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Monday 23 January 2017

Ireland hold heads high in defeat to Ukraine

Ireland 0 Ukraine 4 Paralympic 7-a-side World Championship Quarter-Final

Published 25/06/2015 | 02:30

Eric O'Flaherty clears the ball after goalkeeper Simon Lestrange clashed with Ukraine's Artem Krasylnykov, resulting in a head injury
Eric O'Flaherty clears the ball after goalkeeper Simon Lestrange clashed with Ukraine's Artem Krasylnykov, resulting in a head injury
Joe Markey commits to a tackle against Ukraine's Vitalli Romanchuk
Eric O'Flaherty stops Yevhen Zinoviev in his tracks
Eric O'Flaherty is closed down quickly by Yevhen Zinoviev
Dejected Ireland players at the end of the game

Ireland's Paralympic football team suffered a disappointing defeat to reigning European champions Ukraine at St George's Park in England.

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The Irish side now progress to a classification game against Argentina - ranked No 6, one place higher than Ireland -tomorrow at 10.30am. The winner of that game will go forward to the 5th/6th place play-off with the loser moving to the 7th/8th place play-off.

Placings are very important at these championships as anything above an eighth-place finish guarantees Ireland's place at the 2016 Rio Paralympic Games.

Ukraine showed why they are ranked second in the world with their relentless pace and clinical finishing.

OUTSTANDING

Despite a massive Irish defensive effort and some real chances, they couldn't break through the Ukrainian defence and found themselves caught out by some outstanding counter-attacking.

Manager Barry Ferguson said: "We're obviously disappointed with the result but it was a great test to pair ourselves up against the top two teams in the world over the past week.

"It proves that we are good enough to compete at that ferocious level for periods."

Ukraine got the ideal start, netting two goals in five minutes to leave Ireland chasing the game.

For the next 15 minutes Ireland defended the Ukrainian onslaught well and created an excellent chance of their own that saw a brilliant Gary Messett ball headed away to safety. However, Ukraine scored from a corner on 21 minutes.

Ireland's best chance of the half came two minutes from the end when a long ball from Joe Markey reached Eric O'Flaherty who delivered a superb pass to Dillon Sheridan, who saw his effort saved.

Ireland started the second period brightly, with O'Flaherty showing great vision to pick out Jason Moran, whose shot was saved, but it was Ukraine who got the only goal of the half.

Irish Independent

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