My Experiences As a Sports Therapist with The Irish Team-DiaEuro Futsal 2019 Tournament

I had the honour of being the Team Sports Therapist for the Ireland Diabetic Futsal Squad at the Diaeuro Futsal 2019 tournament. We started out 9n the road to Kiev last November at the first training session/Trial in the National Indoor Arena in Abbotstown. Cathal Fleming is the founder of the team and Alban Hysa is the coach as well as players from Dublin and all-around Ireland in an effort to make the players dreams of playing for Ireland come true. And so the road to Kiev began….

On that November night preparations for Kiev began. Cathal was to be the Goalkeeper and collectively Cathal (Founder/Goalkeeper), Alban (Coach), the Players and myself (Team Sports Therapist) put in a lot of work. From November 2018 up to and including July 2019, the week before we went to Kiev, we did a mix of training sessions/Trials and friendly matches. We had them once a month. Then in May it went it went to every 2 weeks then in June every week. So, one thing was for sure Alban had us well prepared for the tournament. Most of the friendly games we played didn’t go well and lost by big margins but each game, even though we lost were valuable as we learned a lot from each game. The squad of 12 was selected in March, the 12 players chosen were the 12 lucky players who travel to Kiev. As the Team Sports Therapist, on behalf of Cathal, Alban and the players, I want to thank Kelleher’s Shop First Aid Products who sponsored the Physio Bag and have been very Supportive of myself and the players and Cathal and Alban before and during the Tournament. We would also like to also thank Diabetes Ireland who have been very supportive to the team and helping with fundraising.

The time has arrived to travel to Kiev arrived we all assembled in Dublin Airport in the early hours of Sunday morning to check in and fly to Kiev, our Base for the week.

We arrived in Kiev and got settled in. We had the Opening Ceremony and the draw for the groups. There are 2 groups, 9 teams. 1 group of 5 and 1 group of 4. 

The draw took place. In our group, along with ourselves there was Bosnia (current champions), Portugal, Slovakia and England. Roll on Monday for our 1st game….

1 Match Day 1
2 Match Day 2
3 Match Day 3
4 Match Day 4
1 Match Day 1

Matchday 1, Monday we didn’t have an easy start to the campaign as we played Bosnia the Current European DiaEuro Futsal Champions. We lost to a very good Bosnian team. They weren’t European Champions for nothing. Before the game Robert sustained a Quad muscle injury while warming up before the game limiting his appearances in the tournament. 

2 Match Day 2

Matchday 2, Tuesday, we had 2 games. 1 game in the morning we played Portugal a very good team with players that possess excellent technical ability and we lost 6v0. We lost 3v0 to Bosnia so, so far we didn’t get badly beaten in comparison to friendly games in Dublin in the build up to the tournament solo we were playing well and we felt it was only a matter of time before we could get a win or draw. Our 3rd game was against England a game we knew would be tough. However, we started well and eventually broke the England defence down and we got the goal our efforts deserved however later England scored an equaliser. So, the game ended 1v1. For this game we were missing Mark who was suspended for this game. Next up on Wednesday Slovakia.

3 Match Day 3

Matchday3, Wednesday. We played Slovakia. Another game where we turned in another good performance but we’re unluck to lose. With games coming thick and fast, it was inevitable that Injuries would happen and it happened in this game as online player which was one of our important players and was key to our plans, he had suffered an ankle injury due to a bad tackle right in our player ankle so this was going to be where I would earn my corn. He was not the only one as a 2nd player also sustained an ankle injury both of which would be important players if we make it to the play offs. The pressure is on 3 injuries....1 with a Quad Muscle injury and 2 ankle injuries.

As it stands.... The scenario is ourselves (Ireland Diabetic Futsal Squad) and England lost 2 games each and drew with each other however England conceded 11 goals in a game so they finished bottom of the group and bottom overall. This means we made it to the play offs. We had 2 playoff games v Hungary in the morning and v Bulgaria in the afternoon. Roll on matchday 4.

4 Match Day 4

Matchday 4, Thursday. In the morning we played Hungary a good side with great technical ability. Plus, I managers to work miracles on Niall and Mark so they were able to play in this game after intensive treatment the day before. Bothe played well as did all the players, but it wasn’t enough to get a win against a very good side. However, on to the afternoon where we played Bulgaria in our last game of the tournament we performed very well and deservedly won 4v1.

Friday, the day of the closing Ceremony. It was held in the stadium the home of Dynamo Kiev. A very enjoyable few hours. We made lifelong friends and it was a great experience with great memories. After the closing ceremony I recommended to the lads to do the stadium tour. €3 not bad for an excellent tour. First was the museum and a great talk by the tour guide which was interesting and Informative. Then onto the dressing rooms which were impressive and then out on the pitch on the side-line had a lot of photos taken and a walk around the perimeter of the pitch. After that I met up with a friend of mine who plays for the Ukraine senior 6 aside football team had a coffee and a look around time and then went back to the accommodation to pack and have an early night due to a long day of travel the next day.

It’s all over, Saturday up and out of it. Breakfast was consumed and down to the meeting place where we were due to meet before getting on the bus to Byrispole Airport., Kiev. We arrive with luggage in hand and the endless checks and check-ins. This wasn’t a direct flight home there was a stop off in Prague. 2 ½ hour flight to Prague. No time to hang around in Prague Airport as we had to get off the plane get the bags go through all the checks and check-ins and get to the relevant departure gate and board the flight. Saturday evening, we arrived in Dublin Airport. Then the bus back to Roscommon.

I am no longer involved with the squad as there is a policy of rotating Sports there Therapists but I wished Cathal Fleming (Founder of the squad) who gave me the opportunity to work with a great group of players, the players who were great to work with and the coach Alban in the years to come. It is something special and the lads and Cathal have shown that just because you have type 1 or type 2 diabetes, it doesn’t mean you can’t play sport. Well done and best wishes to everyone I. The years ahead and hopefully they inspire many people with diabetes to get involved in the years to come.

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