Northern Ireland’s men’s and women’s international futsal squads will both be in action at Newry Leisure Centre this weekend.
Each team has a double header against Gibraltar, with the men facing them on Friday and Sunday and the women playing them on Friday and Saturday.
Men’s team head coach Jonathan Michael said: “The players and backroom staff are excited about playing these matches so soon after our involvement in the Home Nations Championship in December.
“These games will provide great preparation for our involvement in Euro qualifiers in Lithuania at the end of the month. The confidence in the group is high and we would hope to build on our recent improved performances.”
And he added: “It is brilliant to have internationals at home again as it provides a fantastic opportunity for people here to engage with the game of futsal and witness exciting international matches. I hope that the GAWA can come and support both squads and create a great atmosphere over the three days.”
Women’s team head coach Keith Gibson is also looking forward to the games this weekend.
He said: “The matches will be great for the squad as we continue to prepare for Euro qualifiers in May. Entrance is free to all games and it would be great to have a big home crowd to support the players.”
And he added: “The whole squad have been working really hard over the winter and these games come at a great time to judge how far we have come since last year’s international fixtures and test ourselves against a skilful Gibraltar side.”
The Northern Ireland men’s futsal squad features:
Goalkeepers Matthew McErlain (Sparta Belfast Futsal Club), Philip Irvine (World United Futsal Club);
Defenders Adam Barr (Baku United Futsal Club), John Gibson (Banbridge Town Futsal Club), Darius Roohi (ED Brunete Futsala);
Wingers Scott Gunn (Durham Palatinates Futsal Club), Craig Taylor (Belfast United Futsal Club), Ryan Dabbs (Cardiff University Futsal Club), Jordan Wilson (Sparta Belfast Futsal Club), Conor Glenholmes (Wattcell Futsal Club), Josh Lowry (Sparta Belfast Futsal Club), Conor Kernohan (Bolton Futsal Club);
Forwards Connor Millar (Reading Royals Futsal Club), Chris Donnelly (Wattcell Futsal Club).
Keith Gibson, meanwhile, has four new faces in his squad: goalkeeper Laura Devine (Crewe United), Abbi Magee (Linfield), Shannon Dunne (Derry City) and Sam Kelly (Glentoran/Sparta Belfast).
The Northern Ireland women’s futsal squad features:
Goalkeepers Alice Harkness-Armstrong (Manchester Futsal Club), Laura Devine (Crewe United Futsal Club);
Defenders Erin Hennity (Comber Rec Futsal Club), Louise McFrederick (Linfield Futsal Club), Megan Weatherall (Cliftonville Futsal Club);
Wingers Beth McKay (Spartans Futsal Club), Hannah Firth (Ballymena United Futsal Club), Sam Kelly (Glentoran FC/Sparta Belfast Futsal Club), Shannon Dunne (Derry City Football Club), Siobhan Bell (St James’ Swifts Futsal Club), Olivia Brown (Comber Rec Futsal Club), Nadene Caldwell (Glentoran FC/Sparta Belfast Futsal Club);
Forwards Abbi Magee (Linfield Futsal Club), Amber Dempster (Cliftonville Futsal Club), Rachel McConnell (Cliftonville Futsal Club).
This weekend’s international futsal fixtures at Newry Leisure Centre are:
Friday 10 January
Northern Ireland v Gibraltar (women) - KO 16:00
Northern Ireland v Gibraltar (men) - 19:30
Saturday 11 January
Northern Ireland v Gibraltar (women) - 19:00
Sunday 12 January
Northern Ireland v Gibraltar (men) - 12:30