A 12-person panel, made up of wheelchair all-star hurlers from each of the four provinces, has left Dublin to take part in the 2023 Prague Wheel Open Floorball International that takes place from August 10th – 12th.
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.
The team was celebrated at a function in Dublin last night prior to their departure.
“Thanks to the work of the GAA For All committee there is a programme in place to make our games as inclusive as possible,” said GAA President Larry McCarthy.
“Wheelchair hurling is a skillful 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.”
Sport for Business Perspective:
It may be a long while before Gaelic Games makes it onto the Olympic or Paralympic programme but it is to the huge credit of all involved that the adaptation of wheelchair hurling to fit the Floorball model could yet allow for a presence at the greatest sporting show on earth.
That is a long way distant yet but every journey begins with a single step…