewarded with the three points.
The Irish FA’s Development Manager for Disability Football, Alan Crooks, praised the players and coaching staff following a memorable trip to England.
He said: “Full credit to the players for putting in such a fantastic performance against the Republic of Ireland. All six players played an important role in winning this fixture and the coaching staff of Michael Hilland and Stephen McVeigh really had the boys focused and playing some great football in an entertaining game.
“The whole squad of players, coaches and parents were a credit to Northern Ireland and it was a great experience to play our first international fixtures.”
The Northern Ireland powerchair squad included: Jason Browning, Belfast; Daniel Elliott, Dromara; Kingston Bryars, Portadown; Scott Hilland, Newtownards; Conor O’Kane, Portglenone; Carl McVeigh, Belfast.
If you or anyone you know is a wheelchair user and is interested in joining a Powerchair football club please contact the clubs below:
Belfast Trailblazers (based at Girdwood Community Hub) - Michael Hilland 07899936084
Lisburn Lightning (Lisburn Leisureplex) - Alan Browning 07790861751
Hot Wheels (Torrens Complex, Donaghmore, Dungannon) - Sarah Little 07901816019
Devenish Warriors (Lakeland Forum, Enniskillen) - Joe Graham 07784587920