Éanna's focus on amputee World Cup

Tadhg Evans

A West Kerry man is hoping to be selected for the Irish team set to line out in the upcoming Amputee Football World Cup in Mexico - and the Newcastle United amputee footballer is hoping the public can do its bit to get the Irish to the Mexican host city of Guadalajara.

Newcastle-upon-Tyne-based prosthetist Éanna Durham hails from Riasc in west Kerry and made his debut for the Irish amputee football team in early-2017.

Born with a congenital limb deficiency, the 31-year-old underwent an above-the-knee amputation on his left leg at age four but did not allow this to stop him from lining out as a goalkeeper and flanker in gaelic football and rugby respectively.

Having played amputee football previously with Partick Thistle, he now plays with Newcastle United, and in 2017 he lined out for his country at both the European Championship in Istanbul and the prestigious Amp Futbol Cup in Poland.

Kerry is not short of pedigree in the sport, with Killorglin's Kevin Cahillane and Rathmore's David Saunders having also represented Ireland with distinction in recent years.

Ireland has been drawn in Group A of the World Cup alongside hosts Mexico, European Champions runners-up England, and débutantes Uruguay.

But getting to Mexico will be a challenge in itself, with the players and staff asked to undertake individual fund-raising ahead of the event.

On August 10, he'll be back on home soil with a fund-raising event in Dick Mack's Bar, Dingle, as he continues his bid to get the Irish team to Mexico ahead of the competition's start in late-October.

"The fund-raiser will start at 2pm with a DJ," Éanna told The Kerryman. "It'll run through then to 6pm, when we'll have a trad session, and a raffle will take place around that time as well. After that, there'll be more music from a DJ later on in the evening," he added.

Éanna explained that any surplus funds raised will go back in to Irish amputee football.

Describing the sport as a fast-growing activity, he has also explained that getting the team to Mexico could inspire aspiring amputee footballers in a similar manner to the Irish football team's exploits at Euro '88 and the World Cups of 1990, 1994, and 2002.

He'll be back in Ireland to train with the team in the coming days, but he has both eyes fixed on helping the cause by getting the national team to their destination.

"Getting all the players and staff to Mexico is going to cost a lot of money," Éanna said. "If we don't raise the funds we need, we simply won't be able to go.

"I would be so grateful if you could donate what you can to help the team, and if I'm selected I'll do my best to make everyone proud.

"There's no set-charge for the event in Dick Mack's, but I'm hoping people will give us some voluntary donations on the day if they can.

"There's also a GoFundMe page set up, so if you can't be there on the day, that might be a good way to donate."

The page can be found at www.gofundme.com/amputee-football.