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Amputee football event begins in Belfast

By Allan Preston

Published 04/11/2016

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Amputee football has been going from strength to strength in the Republic of Ireland for the past five years.

But for the first time in Belfast a special open day with demonstration games is hoping to inspire the start of a dedicated Northern Ireland amputee team.

The event has been jointly organised by the IFA and FAI and takes place tomorrow at Ashfield Girls' High School on the Holywood Road from 10am to 3pm.

Chris McElligott, head coach of the FAI, said the sport had to be seen to be believed.

"You forget about the crutches within minutes," he said.

"This is the first time we've had an event in Northern Ireland, partnering with the IFA.

"It's very open to the public and any amputees - especially to those who might feel apprehensive about playing football."

Chris says he's keen to establish the sport in Belfast. "A regional team in Northern Ireland would be of great benefit to the football," he said.

"First and foremost, when people see other amputees playing the sport they see a sense of belonging they haven't had before.

"It gives them a confidence boost, too, the fitter they get. From a social aspect as well, their confidence goes through the roof.

"It's great to get someone who was restricted to a home life."

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