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Friday 12 May 2023
Northern Ireland finish third in Powerchair Home Nations tournament

Northern Ireland’s Powerchair team finished in third place at this year’s Home Nations Invitational Tournament.

The event formed part of the team’s ongoing preparations for the FIPFA Powerchair World Cup in Australia this October.

At the two-day tournament - it was staged at Gormanstown Park in Dublin and hosted by the Association of Irish Powerchair Football - Northern Ireland came up against England, Scotland and the Republic of Ireland

England and Scotland contested the opening game, with England coming out on top 7-1.

Next up was Northern Ireland against the Republic. The hosts took an early lead, however Northern Ireland responded well, gaining more possession and carving out a couple of opportunities before the break for Browning and Hilland, although they were unable to convert.

After the break Northern Ireland kept pushing for an equaliser and it finally arrived in the last minute. Kuszkowski found Hilland in space and the captain picked out Cumiskey at the far post - and he finished superbly to make it 1-1.

Northern Ireland faced Scotland in their second group game and they looked confident in the early exchanges, moving the ball well, however they were kept at bay by a well organised Scottish defence.

It was all square at half-time, however after the break Northern Ireland looked the more likely to score.

Hilland, Cumiskey and Browning all had opportunities, but again they failed to find the net.

Down the other end McKinney was alert and composed to keep Scotland out as they mounted counter attacks. The match ended in stalemate at 0-0.

England defeated the Republic 5-0 on day one to cement their place in the final.

The first game on Sunday saw the Republic overcome Scotland and then Northern Ireland faced the impressive English.

Northern Ireland set about nullifying a potent attack while looking for opportunities of their own on the break.

A great defensive shift from Cumiskey and Browning, along with a number of smart stops from McKinney and Hilland, kept England out for most of the first half.

However, just when Northern Ireland looked set to create a chance from a corner, England produced a swift passing move which culminated in a fine finish despite the best efforts of McKinney on the goal-line.

Northern Ireland did not let that setback deter them and stuck to the task in the second half. The defensive effort continued, while a few half chances were squandered.

Any hopes of a comeback were dashed after England found a second with a quality strike from a corner.McVeigh and Kuszkowski joined the action in the second half.

The third/fourth place play-off was therefore between Northern Ireland and Scotland.

Scotland were the team on the front foot this time around, with Northern Ireland struggling for any real control or fluidity in their play in the opening minutes.

Much like the previous day, McKinney was strong at the back to thwart the Scottish advances.

As the half wore on Northern Ireland started to find their rhythm and just before the break, following a good advantage played by the referee, Cumiskey was able to pick out Hilland at the edge of the box and the captain coolly slotted the ball home to put Northern Ireland one up.

Scotland tried hard to level. Hilland and McKinney produced a top save apiece to keep Northern Ireland’s advantage intact, while Browning and Cumiskey had efforts on goal which the Scots managed to keep out.

The 1-0 win was enough to secure third place for Northern Ireland, while England claimed the trophy with a 3-2 win against the Republic in the final.

The Northern Ireland squad featured Bartek Kuszkowski, Patrick Cumiskey, Jason Browning, Carl McVeigh, Scott Hilland (captain) and Sean McKinney (GK).