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Monday 16 Oct 2023
Kuszkowski makes history at Powerchair World Cup

Bartek Kuszkowski made history when he scored the Northern Ireland Powerchair team’s first ever goal at a World Cup finals.

Northern Ireland are currently competing at the FIPFA (Federation Internationale de Powerchair Football Association) Powerchair Football World Cup in Australia.

Kuszkowski was on target against Uruguay in the first of nine group games for Northern Ireland in Sydney this week.

Also on target for Northern Ireland against the Uruguayans at Sydney Olympic Park’s Quay Centre was Patrick Cumiskey as head coach Michael Hilland’s team secured a 2-2 draw.

The boys in green and white opened the scoring in the first half through Kuszkowski, who popped up at the back post to guide the ball home.

Uruguay started the second half strongly and soon equalised through Francisco Wild.

However, Northern Ireland rallied again in the opening encounter in their first appearance at a Powerchair World Cup finals. They took the lead once more when Cumiskey swept the ball past Uruguay keeper Diego Nin.

Wild grabbed a second to pull Uruguay level, however after that it was all Northern Ireland and Nin kept out a couple of decent efforts to keep the scores level at full-time.

Matchday two began earlier today and Northern Ireland took on Denmark in their first game of the day.

Unfortunately, despite creating chances throughout, they were unable to find a way through the Danish defence and ended up losing the game 1-0.

Northern Ireland goalkeeper Sean McKinney and Denmark keeper Albin Vognsen both produced several saves. The only goal of the game came when Krarup netted for the Danes in the 30th minute.

In their second game of the day Northern Ireland found the going tough against a slick USA outfit.

The Americans struck early in the game when Winslow delivered a corner to Dickey and he tucked it home.

Northern Ireland had chances of their own towards the end of the first half but could not find the net.

USA grabbed their second just two minutes into the second half, Dickey getting his second goal of the game with a precise finish into the bottom corner.

Dickey was sent off for a second yellow card in the 35th minute, however Northern Ireland could not take advantage as the US grabbed a third through Johnson to leave the final score at 3-0.

The 10 national teams at the finals are all playing each other at the group stage this week, with the teams finishing between first and fourth contesting semi-finals and the final/third place play-off. And there will be other play-off matches to determine overall placings.

The six other teams taking part in the World Cup are England, Republic of Ireland, France, Argentina, Japan and hosts Australia.

Northern Ireland’s opponents on matchday three tomorrow (Tuesday) will be Argentina (11.30am) and France (2.30pm).

They will then come up against Japan (10am) and the Republic (1pm) on Wednesday before rounding off the group stage with games against Australia (10am) and England (2.30pm) on Thursday.

The semi-finals and final plus placing matches will all be staged at the Quay Centre on Friday.

The players representing Northern Ireland in Australia this week are: Scott Hilland (captain), Patrick Cumiskey, Bartek Kuszkowski, Jason Browning, Carl McVeigh and Sean McKinney.