Powerchair Football was introduced first to Ireland by Muscular Dystrophy Ireland around 2003 at their annual Summer Camps. The national football association, the Football Association of Ireland were engaged to help move things forward and they helped to establish some clubs and run some one day competitions.
In 2009 the Association of Irish Powerchair Football was established and more structured leagues and cup competitions were organized. Ireland became a member of FIPFA soon after. As with other countries powerchair football had developed initially in Ireland using plastic boxes held onto the powerchair with cable ties, later progressing to a metal attachment that had been developed in England.
The adapted day chair for the sport was the next progression which players in Ireland used up until early 2016. After that the Strike Force chair started to appear in Ireland and over the last year and a half many players have invested in purchasing this chair. Ireland aims to increase participation in the years ahead and establish more sustainable clubs.
PARTICIPATIONS IN INTERNATIONAL EVENTS AND RESULTS
Ireland first stepped onto the International stage at the World Cup in 2011 in Paris. In a group with France, Australia, Belgium and Canada it was a tough but educating experience as the team finished in ninth position after a four nil win over Switzerland.
Ireland had their first club team representation at the Champions Cup in Chatenay Malabry in 2013 with Midlands Utd. Also that year two Irish teams participated in an U-18 development event in Paris with teams from Finland, USA and France taking part.
Ireland were given the honour of hosting the inaugural European Nations Cup in Limerick in 2014. The tournament was won by France, but in a pulsating playoff game for third place Ireland lost out on penalties after a nil all draw.
2016 saw two Irish club representatives compete at the Champions Cup in Denmark. Most recently Ireland achieved sixth place at the third FIPFA World Cup in Florida having come out of a tough group with eventual World Cup champions France, England, Canada and Australia.
THE POWERCHAIR FOOTBALL IN THE COUNTRY
COMPETITIONS, CLUBS AND NUMBER OF PLAYERS
POWERCHAIR FOOTBALL COMPETITION IN IRELAND
Down through the years Ireland has tinkered with having two divisions to having one whole division. There are about eight clubs currently in Ireland with around forty players playing regularly. There are also three to four potential new club bases that have shown interest but with hurdles of equipment and transport to overcome.
The League is usually run from September to April with monthly rounds. A National Cup and Shield competition usually concludes the season in May. Ireland has also run a league in the past called the SAC League ( Social and Competitive League) which had fictitious teams mixed with players across all teams that played over two or three months.
Development days are also organized to invite new players along to play with the experienced players in a fun social environment.
Ireland also has a very good Referee exchange program with Irish Referees travelling to France and England to Referee in the Leagues there and French and English Referees travelling to Ireland to Referee in the Irish Leagues.