Football/Soccer

Northern Ireland to host Futsal Home Championship in Newry this weekend

The Futsal Home Nations Championship will be staged in Northern Ireland for the first time later this week.

Newry Leisure Centre is hosting the futsal tournament featuring England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland from yomorrow until Sunday (November 30 to December 2).

Northern Ireland Futsal Head Coach Jonathan Michael today unveiled his squad for the Home Nations competition and said his players are keen to test themselves against countries that have been competing on the international futsal stage for a lot longer than his players.

The five-a-side tournament kicks off tomorrow with reigning Home Nations champions England taking on Wales (4pm start) and Northern Ireland then facing Scotland (7.30pm).

Matchday two, on Saturday, sees Scotland up against England (2.30pm) and Northern Ireland battling it out with Wales, who won the inaugural Home Nations competition in 2016. That game is due to kick off at 6pm.

The final day of the tournament, on Sunday, pits the Scots against the Welsh (noon) and Northern Ireland against England (3.30pm). Entry to all games is free.

Northern Ireland head coach Michael said: “The players and backroom staff are delighted to be hosting the Home Nations Championship this year. We are all looking forward to performing in front of a home crowd and building on our performances against Malta last month when we lost one and won one.

“The Home Nations is where we started our futsal journey two years ago and the players are fully focused to demonstrate how far Northern Ireland futsal has come in that time.

"This Home Nations Championship weekend is a fantastic opportunity for people to engage with the game of futsal and witness exciting international matches. I hope that we can get good loud crowds to support the boys as I know the GAWA will help them raise their performance and help us give a good account of ourselves.”

The Northern Ireland futsal squad for the Home Nations includes:

Goalkeepers - Philip Irvine and Matthew McErlain (both Belfast United Futsal Club);

Defenders - Adam Barr (FC Salisbury United), Scott Gunn (Newcastle Futsal Club), John Gibson and James Gould (both Banbridge Town Futsal Club), Ciaran Donaghy (Belfast United Futsal Club);

Midfielders - Alex Lalor, Jack Magee, and Jonathan Pierce (all Belfast United Futsal Club), Craig Taylor and Jordan Wilson (Banbridge Town Futsal Club), Danny Stapleton (Manchester Futsal Club), Conor Glenholmes (Wattcell Futsal Club);

Forwards - Darius Roohi (Sparta Belfast Futsal Club), Connor Millar (FC Salisbury United).

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