Football is back for Irish players with vision impairments at three new regional training centres in Cork, Galway and Dublin with the support of four of Ireland’s top clubs – Cork City, Lakewood Athletic, Mervue United and Bohemian FC – and the FAI’s Football For All programme.
Mervue United FC in Galway will become the first club in the West to dip their toe into this new format of the game after representatives from the club met with the FAI and nominated coaches to participate in a blind football coaching workshop and sighted guide training last month. Co-ordinated by Robert Connolly, the club has now appointed coaching staff and are currently embarking on a recruitment drive.
The vision impaired football development initiative is being driven by Padraig Healy, sports development manager with Vision Sports Ireland, alongside FAI Football For All Development Officers Nick Harrison, Paul Smyth, Johnny Morris Burke and Emer Flatley as they work together to create structures that will support the growth of Grassroots blind and vision impaired football and a pathway to the already established international team. Nick said that the game suits players of all ages and abilities and aside from the obvious health benefits of being involved in sport, VI and Blind players involved in the other centres have shown improved spatial awareness, communication skills and physical confidence.
New players of all ages and abilities, coaches and volunteers are currently being recruited for Mervue United’s Vision impaired / Blind Football team. Players interested in getting involved should contact club coordinator Rob Connolly on 0851406344 or firstname.lastname@example.org