16 July 2011
The 8th European Futsal Championships take place this week in Tampere University of Technology, Finland. Ireland were first represented last year by UCC Womens and IT Carlow Mens.
The Cork IT mens and University of Limerick womens travelling party arrived in Tampere, in the south west of Finland on Saturday morning and have trained at the Tampere University of Technology over the weekend.
The mens tournament will see 24 teams from third level institutes from across the continent broken into eight groups of three for the initial phase of the competition. CIT are third seeds in Group E and take on the top seeds from Serbia, University of Belgrade in their opening fixture today. They will follow that up with a match against second seeds University of Orebro from Sweden tomorrow.
Whoever tops the group will go straight into the last 16, while all the second placed teams will take on a third placed team for a chance to join those teams in the last 16.
Soccer facilitator at CIT, Eric Mahrah believes this is a once in a lifetime opportunity fr his team.
“It’s fantastic for the players that they have qualified to play in such an elite competition against the best players in Europe. It’s a very proud occasion for the Institute and we hope to do well as Ireland’s representatives.
The players have worked very hard in the months since we qualified and hopefully that will stand to them in the next few days,” he said.
CIT will be pleased to have avoided the trio of favourites University of Zagreb from Croatia, Sumy State University from Ukraine as well as the home side from the University of Tampere.
In the women’s competition Ireland will be represented by University of Limerick who have been drawn in a difficult group against last years runners up University of Artois, France and favourites University of Beira Interior of Portugal.
Soccer Facilitator at UL Stephen Griffin said "for most of this group of players it will be there final appearance in a UL shirt after four amazing years that has seen them collect four WSCAI Premier Division titles and four Intervarsities crowns. These have been an amazing group of players to have been involved with and it would be a great to add a European medal to to that haul.
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