TWO Leesiders were vital to Ireland’s impressive ninth-placed finish in the World Deaf Futsal Championship in Winterthur.
Nathalie O’Brien, the Cork City stalwart, and Rebekah Grant from Carrigaline both shone at the fourth staging of the championship in Switzerland.
It was Ireland’s first appearance at this level and O’Brien scored in every game. She ended the tournament with nine goals, including a hat-trick against Finland, taking her tally to a record-breaking 16 in international futsal.
Grant stuck eight goals in four games, including back-to-back trebles against Switzerland and Finland, but missed out against Spain due to suspension.
Ireland were unlucky to lose to Russia 3-2 on a last minute goal but came back from 4-1 in arrears to draw 4-4 with Spain That elusive winner which would have put Ireland through to the quarter-finals, never came despite all their efforts.
Ireland celebrated its 25th international match against Switzerland by beating them by 13-1, the country's highest-scoring match ever.
Then in the last game Grant and O’Brien each fired in hat-tricks in a 6-3 defeat of Finland.
The two Rebels will be back in action for their clubs over the coming months.
There is a vote at the at the 47th ICSD Congress in Verceia, Italy next month as to whether futsal will be added to the Deaflympics.