The Irish Paralympic soccer team were beaten 3-0 by Russia in the CPISRA European Championship 3rd/4th place play off in Portugal yesterday,.
The defeat in Maia leaves them in fourth place overall at these Championships.
Russia – the Paralympic champions from London 2012 – led 1-0 at the break and added two in the second half.
One came from a penalty and helped secure the bronze medal.
Both sides looked a little tired after a fortnight of competition but it was an evenly matched contest, the Irish side challenging throughout.
In the end Russia just proved more clinical when it came to converting their chances.
Having topped their group in impressive fashion, and dispatching hosts Portugal in the quarter-final before losing out to the Netherlands after extra time in their semi-final, Ireland can take a lot of positives from this campaign as coach Gerard Glynn pointed to afterwards.
“Overall we’re disappointed after losing out in the semi-final in the way we did obviously, but that’s two years running we’ve made the semi-final at the major tournaments so we’re up where we need to be,” he said.
“On the whole we’re certainly going in the right direction. Seven of our fourteen players are under twenty years of age, and this was the first major tournament for a lot of those lads; they performed super at this level.
“That bodes very well for us, next year is the one where we need to make it count; and this last couple of weeks will really stand to them.”
After a short break this Irish team will regroup and look to begin preparations for next year’s CPISRA World Championships in England and will be the only qualifying opportunity for the 2016 Rio Paralympic Games.
Only the top eight finishers at next year’s World Championships will secure a place in Rio and Ireland will make that goal their sole focus over the months ahead.