Newcastle United Foundation Amputee Footballer Enjoys International Success At European Amputee Football Championships
Éanna Durham works in the local Newcastle Limb Centre, who provide upper and lower prosthetics to children and adults across the North East of England. He’s also an amputee himself and after seeing an advert for the Newcastle United Foundation Amputee football club in September 2016, he came along to give it a shot.
A bold move perhaps, for someone who had never played the game before, but Éanna got involved and found that he immediately took to the game.
Whilst taking part in our weekly Monday evening sessions at Walker Activity Dome, Éanna struck up a friendship with another player, Chris McKitten, who was also taking part in England amputee football training camps.
After discussing the national player pathway within amputee football Éanna, who was born in County Kerry, Ireland, inquired with the Football Association of Ireland about their national amputee side. As he progressed and developed further at our sessions he was eventually invited to attend the FAI amputee football training camps.
From there Éanna’s development continued to go from strength to strength, culminating in his selection for the Ireland national team who qualified for the European amputee football championships in Istanbul in October 2017.
Reggie Dornan, Senior Disability Football Development Officer at Newcastle United Foundation, said, “Éanna’s rapid progress in the game of Amputee football has been remarkable, within a year of participating. Our coaches Andy Simpson and Robbie Welch deserve a lot of credit for all their hard work with the group. The Premier League / BT Disability Fund has enabled us to deliver this unique weekly Amputee football club. It also shows that there is real player pathways within Disability football and we were so pleased that Éanna made his national European championship squad.
Ireland finished a very creditable sixth place in Turkey, with some tremendous results along the way. They finished third in a group which included finalists England, before being knocked out in the Quarter Finals by eventual Bronze medal winners Poland.
On his return from Turkey, Éanna said: ‘It was a great experience being in that team environment where everyone is there for a common goal and there was a real feeling of togetherness and camaraderie between all the players and teams. We all worked very hard to get there and it was a great feeling of pride pulling on the Irish jersey.’
He added, ‘It (the Final) was such a great advertisement for the sport and can go down as being one of the greatest nights in football, not just amputee football, history. It gives hope and encouragement to any new players that they could one day play in a match like that. I can’t thank the coaches at the Newcastle United Foundation more for the massive part they’ve played in helping me develop as a player. I wouldn’t have made it this far without them.’
Newcastle United Foundation Amputee Football is funded through the People’s Postcode Lottery.
Want to know more about disability football? The Foundation offers football sessions for a broad range of disabilities to ensure the beautiful game really is for everyone.
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