Homeless World Cup team can hold their heads high

By Maurice Garvey

DESPITE not having access to an appropriate training pitch - Irish teams punched above their weight at the recent Homeless World Cup in Norway.

The men’s team reached the quarter-finals and finished eight out of 48 countries.

Irish Men Homeless World Cup team 21092017

The first ever Irish ladies team finished 10th overall, and were presented with a Best Newcomers trophy.

Clondalkin native and former Blackburn Rovers footballer Thomas Morgan, has improved the fortunes of the team dramatically since taking over four years ago.

However, Irelands Big Issue editor Sean Kavanagh – who established the Irish Street Leagues in the early noughties – says this success has been achieved despite the huge challenges off the pitch.

“The majority of top ranking teams have their own purpose-built pitch in which to train and prepare, while we must make do with facilities which do not replicate what we face in the competition,” said Kavanagh, a Clondalkin resident.

“We can only afford to bring the team together eight weeks before the tournament and maybe have two sessions a week, introducing the players to the rules and practice on a pitch that isn’t fit for purpose.”

He continued: “Over the years the fact that we are rated so highly is testament to our coaching staff Thomas Morgan and Graham Tucker, and the determination of our players who did us proud as ambassadors of Ireland.

“But if we are to have a chance of winning the tournament we must get a pitch that is fit for purpose.”

Actor Colin Farrell is involved in an upcoming documentary, which follows the Irish teams behind the scenes as they prepare for the tournament and beyond.

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