WHEELCHAIR hurlers from Ulster were part of an international wheelchair hurling squad who travelled to Prague, Czech Republic, on Wednesday morning for the 2023 Prague Wheel Open Floorball International.
The 12-person panel, made up of wheelchair all-star hurlers from each of the four provinces, travelled from Dublin to take part in the tournament – now in its 13th year – which takes place from Thursday to Saturday this week.
Ciaran Bradley from Clann Na Banna, Down; Damhan Hughes from Brocagh, Tyrone, and Paul Hannon from Keady, Armagh, were included in the playing squad announced last week by GAA Uachtarán Larry McCarthy.
Ulster GAA coaches Shane McCann and Paul Callaghan are part of the management team, with Fermanagh GAA Chair Brian Armitage also travelling with the squad.
Floorball is a game being considered for addition to the list of sports in the Paralympics. It differs from wheelchair hurling in that players play on a field and use a stick, like those used in ice hockey.
The GAA team will represent the Association in competition against Floorball teams from the Czech Republic, the Netherlands, Sweden and Switzerland.
The team is sponsored MyClubShop.ie, owned by long-standing wheelchair hurling sponsor Martin Donnelly and is captained by Limerick Paralympian, James McCarthy.
Uachtarán Larry McCarthy said: “Thanks to the work of the GAA For All committee there is a programme in place to make our games as inclusive as possible.”
“Wheelchair hurling is a skilful game that lives up to the motto of the GAA being a place ‘Where We All Belong’ and is really going from strength to strength.”
“Through this invitation to play in Prague, we have a chance to acknowledge some of our very best players and to offer them the opportunity, to not only compete at a very high level, but to represent their families, their clubs, their counties and our Association, on the international stage.”
“Congratulations and best wishes to all who have been selected and our thanks to Martin Donnelly for his continued support.”
SQUAD: James McCarthy (Capt) (Limerick), Melanie Griffith (Vice Capt)(Carlow), Sean Bennett (Laois), Ciaran Bradley (Down), Shane Curran (Galway), Paul Hannon (Armagh), Alex Hennebry (Waterford), Cian Horgan (Kerry), Damhan Hughes (Tyrone), Aidan Hynes (Sligo), Maurice Noonan (Limerick), Ellie Sheehy (Limerick)
Paul Callaghan (Donegal), Tom Carey (Kildare), John Carey (Clare), Shane McCann (Tyrone)